Here come the Bearcats.
No not the basketball team ran by the screaming Bob Huggins.
This one is the Conference USA’s up and coming football team, led by ninth-year head coach Rick Minter.
The Cincinnati Bearcats (1-2) make their first road trip of the season to Franklin Field to face the struggling Temple Owls (1-3) Saturday.
The Owls are coming off a tough road loss 42-21 against South Carolina.
In a hostile environment, the Owls outgained the Gamecocks in yardage 341-298, behind the rushing attack of Tarnardo Sharps, but turnovers hurt the Owls chances of upsetting the favored Gamecocks.
Sharps accumulated 143 yards on 21 carries, all in the first half. He left the game late in the second with a mouth injury.
Sharps is expected to play, as well as top receiver Sean Dillard. Dillard has missed the last three games with a knee injury.
His return should be a lift for the Owls troubled offense.
Return man and running back Mekonnen Fenton is questionable with an ankle injury.
The Bearcats are coming off a near upset of No. 6 Ohio State.
A 23-19 come-from-behind win for the Buckeyes is the second consecutive fourth quarter heartbreaker for the improved Bearcats.
Quarterback Gino Guidugli leads Cincinnati’s highly ranked offense.
He threw for 324 yards against Ohio State last week and had his fifth 300-yard passing game of his short career.
Guidugli, the reigning Conference USA freshman of the year, has thrown for over 886 yards and five touchdowns in three games.
The Bearcats have a tough in-your-face defense lead by Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week Blue Adams.
Adams intercepted two passes and recorded six tackles and two pass breakups.
This is a team on the rise under coach Minter, who is the second winningest coach in Bearcats history and has led them to two straight bowl games including last season’s Motor City Bowl.
These two teams have faced each other before and Temple has the advantage with a 9-2-1 record.
Temple won the last contest, 28-16, in 1985, at the old Riverfront Stadium.
Temple will be glad to finally line up against a coach that hasn’t won a national championship, losing the last three to Oregon State, Miami, and South Carolina.
The Owls will look to stop the pass-happy Bearcats and to do so Temple coach Bobby Wallace has planned to work the secondary extra hard in practices this week.
He also would like to see more pressure on the quarterback, especially this week.
“Defensively, we’re playing the run fairly well.
Right now, we’re really struggling on the pass defense,” Wallace said.
“We’re not getting a good pass rush.
We’ve only got three sacks. We have to improve that especially with Danny Klecko.
He hurries the quarterback all the time and he’s got one sack.
We’ve got to get him some more help so they don’t double-team him as much.”
Cincinnati has been in some very close games in this early season.
They rely on the strength of their quarterback to rally them.
It almost worked against a top ranked team last week and this week Temple will also be looking for its first big win of the season.
Matt Sitkoff can be reached at Phil14367@aol.com.