Temple, needing wins to rescue bowl hopes, faces East Carolina

NCAA Football

Temple will hope to avoid a fourth consecutive loss when it battles East Carolina on Saturday in Greenville, S.C.

Since defeating Memphis 34-31 on Oct. 2, the Owls (3-5, 1-3 American Athletic Conference) were blitzed 52-3 by then-No. 5 Cincinnati, 34-14 by South Florida and then 49-7 by UCF last week.

“Penalties and turnovers and bad situational football certainly put the score where it was,” Temple coach Rod Carey said of the latest defeat.

Temple’s rushing defense has been an issue all season, especially in the three consecutive losses. The Owls surrendered 199 rushing yards to the Knights.

“We had one starting secondary guy out there,” Carey said. “We aren’t going to use that as an excuse, though.”

One of Temple’s goals this season was to qualify for a bowl game. For that to happen, the Owls would have to finish at least 6-6.

Reaching a bowl game would be a major long shot with a loss to the Pirates.

“We’re just going to take them one at a time and again, we will count them up and see where we are at,” Carey said.

East Carolina will be looking for its second straight win when it hosts Temple.

The Pirates (4-4, 2-2) defeated South Florida 29-14 on Oct. 28, outscoring the Bulls 23-0 in the second half.

The fact that the win came on a Thursday gave East Carolina some extra preparation time heading into the upcoming game.

“It was good to get a little bit of extra rest for the kids and get a little bit more work on Temple,” East Carolina coach Mike Houston said. “We feel good going into this week, got to have a great week of practice. A big ballgame for our program Saturday. Temple is a very dangerous opponent and we’re going to have to play very, very well.”

Pirates quarterback Holton Ahlers continues to improve. He threw for 220 yards and a touchdown while also running for a season-best 78 yards on 11 carries against the Bulls.

“I thought he made really, really good decisions,” Houston said. “I don’t know if there’s a decision I really questioned that he made. I thought he was very decisive of where to go with the football. I thought he put us in good situations. I really thought, mentally, he played his best game of the year.”

–Field Level Media

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