The winningest senior class in Temple University football history will play its final regular-season game against Connecticut on Saturday.
With a win against UConn, Temple (7-4, 6-1 American Athletic Conference) will top last season’s win total. The Huskies (1-10, 0-7 American Athletic Conference) have lost eight consecutive games. Despite UConn not having won a game since Sept. 15, the Owls are taking this game just as seriously as all the others, coach Geoff Collins said.
“They’ve got a process that they’ve got to go through,” Collins said. “I’m really proud of the mindset our guys have had. Instead of running around doing things outside of getting ready for a game, the guys have been in here focused and working hard and getting that preparation to be at a high level because they know they’ve got a tough game on Saturday.”
The Huskies are led by senior quarterback David Pindell. He has thrown for 1,873 yards and is the team’s leading rusher with 1,115 yards on 195 attempts. Graduate student defensive tackle Michael Dogbe and the Temple defense want to keep Pindell contained in the pocket.
The Owls have allowed 197.4 yards per game on the ground and 4.3 yards per carry entering Saturday.
“He’s a guy who’s pretty dynamic in that area,” Dogbe said. “That can definitely hurt a defense. If worse comes to worst, he’s going to tuck it and run. As a D-line, you need to not allow escaping lanes to really shut him down.”
The game has personal significance for redshirt-senior offensive lineman Jaelin Robinson and junior wide receiver Isaiah Wright, both of whom are from Connecticut. They made sure to try to get as many tickets as they could for family and friends to attend Saturday’s game.
Senior safety Delvon Randall will inch closer to a milestone just by taking the field against the Huskies. The Owls’ game against UConn will be Randall’s 53rd consecutive game, and the bowl game will his 54th, which would be a record for games played by an individual at Temple.
The Owls are coming off a 27-17 win at home against South Florida last week. They trailed 17-0 at halftime but scored 27 consecutive points to secure the comeback win.
After the Owls’ win, Collins said he saw a 19 percent increase in effort during the second half against USF as measured by Catapult, a wearable technology that tracks speed and other metrics. The team is looking to avoid another slow start against UConn.
“On defense [UConn] have a lot of true freshmen playing in this game, so we have to take advantage of it,” graduate student wide receiver Ventell Bryant said. “We started off slow, and if we start off slow this week anybody can play with us.”