Temple coach Al Golden and the men’s football team will be looking for revenge against the Connecticut Huskies for two heart-breaking losses in recent memory. This weekend, the Huskies (1-1) will return to Lincoln Financial Field, the site of one of their recent victories against the Owls.
In the 2007 contest at Connecticut, the Owls were on the wrong end of a replay. On a fourth-and-six play with 40 seconds remaining, wide receiver Bruce Francis caught a ball in the back of the end zone that the referees ruled out of bounds. Replays showed Francis landed in bounds, but after review, the official ruled there was not enough conclusive evidence to overturn the play. The Huskies ran one play to run out the clock, and the Owls upset bid was stopped short at 22-16.
In 2008, Temple promoted the return match by seeking “justice” against the Huskies, but Hurricane Hanna had other ideas. Former running back and current Indianapolis Colt Donald Brown rushed for a career-high 214 yards and the game-winning touchdown in a game played in a heavy down pour. The Owls held a 6-0 lead going into the fourth quarter but the Huskies forced overtime with two field goals of their own. In overtime, the Owls had possession first and looked for the go-ahead score when wide receiver Travis Shelton made a play down the sideline to the 6-yard line. However, a holding penalty brought the play back, and the Owls were forced to settle for their third field goal of the day. UConn responded with a Brown 7-yard touchdown run and stole another game from the Owls, 12-9.
This time around, the Owls are in better shape heading into the rematch. The Owls enter the game with their first 2-0 start since 1981 after defeating the Central Michigan Chippewas, 13-10. The defense has been critical to the team’s success, as it limited a high-powered offense to just 10 points. They forced two turnovers against inside the red zone, including junior defensive back Kee-Ayre Griffin’s interception in the end zone during overtime to help give Temple its first overtime win in school history.
The Huskies enter the contest with momentum after a 62-3 win over Texas Southern. The Huskies led, 24-0, at the end of the first 15 minutes and took a 45-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. The UConn defense was so dominant that Texas Southern did not register a first down until 6 minutes, 54 seconds into the second quarter.
The Huskies lost to Michigan in their regular season opener, 30-10. They could not stop sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson, a potential Heisman Trophy candidate, who rushed for 192 yards.
The Owls hope to get their own Heisman candidate, sophomore running back Bernard Pierce, back after he sat out the final quarter of the win over CMU. Pierce left the game with a hand injury and did not return.
Saturday’s game is set to kick off at noon and can be watched locally on 6ABC or listened to on WHAT 1340 AM.