After a brutal loss on the road at Liberty, the Buffalo Bulls will be looking to bounce back at home this week against a strong Temple Owls team. Temple is coming off of a big home win against a top 25 Maryland team that had rolled through their first two weeks.
The Owls return a lot of talent from a team that went 8-4 last season, and is receiving 7 votes in the AP poll heading into their match-up with the Bulls. Temple is led by first year coach Rod Carey who Bulls fans are familiar with from his stint at NIU. Carey compiled a 5-0 record against UB during his time in Dekalb, including leading the Huskies back to defeat the Bulls in heartbreaking fashion in last season’s MAC championship game.
The Bulls are 13-4 all-time against Temple. There have been some memorable match-ups between the former MAC foes, including “The Catch”:
and most recently, UB’s 36-29 victory at Temple last season that also featured a late game winning TD reception by a star receiver:
The story of Temple’s successful season so far has been the jump that QB Anthony Russo has made:
2018 Anthony Russo: 57.4% completion percentage, 7.4 yards/attempt, 14:14 TD to Int ratio.
2019 Anthony Russo: 66.7% completion percentage, 8.8 yards/attempt, 7:2 TD to Int ratio.
Russo’s jump has been key with the Owls looking to replace the offensive production of star RB Ryquell Armstead who was a 5th round pick in the NFL draft. Despite the loss of Armstead, Russo still has playmakers around him. RBs Jager Gardner and Re’Mahn Davis split the work in the backfield averaging 5.2 and 6.3 yards per carry, respectively. On the outside Russo has a trio of productive WRs that will give the Bulls secondary trouble. Through two games in 2019:
Jadan Blue: 15 receptions, 249 yards, 2 TDs
Isaiah Wright: 13 receptions, 119 yards, 2 TDs
Branden Mack: 12 receptions, 147 yards, 0 TDs
Up front the Owls return 85 career starts along their offensive line, just three less than the veteran Buffalo o-line, good for 28th in the nation. The veteran unit has ceded just one sack in two games this season.
So far this season, Temple is allowing just 14.5 points per game good for 23rd in the nation. The stout defensive unit is led by DT Ifeayni Maijeh, and CB Harrison Hand. Hand leads the team with 12 tackles, and has the Owls’ lone interception this season, while Maijeh is second on the team with 11 tackles, and leads the Owls with 3 sacks to date. As a unit, the Temple defense has allowed just 2.5 yards per carry on the season, which figures to be problematic for the Bulls who have leaned heavily on the run game this season.
With just two games under their belt (1 FBS game), due to a Week 2 bye, it’s hard to get a full picture of the 2019 Temple Owls, however in their two games the Owls have looked like a strong, well-rounded squad. Coming off a big win, hungry for revenge after last season’s loss at the hands of the Bulls, and with a new coach that is familiar with Lance Leipold, Temple is in good position to win this game.