November 9, 2020 –
The Temple Owls will look to break a three-game losing streak as they battle the UCF Knights and injuries Saturday night in Orlando.
Temple will have roughly 50 scholarship players in the game Coach Rod Carey said in his Monday press conference. The big question is who will play at quarterback, a position hit hard by injury. There is a question as to who sill start this game. Will it be Anthony Russo, the season starter, or Re-al Mitchell who finished the SMU game. It will depend on how far Russo has come back from a shoulder injury. That will be determined during the week.
“Russo, all indications are he will be able to practice tomorrow (Tuesday),” Carey said. “How much he practices will determine if he can play, and how much he recovers from that practice. We think he is far enough along that we can practice him. You have to push it and see of he responds. If he responds well, he is the guy.”
Mitchell finished the SMU game. He is a hard runner and needs to bring that to this game should the starting nod go to him.
“He runs hard and is getting more comfortable operating the offense,” said Carey. “When you have that element the throws become a lot easier because the defense has to straighten up.”
Trad Beatty started the SMU game, but left due to injury. He will not return for the year in all probability. Wide receiver Randle Jones will be unavailable for Saturday.
The injury bug has hit the linebacking corps. Isaiah Graham-Mobley, a defensive leader, will not play in Orlando.
The running game experienced the loss of leading rusher Re’Mahn Davis who left school, and will enter the transfer portal. It is time for Ruley, a fifth year senior to make the most of it and show what he can do.
UCF (4 – 2, 3 – 2) plays well on the offense and defensive side of the ball.
“Defense is the key to their success over the years,” Carey said. “They’ve been able to neutralize the opposing teams offense which gives their offense more opportunities. When you give their offense more opportunities, when you give them more possessions, the odds are they are going to score more. This year they are doing that at a greater rate. That will make it a challenge.”
The Knights allow 31 points per game and give up an average of 473 yards. The defense has 16 takeaways, 7 by interception. Richie Grant leads the defense with 43 tackles and 3 interceptions this season.
Dillon Gabriel quarterbacks an offense that averages 45.5 points posting 652.5 yards per game. The offense has run an average of 543 plays over six games. Gabriel has 21 touchdowns and 2,506 passing yards (over 400 per contest). Greg McCrae is the leading rusher. He posts over 82 yards of total offense per game.
Temple (1 – 4, 1 – 4) faces a tough task playing short-handed. It caused the team to wear down at the end of the SMU game. It makes it harder when you are facing two opponents, the Knights and injury, on the road. Younger players need to step up, and Carey sees a bright future.
“We have a lot to move forward with having our young guys get these valuable reps at this time,” Carey said. “It is going to pay dividends in the future,”
Written By: Glenn Papazian