Temple University football (6-3, 3-2 The American Athletic Conference) plays Tulane (6-3, 3-2 The AAC) at home on Saturday at noon.
Here are three key matchups for fans to watch.
Temple’s rushing defense and Tulane’s rushing offense
The Owls’ defense is allowing 155 yards of total rushing yards a game, which ranks fifth in the conference. The Green Wave averages 261.2 total rushing yards per game, which ranks second in the conference.
The Green Wave’s leading rusher is graduate student quarterback Justin McMillian who has rushed for 488 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Second on the team is redshirt-senior running back Corey Dauphine, who has rushed for 455 yards and four touchdowns.
The Green Wave has six different players who have rushed for more than 200 yards this season, while Temple only has two.
“Obviously, they are a fantastic football team,” coach Rod Carey said. “They will run the ball with about a half dozen backs and you’ll see them all in this game.”
Redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo ranks sixth in the conference averaging 226.3 yards per game and McMillian ranks seventh in the conference at 189. 2 yards per game.
In Temple’s last game against South Florida on Nov. 7, Russo completed 15-of-21 passes for just 155 yards and one interception. Russo has 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions so far this season.
“Once we get into conference play, every game feels like a championship game for us,” Russo said. “If we wanna achieve our goal of getting to a championship, winning a championship, we have to approach every conference game like its a championship.”
McMillian has thrown for 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season but ranks fourth in the conference in passing efficiency with a 142.4 rating.
“I think [McMillian] is a fantastic quarterback,” Carey said. “He throws the ball well too which makes him extremely dangerous. He’s got a cannon for an arm, so he can throw it really deep too.”
Temple’s defensive line and Tulane’s Offensive line
Redshirt-junior defensive end Quincy Roche ranks sixth in the conference with 6.5 sacks so far this season. Redshirt-sophomore defensive lineman Ifeanyi Maijeh ranks eighth in the conference with 5.5 sacks.
Against South Florida, Roche recorded 3.5 sacks, six total tackles and one pass breakup.
The Green Wave’s offensive line has done a good job protecting McMillian this season, only allowing 13 sacks accounting for 97 total yards lost.
“Really chippy offensive line,” Roche said. “Physical, guys who like to finish the play and get after you. I think we might have our work cut out for us but as long as we execute our game plan like we always do, we will be fine.”