Temple is preparing for what should be a near-impossible game — on its schedule, taking on No. 5 Cincinnati, a 29-point favorite, at 7 p.m. Friday in Nippert Stadium.
A nationally televised game on ESPN will put Temple’s program on the spot but also quarterback D’Wan Mathis, who is coming off a strong performance in last week’s 34-31 victory over Memphis. Mathis completed 35-of-49 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed four times for 53 yards.
“I’m just trying to take the opportunity to win out there,” Mathis said. “I’m not trying to force it, I’m just trying to do my job. If we do our jobs we’ll be fine, it’s up to all of us to collectively do our jobs together.”
Mathis has had to overcome a lower leg injury suffered during a loss to Rutgers on Sept. 4, causing him to miss games against Akron (Sept. 11) and Boston College (Sept. 18). The Georgia transfer has put two straight strong games together since then, passing for 292 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-7 win over Wagner on Sept. 25.
“Things I’ve seen in practice, since spring ball — composer,” Temple coach Rod Carey said of Mathis. “He is an emotional guy and he used the emotion to his benefit [Saturday] and obviously we said he has the talent, but he needs reps.”
Cincinnati (4-0) is coming off a 31-24 victory over No. 9 Notre Dame last Saturday and features NFL prospect Desmond Ridder at quarterback. A challenge also awaits Mathis and the Owls offense against a Cincinnati defense that is allowing 14 points per game and features cornerback Ahmad Gardner, another NFL prospect known for his press man coverage.
“We just gotta go back to work and keep doing what we did to get ourselves here,” Carey said.