By Mary Cunningham
Our No. 24-ranked Temple Owls (10-3) play the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-6) in the Military Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 3:30 p.m. in Annapolis on ESPN.
But ahead of the ninth annual bowl game, here are a few things to know about Temple football.
1. Temple is on a hot streak
The Owls enter the Military Bowl riding a seven-game win streak with their last loss on Oct. 6 at Memphis. What’s more, their most recent win was in the American Athletic Conference championship game when they upset then-No. 19 Navy, 34-10, for their first conference championship since winning the 1967 Middle Atlantic Conference title.
2. Historic season
At 10-3, Temple has a chance to earn its first 11-win season in program history. The Owls actually almost closed with a record breaking season last year — twice — but they ended with two consecutive losses in the AAC championship and the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl against Toledo and finished 10-4.
3. Last-minute coaching change
While Matt Rhule led the Owls to their second consecutive 10-win season, he accepted the head coach job at Baylor earlier this month, leaving program veteran Ed Foley as the interim head coach. Foley has been the assistant head coach/tight ends coach for four years and has spent a total of nine seasons with the school. Temple also wasted no time after Rhule’s departure and quickly hired Florida’s defensive coordinator Geoff Collins as the new head coach.
4. Once a century
Temple and Wake Forest have played each other only one time, and that was nearly 90 years ago. But the Owls came away with a 36-0 shutout over the Demon Deacons on November 1, 1930.
Temple’s defense is one of the team’s strongest assets, ranking third nationally to just Alabama and Michigan and averaging 275.9 yards per game allowed. Led by defensive lineman Haason Reddick — who racked up 21.5 tackles for a loss of 91 yards this season — the Owls’ red zone defense is also sixth best in the country and their scoring defense is seventh, averaging 17.2 points per game.