Fresh off a close win against the University of South Florida, Temple University football (1-1, 1-1 The American Athletic Conference) will go on the road to play Memphis (2-1, 1-1 The American) at noon on Saturday.
Here are three matchups for fans to watch.
The Owls’ defensive line vs Memphis quarterback Brady White
Memphis redshirt-senior quarterback Brady White ranks third in The American with 1,062 passing yards and second in passing touchdowns with 13. He’s also completing 69.77 percent of his passes this season.
White is a much different quarterback than last week’s opponent, South Florida sophomore quarterback Jordan McCloud. McCloud is known for his scrambling ability while White is known for being a pocket passer.
In order to disrupt White in the pocket, Temple must generate pressure with their four-man defensive front.
Redshirt-junior defensive end Arnold Ebiketie led the way for the Owls against South Florida. He recorded six tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble that resulted in a touchdown.
Ebiketie won AAC Defensive Player of the week for his performance against South Florida.
“His practice habits are exactly what you are seeing on the field,” said head coach Rod Carey. “He’s executing, and he has practice habits allowing him to execute and not think on the field. With his God-given ability, when you put those two things together, you get a good performance.”
Temple’s other starting defensive linemen, redshirt-junior Ifeanyi Maijeh, graduate student Daniel Archibong and redshirt-sophomore Evan Boozer, have yet to record a tackle for loss or sack this season.
The Memphis offensive line has allowed five total sacks this season resulting in a total loss of 24 total yards.
The Owls’ running backs vs Memphis’ linebackers
Sophomore running back Re’Mahn Davis leads the Owls in rushing with 180 yards, but is only averaging 3.8 yards per rush. Redshirt-senior running back Tayvon Ruley is second on the team with 85 yards, averaging 7.7 yards per carry.
Davis is trying too hard to create big plays this season and isn’t trying to get the tough yards, Carey said.
Davis and Ruley should perform well this week against Memphis, which has allowed their opponents to run for 132.3 yards per game. Memphis is also allowing 34.33 points per game this season and gave up 197 rushing yards against Central Florida last week.
Linebackers’ main responsibility on defense is to stop the run, but Memphis’ linebackers haven’t produced a lot of tackles this season.
Memphis senior linebacker JJ Russell is fourth on the team with just 12 total tackles this season. Redshirt-junior linebacker Xavier Cullens is tied for fifth on the team with 11 tackles.
Carey believes the Memphis defense played better than the stats indicated last week, he said.
“They are running around defensively and they have some really good personnel upfront,” Carey added. “Even though the defense gave up 49 points, I’d say when you are playing UCF, that’s a pretty good day.”
Owls’ tight ends vs Memphis’ tight ends
Temple redshirt-sophomore tight end David Martin-Robinson is third on the team with 108 receiving yards this season. He leads the team with 13.50 yards per catch and has the team’s longest reception at 35 yards.
Martin-Robinson recorded just 64 receiving yards last season, but is getting more playing time this season after former Temple tight end Kenny Yeboah transferred to the University of Mississippi after last season.
Martin-Robinson provides Temple with both a reliable receiver and a reliable run blocker, which allows the Owls to keep the defense guessing whether they are going to pass or run the ball.
Memphis’ leading receiver is redshirt-senior tight end Sean Dykes. He’s recorded 22 catches, 279 yards and four touchdowns this season.
The Tigers might lean more on Dykes this week after wide receiver Damonte Coxie opted out of the season this week. Coxie recorded 16 catches and 175 yards this season.
Dykes totaled six catches and 57 yards last week against Central Florida while Martin-Robinson recorded three catches for 36 yards against South Florida.