College Football Friday

0309UCscrimmage6TEMPLE OWLS (0-5) at CINCINNATI BEARCATS (3-2) Line & Total: Cincinnati -21 & 51.5

Opening Line & Total: Bearcats -21.5 & 51.5

After a humiliating loss against division foe South Florida, Cincinnati will look to rebound at home against winless Temple.

These two struggling AAC teams will meet in Cincinnati on Friday night to try and claim their first win in the newly formed conference. In 2012, the Bearcats played to a tremendous 10-3 year and shared the Big East title with a 5-2 conference record. Meanwhile, Temple continued to struggle with a 4-7 overall record and only two wins in conference. The Owls have not won a conference game since Oct. 13of last year when they defeated Connecticut 17-14 in overtime, going 1-10 SU (3-8 ATS) since then. Cincinnati is 3-0 SU (2-1 ATS) against the Owls since 2002, but has played them only once in the past decade, a 34-10 victory last season. In that game, Temple was outgained 472 to 267 on offense. The Bearcats are coming off a horrible 26-20 loss at 10.5-point underdog USF last week where they outgained their opponent, but turned the ball over four times including a blocked field goal and fumble, which were both returned for touchdowns. The Bulls had lost their previous four games by an average of 23.3 PPG. The Owls ran into QB Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville last week and had no chance, as they lost their fifth game of the season in a 30-7 rout. Cincinnati has gone 9-1 SU (6-3-1 ATS) in its past 10 home games and looks to bounce back against a Temple club that hasn’t won a game in nearly 11 months since beating Army on Nov. 17.

Temple hopes for a spark out of its 119th-ranked scoring offense (15.8 PPG) on Friday, and thinks that QB P.J. Walker can provide that. The freshman is the third starting quarterback for the Owls on the season and went 10-for-19 for 182 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT when QB Connor Reilly was benched in the second quarter against Louisville. HB Kenneth Harper has been the heartbeat of the Owls’ offense in the early going this season with 373 total yards (250 rushing) and six touchdowns. However, Harper has had trouble in his two AAC games this year averaging only 3.4 YPC on 23 rushing attempts (79 yards). The young quarterback will be looking towards senior WR Ryan Alderman, who has 19 catches for 282 yards and a touchdown on the year, to stand out in the receiving game. Temple will need to do a better job against the Bearcats at defending the pass on Friday, as the team is allowing 328 passing YPG this season, the second-highest total in the nation.

The 2013 campaign has been a disappointing one for the Bearcats, as expectations were high coming off of a double-digit wins season in 2012. Cincinnati has been at least a touchdown favorite in each of its five games, but has gone just 2-3 ATS (3-2 SU). QB Brendon Kay (816 passing yards, 7 TD, 4 INT) will look to get the team back on track, but will need to protect the ball as he has thrown a pair of interceptions in each of the past two games. The Bearcats like to spread out the ball and do not have one huge weapon on their offense. Five different players on offense have over 200 yards of offense on the season. WRs Anthony McClung (234 yards, 13.0 avg.), Max Morrison (223 yards, 18.6 avg.) and Shaq Washington (210 yards, 8.8 avg.) have taken turns throughout the season being the go-to guy through the air. The halfback duo of Ralph Abernathy and Hosey Williams has helped the Cincinnati offense average more than 200 yards rushing per game with the pair combining for six touchdowns in the process. First team All-Conference LB Greg Blair (31 tackles) and the nation’s 11th-ranked rush defense (98.8 YPG) of Cincinnati hope to shut down any hopes the Owls may have in their ground game. Their defense has done well, allowing only 17.4 PPG (20th in nation) but did give up 45 points to Illinois, the only top-50 offense it has faced this year. A healthy and eager Cincinnati teams needs to have a big game here to quiet the skeptics and save its season.   



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