By Mary Cunningham
When: October 15 – 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
TV Broadcast: ESPNU
UCF had an unexpected bye week this past Saturday as Hurricane Matthew forced its game against Tulane to be postponed. Since losing to Michigan and Maryland, the Knights have run off two straight wins, including an impressive 47-29 victory against ECU.
Temple is coming off a tough loss to Memphis in which the Owls jumped out to a 13-0 lead before ultimately falling 34-27. Quarterback Phillip Walker (above with coach Matt Ruhle) threw for 445 yards and two touchdowns but had two interceptions that cost the Owls.
The mystery is who will be the starting quarterback for the Knights. Leading up to the cancelled game against Tulane, the depth chart listed either McKenzie Milton or Justin Holman as the starter. Holman started in the win against ECU, but struggled, completing only 11-for-29 passes and being intercepted twice.
The defense has vastly improved in a year and will look to shut down Walker and the Owls’ aerial attack. It has been a challenge for the Knights against the pass though, ranking No. 81 in the nation by allowing 238 yards per game.
Can Walker repeat his performance from last week? He probably had to ice down him arm after throwing 59 passes. He will have to cut down on the interceptions for the Owls to win this game.
Whoever plays quarterback for UCF will pass against a stout defense that allows just 159.5 yards per game through the air. The Owls will try to shut down the run first, though, and make the Knights beat them with the passing game.
Offense: Temple. Walker has a great arm, but the lack of a running game might put too much pressure on him.
Defense: UCF. Shut down Walker, and the Knights win this one.
Special Teams: Temple. Kicker Austin jones is 10-of-12 on field goal attempts.
Coaching: UCF. Scott Frost’s name is already being mentioned for other jobs.
Intangibles: UCF. Home field? Check. Rested after unexpected week off? Check. Scott Frost as coach? Check.
Matchup To Watch
Phillip Walker vs. UCF pass defense
The only chance the Owls have is for Walker to lead them with the passing game. Shut that down and Temple won’t know what to do.
UCF vs. Temple Betting Odds
Spread: UCF -3.5
UCF vs. Temple Score Prediction: Temple 31, UCF 27