After being eliminated from contention in the American Athletic Conference East Division with last week’s 15-13 loss at East Division champion Cincinnati, Temple now finishes the regular season by hosting UConn on Saturday in the seniors’ final game at Lincoln Financial Field.
Temple, which will find its bowl destination on Dec. 8, will look to send its seniors out on a positive note in their final home game.
Here are five things to watch for the game.
The offense has not taken a step up this season with too much inconsistency. Last week, albeit in miserable weather conditions, Temple didn’t score until the fourth quarter. Owls quarterbacks Anthony Russo and Todd Centeio have combined to throw 22 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions, but Temple has stalled in too many key moments. The Owls are ninth in the AAC in third down conversations (38.3 percent). UConn is last in the AAC in scoring defense, allowing 39.7 points, so Temple will look to get its offense going against the Huskies.
With redshirt senior running back Jager Gardner suffering a season-ending broken ankle in the Cincinnati loss, some of the young running backs look to get action behind freshman Re’Mahn Davis, who leads the Owls in rushing (795 yards) and rushing TDs (6). Junior Tayvon Ruley, who has 12 carries, should be the No. 2 back, and it could be a chance to see players such as Kyle Dobbins, who has just two carries and freshman Edward Saydee, who has yet to carry the ball.
Last week UConn freshman Jack Zergiotis completed 21 of 37 for 418 yards and three touchdowns in the Huskies’ 31-24 loss to visiting East Carolina. it was by far the best performance for the 6-foot-1, 222-pound native of Montreal. For the season, Zergiotis has been up and down, but that was the best performance of his young career and it came a week after he completed 4 of 14 for 35 yards and an interception in a 48-3 loss at Cincinnati.
UConn junior Kevin Mensah has been the best player on a struggling offense and is going for his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season. He has rushed for 993 yards (4.5 avg.) and nine touchdowns. Last season Mensah (5-9, 198) rushed for 1,045 yards (4.6 avg.) and six TDs. During last year’s 57-7 home loss to Temple, Mensah rushed for 94 yards on 24 carries. In UConn’s 28-24 win at Temple in 2017, Mensah rushed for 25 yards on seven carries.
This will be UConn’s final AAC football game. The Huskies will be an independent in football next year because they are moving to the Big East, which doesn’t offer the sport. Temple will be sad to see the Huskies go. UConn and Navy are the only AAC football schools within reasonable driving distance.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. Lincoln Financial Field.
TV/radio: CBS Sports Network; WNTP-AM (990)
Records: UConn (2-9, 0-7 American Athletic Conference); Temple (7-4, 4-3).
Coaches: UConn, Randy Edsall (80-99, 102-133 overall); Temple, Rod Carey (7-4, 59-34 overall).