Nov 13, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; East Carolina Pirates running back Keaton Mitchell (25) runs with the ball against  Cincinnati Bearcats linebacker Brody Ingle (10) in the first half at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

Temple, ECU aim to end skids, earn second win

Two American Athletic Conference football teams desperate to end four-game losing streaks will meet in Philadelphia on Saturday.

The host Temple Owls (1-5, 1-5 AAC) are slight favorites over the East Carolina Pirates (1-6, 1-5), and that makes sense. After all, the Owls have beaten the Pirates for six straight years, including 27-17 last season.

In that game, a bank of stadium lights shut off with 3:52 left in the fourth quarter, delaying the contest 15 minutes.

That’s the way things have been going lately for the Owls and Pirates. Each team’s only win this season was against South Florida, which is winless in league play. East Carolina beat USF, 44-24. Temple beat USF, 39-37, a week later.

Temple coach Rod Carey, who guided the Owls to an 8-5 record and a bowl game last year in his first season running the program, is struggling with depth. Due in large part to COVID-19 and contact tracing, Carey had only 45 available players — including 16 walk-ons — last week in a 38-13 loss to UCF.

That defeat clinched Temple’s first losing season since 2013.

“I would not have played the past three weeks,” Carey said of the injury/illness issues, “but I am not the decision-maker.”

Meanwhile, East Carolina, which hasn’t had a winning season since 2014, is led by second-year coach Mike Houston, who likely sees the Owls as his best chance to get a second win since the schedule ends next week against 7-2 SMU.

“Both us and Temple have been through so much adversity,” Houston said, “but you keep competing every day. One us will come out with a big win (on Saturday), and that will be something to celebrate in the locker room.”

Temple quarterback Matt Duncan — a true freshman who is 0-for-2 passing in mop-up duty this season — is set to get his first start on Saturday. The 6-1, 215-pounder from South Carolina is in the lineup due to injuries/illnesses to the three players who had been ahead of him on the depth chart.

Most notably, starter Anthony Russo went down with a shoulder injury and then tested positive for COVID-19. He will miss his fourth straight game, but, prior to that, he had given Temple solid play — 68.1 percent passing and nine touchdowns with six interceptions.

One issue for Duncan could be the blocking of a young offensive line that last week played two redshirt freshmen, also due to health issues.

Duncan, who had never taken a college snap before last week, likely will rely on senior running back Tayvon Ruley, who had a strong game last week (23 carries, 90 yards). For the season, Ruley has run for 258 yards and one touchdown.

The strength of the Temple team could be its trio of senior wide receivers: Jadan Blue (41 catches, five TDs), Randle Jones (31 catches, two TDs) and Branden Mack (22 catches, three TDs).

East Carolina is led by junior quarterback Holton Ahlers, a third-year starter who has improved his completion percentage each season (.483, .597, .615). He has thrown for 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions this year.

Last year, Ahlers set school single-game records for TD passes (six) and yards passing (535). He also ranked 12th in the nation in passing yards per game (282.2).

Freshmen running backs Rahjai Harris (559 yards, 4.9 average) and Keaton Mitchell (272 yards, 4.9 average) power the ground attack while Ahlers’ main targets are third-year wide receivers Tyler Snead (43 catches, three TDs) and Blake Proehl (40 catches, two TDs). Snead and Proehl are known as sure-handed receivers who run efficient routes.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

Upcoming Games

Dec 1st, 10:30 AM

WKU +1.5 -110

Charlotte -1.5 -110

@

Dec 3rd, 9:30 PM

Air Force -10.5 -110

Utah State +10.5 -110

@

Dec 4th, 7:00 PM

Louisiana-Lafayette (23) +2.5 -110

Appalachian State -2.5 -110

@

Dec 4th, 9:30 PM

Boise State -27 -110

UNLV +27 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Texas A&M (5) -6.5 -110

Auburn (22) +6.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Texas (20) -9.5 -110

Kansas State +9.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Oklahoma State (21) -2 -105

TCU +2 -105

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Kansas +27 -110

Texas Tech -27 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Northwestern (11) -10 -110

Minnesota +10 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Nebraska +2 -110

Purdue -2 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Ohio State (3) -22.5 -110

Michigan State +22.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Penn State -10.5 -110

Rutgers +10.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Memphis +1.5 -110

Tulane -1.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Kent State -3.5 -110

Miami-OH +3.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Toledo -10 -110

NIU +10 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Western Carolina +48.5 -110

North Carolina (25) -48.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Cincinnati (7) -3.5 -110

Tulsa (24) +3.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 12:00 PM

Arkansas +3 -110

Missouri -3 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:00 PM

Eastern Michigan +13.5 -110

Western Michigan -13.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:00 PM

Bowling Green +2.5 -110

Akron -2.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:00 PM

Troy -5 -110

South Alabama +5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:30 PM

Syracuse +33.5 -110

Notre Dame (2) -33.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Fresno State +7 -110

Nevada -7 -110

@

Dec 5th, 2:33 PM

Liberty +7 -110

Coastal Carolina (16) -7 -110

@

Dec 5th, 3:00 PM

Louisiana-Monroe +21 -110

Arkansas State -21 -110

@

Dec 5th, 3:30 PM

Florida (6) -17 -110

Tennessee +17 -110

@

Dec 5th, 3:30 PM

West Virginia +7 -105

Iowa State (15) -7 -105

@

Dec 5th, 3:30 PM

Indiana (12) +13 -110

Wisconsin (18) -13 -110

@

Dec 5th, 3:30 PM

Iowa -13 -110

Illinois +13 -110

@

Dec 5th, 3:30 PM

Maryland +5 -115

Michigan -5 -115

@

Dec 5th, 3:30 PM

Buffalo -11.5 -110

Ohio +11.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 3:30 PM

Boston College +6 -110

Virginia -6 -110

@

Dec 5th, 4:00 PM

Vanderbilt +35.5 -110

Georgia (13) -35.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 4:00 PM

Stanford +11 -110

Washington -11 -110

@

Dec 5th, 4:00 PM

Hawaii +6.5 -105

San Jose State -6.5 -105

@

Dec 5th, 4:00 PM

Georgia Tech +7 -110

NC State -7 -110

@

Dec 5th, 5:30 PM

Ball State +1.5 -110

Central Michigan -1.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 6:00 PM

Florida Atlantic +1 -110

Georgia Southern -1 -110

@

Dec 5th, 7:00 PM

Colorado -4 -110

Arizona +4 -110

@

Dec 5th, 7:00 PM

Oregon (9) -9.5 -110

California +9.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 7:00 PM

Colorado State +8.5 -110

San Diego State -8.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 7:30 PM

South Carolina +11.5 -110

Kentucky -11.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 7:30 PM

Clemson (4) -21.5 -110

Virginia Tech +21.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 8:00 PM

Alabama (1) -28.5 -110

LSU +28.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 8:00 PM

Baylor +21.5 -115

Oklahoma (14) -21.5 -115

@

Dec 5th, 8:00 PM

Miami-FL (10) -16.5 -107

Duke +16.5 -107

@

Dec 5th, 10:30 PM

UCLA +4 -110

Arizona State -4 -110

@

Dec 5th, 10:30 PM

Wyoming -16.5 -110

New Mexico +16.5 -110

@

Dec 5th, 10:30 PM

Oregon State +9.5 -110

Utah -9.5 -110

@

Dec 6th, 2:30 PM

UAB

Middle Tennessee

@

Dec 6th, 9:00 PM

Washington State +14 -110

USC (19) -14 -110

@