College Football: Week 13 Temple at Cincinnati

Temple Owls (7-3) vs #19 Cincinnati Bearcats (9-1)

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The University of Cincinnati football team earned its highest-ever ranking in a College Football Playoff poll, checking in at No. 17 last week. Now sitting at #19, they hope a win over Temple can take them back up the rankings. Can ACC rival Temple keep them from going back up?

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TEMPLE OWLS | AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Coach: Rod Carey

Temple Players to watch

*Junior DE Quincy Roche (6-4/235)

Temple redshirt junior defensive end Quincy Roche was named Chuck Bednarik Award Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Tulane. Earlier in the week he was named American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

Roche dominated from start to finish with an American Athletic Conference record 6.0 tackles-for-loss and a career-high 12 tackles. He ended Tulane’s first drive with a strip sack that he recovered himself. That possession led to Temple’s first points and they never trailed. On the Green Wave final drive he added two more sacks.

In two games this November, both Temple victories, Roche has accumulated 6.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles-for-loss and 18 tackles.

Senior MLB Shaun Bradley (6-1/225)

Temple senior linebacker Shaun Bradley has been recognized as one of thirty NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision student-athletes who excel both on and off the field and was thereby selected today as candidates for the 2019 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate football. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.

In four years at Temple, Bradley has accumulated 156 solo tackles; 77 assists; 233 total tackles; 21.0 tackles-for-loss and 2.0 sacks. In 2018, he was named first team All-AAC.

Senior WR Isaiah Wright (6-2/220)

Last year, Wright was just one of just three players in the nation to have a kickoff and punt return TD on the season. That’s says a lot for a guy who is 220 lbs. Wright, the 6-foot-2 swiss army knife, also lines up at wildcat quarterback and has scored a touchdown receiving, rushing, punt return and kick return in the past two years — the first time ever in FBS history.

*Junior OC Matt Hennessy (6-4/295)

The redshirt junior has been a staple on the Temple offensive line in each of the last three seasons. His dominance at his position has been noted by writers and scouts. He was recently named a mid-season second team A.P. All-American. Hennessy attended Don Bosco Prep (NJ), a school noted for turning out plenty of division one talent.

Hennessy has been an anchor in pass protection, allowing just three total pressures on nearly 300 pass-blocking snaps while his run-blocking grade is nearly 10.0 full grade points above the next closest player. However, Hennessy’s playing status for Saturday’s game is currently unknown. He is listed as having an undisclosed injury.  

*Junior QB Anthony Russo (6-4/230)

The last time Temple and Cincinnati faced off was on October 20, 2018. Temple QB Anthony Russo threw two interceptions late in the game, but led a seven play 75-yard drive capped off by a 20-yard touchdown pass with 49 seconds left in the game to force overtime. Russo followed that drive up with a 25-yard touchdown to WR Isaiah Wright for the win.

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CINCINNATI BEARCATS | AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Coach: Luke Finkell

Cincinnati Players to watch:

Senior TE Josiah Deguara (6-3/240)

Deguara is UC’s leading receiver in 2019 with 30 receptions for 424 yards and seven TDs. For his career, he has 83 catches for 1,037 yards and 12 scores. Among UC tight ends, he ranks second all-time in receiving yards and touchdowns to Brent Celek (2003-06) who had 91 receptions for 1,135 yards and 14 TDs. Deguara is third in receptions, behind Celek (91) and Kris Bjorson (1989-92 / 90).

The Folson, California native has been an imperative piece of the Bearcats’ offense this season, leading the team with 30 receptions and seven receiving touchdowns, including a 73-yard reception and late touchdown in the fourth quarter against East Carolina University Nov. 2. With two games remaining, Deguara needs nine catches, 99 yards receiving and three TDs to set Cincinnati records in those categories for a tight end.

Senior RG Morgan James (6-5/315)

Deguara often lines up on the same side as OG Morgan James. Both started all 13 games last year and helped set the school-record for rushing yards in a season. UC accumulated 3,430 yards, breaking the previous record of 3,113.

Interestingly enough, James didn’t play a down of football prior to coming to UC. The 29-year-old senior redshirted in 2015 after forgoing hockey to pursue a football career.

*Junior RB Michael Warren II (5-10/195)

“Mike’s a catalyst,” HC Fickell said. “When he runs the football it gives energy to everybody.” Warren holds the university’s record for rushing touchdowns in a single season (18) and is the school’s 12th running back with more than 1,000 yards in a season. In high school, he was honored as Mr. Football Award (Ohio).

“I’m hoping that health down the stretch is going to be a big advantage to us, especially for Mike, because like I’ve said, he’s a catalyst,” Fickell went on to say. Warren rushed 206 times for 1,082 yards and 17 touchdowns in the first 10 games of his breakout 2018 campaign. He has 833 yards and 10 touchdowns on 172 carries this season. 

Senior WLB Perry Young (5-11/215)

Young has been a leader on the defense this season, as they are two of three players with at least 50 total tackles so far this season.

Young finished second on the team in tackles as a sophomore with 101 and is one of three players to eclipse the 100+ tackles in the past five seasons (former Bearcats Eric Wilson and Jaylyin Minor are the other two).

A torn ACL sidelined Young for the final four games last season, but he’s come back strong in 2019 with his first career touchdown against the Cougars. He also has two interceptions.

*Junior P James Smith (6-5/225)

A native of Wangaratta, Australia, Smith was a finalist for the 2018 Ray Guy Award, a First-Team All-AAC selection and two-time All-America honoree (FWAA – 2nd, AP – 3rd). The Bearcats led the American in net punting and punt return defense, finishing No. 2 and No. 23 in the NCAA FBS, respectively.

Smith rarely has a touchback, and his hang-time encourages returners to call for a fair catch. While Smith’s average is down from past seasons, he still capable to turning the field in the Bearcats favor.

***Sophomore QB Desmond Ridder (6-5/215)

Last week, Bearcats’ quarterback Desmond Ridder completed just four first-half passes for only 15 yards and was sacked four times in the opening 30 minutes. The redshirt sophomore briefly went to the locker room with what a UC spokesperson confirmed was a shoulder injury. 

Ridder remained in the game, mostly handing off to Warren and fellow junior running back Gerrid Doaks. The backfield duo sandwiched two touchdowns around a Crosa 41-yard field goal to tie the game at 17 early in the fourth quarter. 

“He just wasn’t feeling it,” HC Luke Fickell said earlier this week. “He got dinged early the very first series of the game, but I would assume he’ll be perfectly fine and ready to roll. It’s not like he’s hurt. I think sometimes confidence-wise we all get into those situations where it doesn’t look as crisp and as clean, you know. It’s tough on a quarterback.” 

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Nippert Stadium Artificial Turf
Nov. 23 | Cincinnati, Ohio

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