Temple University was a member of the Big East Conference from 1991 to 2004 and was added back to the league in 2012 as a result of conference instability. The move was necessary for 2012 after West Virginia accepted an invitation to the Big 12 in October of 2011. Temple took some time to regroup in their 7-year absence from Big East play and really struggled to find its footing in 2005 finishing 0-11. The program did make bold progress under former Head Coach Al Golden (now HC for the Miami Hurricanes) TU went 1-11 in 2006, 4-8 in 2007, 5-7 in 2008, 9-4 in 2009, and 8-4 in 2010.
When Al Golden elected to make a move to Miami, he wasn’t aware of the impending investigation at the school OR the fact that Temple would get an invite out of the MAC and into the Big East (now the American Athletic Conference). Such information might have kept Golden at the school and not receiving a bowl bid despite being 8-4 likely contributed to his decision. Temple then made a great another hire in 2011 when they obtained Florida Offensive Coordinator Steve Addazio. In their final year in the MAC the Owls went 9-4 and won the New Mexico Bowl easily over Wyoming. In 2012, the school took a sudden leap in competition and finished 4-7 with 2 conference wins over South Florida and UConn (OT). Addazio then left the Owls for Boston College which prompted the hire of Temple’s latest Head Coach: Matt Rhule. Rhule played at Penn State and eventually coached at Temple from 2006 to 2011 before the 2012 season where he spent last year with the New York Giants as the assistant Offensive Line Coach. Now Rhule has the reins of the TU program and has yet to win a game in the first four games.
Temple really does have a lot of advantages in place to build a competitive football program. The Owls play in Lincoln Financial Field and practice in Edberg Olson Hall. I’m sure an indoor facility would be great this week considering Hurricane Sandy, but the facilities at Temple are more than suitable for top-level football. But the best thing Temple has going for them is their location. Philadelphia is a particularly dense city and is very similar to the recruiting advantages that Rutgers enjoys. You are talking about Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Baltimore, District of Columbia, and New York. There are more than enough players to choose from to play high level football in that area.
The Cards and Owls have met 6 times and the series is tied 3-3. The Cards have won the three most recent match-ups in 2003, 2006, and 2012 with the Cards dropping the first three games in the series in 1980, 1982, and 1983. This year the Owls are 0-4 with losses to Notre Dame, undefeated Houston, FCS Fordham, and Idaho.
Last year the Cards beat Temple 45-17 to go 9-0 for the 1st time in school history. The 9-win season was the 11th time in school history and there was A LOT of optimism about the final 3 games of the season. The Cards allowed the opening kickoff to come back for a TD. Charlie Strong was upset with his team and his defense early in the 1st half by allowing that special teams score and then allowed several long runs on a 9-play 82-yard drive. From there though, the Cards dominated tallying 508 yards of offense behind Teddy Bridgewater who was on fire 19/28, 324 yards, 5 TDs, and 0 INTs. Louisville did allow 309 yards of offense (255 rushing) but also forced 4 Turnovers.
Offense vs. Defense Match-Ups
Statistically this game is a mis-match when comparing Louisville to Temple. The Cards are 7th in the nation in scoring and 14th in yardage per game, while the Owls are 71st in Scoring Defense and 122nd in Yards Allowed. Temple has allowed 470 yards (310 passing) to Idaho, 520 yards to Fordham (320 passing), 524 yards to Houston (305 passing), and 543 yards to Notre Dame. Considering that Louisville averages 511.5 yards per game and Temple is currently allowing 516.3 yards per game I think we can guess how this game will go.
Teddy Bridgewater is by far the best QB that they Owls will face in 2013, and Temple has already been a 123rd (of 125) in Passing Defense during 2013. Conversely on defense the Cards are one of the best defensive teams in the nation (1st in Scoring, 3rd in Total, 2nd in Passing, and 9th in Rushing), while Temple ranks in the lower third of ever offensive category (109th in Scoring, 94th in total, 93rd in Passing, and 73rd in Rushing).
Temple with those abysmal numbers actually is a pretty good 3rd down team on Offense, converting 43.55% of their 3rd downs. They also pass much more and their offense is much less predictable than a year before. Louisville is 2nd in the nation at preventing 3rd down conversions so something will have to give in this regard.
Temple doesn’t utilize the middle much in their passing game in an attempt to free up their running attack. Expect for the Owls to try and execute some quick throws a few yards beyond the tackle box towards the sideline and try to “nickel & dime” their way down the field. I expect Louisville will oblige them and do what they can to not give up the big play and wait for Temple to make a mistake.
When Louisville has the ball, I don’t expect Temple to do much to stop the Cards. I think Teddy will play 2.5 quarters and the numbers will be rather large. This is not a game where Louisville should punt more than twice with the starters in.
Louisville & Temple vs. their Opponent Averages
The below chart shows what Louisville & Temple do offensively and defensively to their opponents’ relative to their average. For example, Ohio averages 386 yards per game. The Cards allowed just 273 yards in that game, a deviation of -113, and a total of just 70.73% of the Bobcats average.
As you can see Louisville has not yet allowed an opponent to exceed their offensive average, and has gained more than their opponents have allowed on the season.
|Total Offense||Louisville Allowed vs.||Deviation from Avg.||% Gained of Avg Allowed|
|Total Defense||Louisville Gained vs.||Deviation from Avg.||% Gained of Avg Allowed|
|Total Offense||Temple Allowed vs.||Deviation from Avg.||% Gained of Avg Allowed|
|Total Defense||Temple Gained vs.||Deviation from Avg.||% Gained of Avg Allowed|
Temple is returning to Philadelphia after a disappointing trip to Moscow, Idaho where they dropped a 26-24 decision to the Vandals. The win for Idaho gave 1st year Idaho Head Coach, and former Louisville assistant, Paul Petrino his 1st head coaching win. The Vandals (1-4) amassed 470 yards of offense (310 passing) and held the ball for 33:37 of the 60 minutes. Louisville is coming off a BYE after DEMOLISHING Florida International 72-0 and allowing just 30 yards of total offense.
I don’t think we’ll see scores all the way into the 60s or 70s, Temple is going to get their fair share of first downs and they will try and control the ball some. Plus the fact that the Owls have a punter will give the Cards fewer short fields and will probably take longer to score. But if the defense gets in on the action, or if Charles Gaines decides to run another kickoff we could see a higher total than I am expecting.
I don’ think the Louisville defense gives up a touchdown this week, BUT, don’t be surprised to see some yards/points late in the game. Louisville has a quick turnaround to play a big-time game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at PJCS on Thursday Night.
Louisville 45 Temple 6
Attending, Listening, Watching
-The Game at Lincoln Financial Field is a “Pink Out” in support of breast cancer. Owls & Cards are both encouraged to support the effort.
-Tickets to the game are $37.85 each with lower level tickets still available. Go to OwlTix.com or Ticketmaster.
-You can listen to the game on the UofL Radio Network with Paul Rogers, Chris Redman, and Doug Ormay.
-Louisville vs. Temple will be broadcast LIVE on WatchESPN at 12:00 noon.