Temple (3-2) vs Memphis (3-1)

Fresh off its first loss of the season, host Memphis aims to regroup Thursday against resurgent Temple when the Owls visit the Tigers in an American Athletic Conference game (Enter contest). Memphis outscored its opponents 155-27 during a 3-0 start, but struggled in a 20-point loss at Ole Miss last week in its final non-conference tune-up.

ABOUT MEMPHIS

The Tigers’ defense allowed 624 yards while the team committed four turnovers and seven penalties against the Rebels. They’ve allowed a total of 10 points in their previous two games before surrendering 48 to Ole Miss, and now must contend with an Owls squad that has defeated them in two of the last three seasons. Memphis needs Riley Ferguson to have a bounce back game after the junior threw three interceptions without a touchdown pass last week, a stark contrast to his eight touchdowns and zero picks over the previous two outings. Wide receiver Anthony Miller had 157 total yards and a touchdown against the Rebels, while fellow junior Doroland Dorceus rushed for a score for the fourth straight game.

Memphis is averaging 45.8 points, which is sixth-best in the nation. Kicker Jake Elliott needs one point to tie DeAngelo Williams (362) for second place in school history and eight points to match Stephen Gostkowski (369) for top spot in the Tigers’ record books. The Tigers have not returned a kickoff for a touchdown in 233 consecutive games. It’s the longest active streak in the FBS.

ABOUT TEMPLE

The Owls faced plenty of issues themselves early in the season but have regrouped to win two straight behind 48- and 45-point performances. Although senior quarterback Philip Walker is looking to deliver a stronger effort this week, he went 7-of-18 for 124 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions last week against SMU.

Sophomore tailback Ryquell Armstead scored two touchdowns in his second straight game. He finished with 159 rushing yards against SMU. Senior Jahad Thomas also had a pair of rushing scores. It was his third straight game with two rushing TDs. He continues to work his way back from a hand injury that sidelined him for the first two games of the season. After recording a career-high 10 tackles against SMU, sophomore defensive back Delvon Randall will need a repeat performance versus the Tigers. Owls kicker Austin Jones is 8-for-8 in field goals (long of 45) and 21-for-21 on extra points this season.

Posted in CFB

CFB Thursday Preview

Houston (2-0) vs Cincinnati (2-0)

No. 7 Houston will be back at full strength on offense when it tries to win at Cincinnati for the first time since 1971 on Thursday night. Heisman Trophy-candidate Greg Ward Jr. (shoulder) and running back Duke Catalon (ankle) were held out of last week’s dominating victory over Lamar so that they’d be ready for Thursday’s American Athletic Conference opener. Join this CFB game, play it here.

Cincinnati Bearcats

This game will be Cincinnati’s defense first real challenge this year. They were ranked 124th in turnover margin last year. The Bearcats scored 35 points off the 8 turnovers they’ve forced. They give their inexperienced offense much needed support. Coach Tom Herman called his D-squad the “backbone of his team” on Monday. Sophomore quarterback Hayden Moore (510 passing yards, five TDs, one INT, 71 rushing yards and two TDs) was responsible for five scores in a road win at Purdue last week. Nate Cole (12 catches, 145 yards, three TDs) and Devin Gray (nine catches, 167 yards) heads a new group of receivers after the Bearcats graduated six senior receivers. Linebacker Eric Wilson leads the AAC with 24 total tackles. Cincinnati ranks second in the league with 13.5 points allowed.

Houston Cougars

The Cougars are no slouch in defense either. They lead the AAC in total defense (233 yards), scoring defense (11.5 points), sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (20). Houston held their last four opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing. Greg Ward will return to the lineup after sitting out one game. In the team’s season opener against Oklahoma, he threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns. Duke Catalon added 88 rushing yards in that matchup. Kevrin Justice (111 yards, two TDs), Mulbah Car (109 yards, TD) and quarterback Kyle Postma (106 yards, two TDs) all rushed for more than 100 yards versus Lamar. Linebacker Steven Taylor leads the league with  3.5 sacks. Freshman lineman Ed Oliver collected 10 tackles, two sacks and 4.5 tackles. The Cougars have won 16 of their past 17 games.

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