PHILADELPHIA – Trailing Cincinnati by one game in the American Athletic Conference East Division standings, UCF and Temple square off Saturday in a key league battle. The Knights and Owls each sit at 2-1 in AAC action, and host Temple is aiming to bounce back after an ugly defeat.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE: UCF -10.5
The Owls were trounced by SMU their last time out, absorbing a 45-21 defeat to snap a three-game winning streak. They allowed six touchdown passes and 457 passing yards, leading coach Rod Carey to say: "There's a lot to fix in all areas. The good news is it's correctable. The bad news is it cost us today." The Knights have alternated wins and losses in their last five games, most recently a 41-28 victory over East Carolina in which Dillon Gabriel threw two touchdowns and ran for another score. "We studied them really well this week – we really did prepare great together to know what was going to get thrown at us," receiver Gabriel Davis told reporters after the win.
ABOUT UCF (5-2, 2-1 American)
Gabriel has exactly 2,000 passing yards on the season and has a strong ratio of 17 touchdowns with five interceptions - including 14 touchdowns and no picks in the team's victories. Davis had nine catches for 164 yards in the win over ECU and snagged multiple TD catches for the third time in the last four outings. Running back Otis Anderson has not found the end zone since mid-September but did set season highs in carries (18) and yards (80) against ECU.
ABOUT TEMPLE (5-2, 2-1)
Re'Mahn Davis had a rushing touchdown and Anthony Russo threw a scoring pass against SMU, but the team was outgained 457-204 in a lopsided affair. Russo threw for 409 yards in the season opener versus Bucknell but since has not surpassed 300 yards in any game, including efforts of 127, 224 and 171 yards over the last three outings. Jadan Blue leads the team in receptions (42) and receiving yards (529), although Branden Mack and Isaiah Wright are not far behind in either category.
1. In the last three games, Re'Mahn Davis has 68 carries, none of which have gone for more than 19 yards.
2. Temple won six of its final seven regular-season games last year, losing only to UCF 52-40.
3. UCF has five players with multiple rushing touchdowns.
PREDICTION: UCF 31, Temple 30