Temple University football (7-3, 4-2 The American Athletic Conference) plays Cincinnati (9-1, 6-0 The AAC) on the road at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Here are three key matchups for fans to watch.
The Owls’ Quarterbacks and the Bearcats’ secondary
The Bearcats’ defense is allowing opponents to score 20.5 points per game this season which ranks first in The American. They have only allowed 13 total passing touchdowns this season.
Owls redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo has thrown for 2,258 total yards and 18 touchdowns this season. Last week, Russo completed 22-of-38 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns.
“I thought we could have done a few things better in there to get some more points on the board,” coach Rod Carey said. “It would have made the complexion of the game different.”
Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Todd Centeio went 4-of-6 for 76 yards and one touchdown last week. Centeio has played at least one drive in every conference game this season.
Sophomore safety Ja’Von Hicks leads the Bearcats this season with four interceptions. In total, the Bearcats have intercepted 13 passes this season.
Bearcats Running backs and the Owls’ rush defense
Junior running back Michael Warren leads Cincinnati in rushing with 833 total yards and 10 touchdowns, ranking fourth in the conference.
“I think both of their backs are good,” Carey said. “They are big physical guys that really can run … they have great vision and the first guy is rarely bringing them down.”
The Owls are allowing 160.4 rushing yards per game this season, which ranks fifth in the conference.
Senior linebacker Shaun Bradley leads the Owls with 65 tackles and is fourth on the team with seven tackles for loss.
As a team, the Owls allowed 203 total rushing yards on Nov. 16 against Tulane (6-4, 3-3 The AAC).
The Owls’ Receivers and the Bearcats’ Receivers
Owls’ redshirt-sophomore receiver Jadan Blue leads the Owls in receiving yards with 803 total yards. Redshirt-junior receiver Branden Mack ranks second on the team with 698 total yards.
Blue is tied for fourth in the conference in receiving yards and recorded 12 catches, 131 yards, and one touchdown last week against the Green Wave.
“We haven’t seen the best of this offense,” Blue said. “Of course guys will stand out here and there, but collectively we just need to get better every week.”
The Bearcats’ leading pass catcher, graduate student tight end Josiah Degura, has recorded 424 yards and four touchdowns this season. Degura recently accepted an invite to The Resse’s Senior Bowl in January.
“Coming up we got a real good game,” Blue said. “We are excited for it. I know [the Bearcats] are excited for it, so its gonna be a real good one.”