Temple Owls (10-2) at Houston Cougars (11-1)
|Date & Time||Saturday December 5, 2015, 12:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Houston Cougars -7 -- Over/Under: 57
The Temple Owls will travel to TDECU Stadium to take on the Houston Cougars in the AAC Championship this Sunday afternoon in College Football action.
The 25th ranked Temple Owls improved to 10-2 (7-1 AAC East) on the season after they were able to defeat the Connecticut Huskies, 27-3, this past Saturday. Temple’s defense was outstanding in the victory as they outgained Connecticut by a 321-138 margin and forced the Huskies to commit two turnovers. Leading the way for the Owls was RB Jahad Thomas who had 119 yards and 2 TD’s on 20 carries. On the season, Temple is averaging 32.3 ppg on 367.8 total yards per game (209.6 passing, 158.3 rushing). Leading the way for the Owls has been RB Jahad Thomas who has 17 rushing TD’s on the season and is averaging 99.00 yds/game. QB P.J. Walker has had a solid season as he has thrown for 18 TD’s and 6 INT while averaging 204.2 passing yds/game. Robby Anderson (6 TD, 60.3 yds/game) and Ventell Bryant (3 TD, 42.3 yds/game) have been the biggest receiving threats for the Owls. Defensively, Temple is holding their opponents to an average of 18.8 ppg on 328.7 total yards per game (211.4 passing, 117.3 rushing). The Owls have forced 22 turnovers and currently have a turnover margin of plus 6. Leading the Temple defense has been LB Tyler Matakevich who has had an outstanding season with 118 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 5 INT.
The Houston Cougars bounced back from their loss against Connecticut to defeat the 15th ranked Navy Midshipmen, 52-31, this past Friday to improve to 11-1 (7-1 AAC West) on the season. Houston was able to get out to a commanding 38-17 lead after the 3rd quarter and outgained Navy by a 555-459 margin. Leading the way for the Cougars was QB Greg Ward Jr who completed 26 of 35 passes for 308 yards and 3 TD and added 83 rushing yards and a TD on the ground. On the season, Houston is averaging 42.0 ppg on 499.3 yards per game (259.2 passing, 240.1 rushing). Leading the way for the Cougars has been QB Greg Ward Jr. who has thrown for 16 TD and 5 INT while averaging 208.5 yds/game. Ward Jr. has also gotten the job done with his legs as he has 17 rushing TD on the season and is averaging 74.42 rushing yds/game. Demarcus Ayers (6 TD, 95.0 yds/game) has been one of the best slot receivers in CFF this season and Chance Allen (4 TD, 54.8 yds/game) has also contributed nicely. Leading the Houston rushing attack has been Kenneth Farrow who has 12 TD and is averaging 86.27 yds/game. Defensively, Houston is holding opponents to 21.1 ppg on 381.0 yards per game (263.5 passing, 117.5 rushing). Houston has forced 28 turnovers on the season and has a turnover margin of plus 15.
The Owls are 5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games. The Cougars are 23-9-1 ATS in their last 33 games following an ATS win however, 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games in December.
Temple came into the season with high expectations with an experienced defense and a great running back, and outside of their loss to South Florida, has been great throughout the season which included wins over Penn State and Memphis. Houston’s only loss of the season came when they were without Greg Ward Jr. and it looks as if their offense were firing on all cylinders this past weekend against a very good Navy team. This matchup will come down to whether the Temple defense will be able to slow down the Houston offense and based on what I’ve seen over the last two weeks (15 combined points allowed against Memphis and UConn), I think Temple is going to keep this game close. I’m taking Temple and the points in this one.