Temple gets ready for visit from Tulane Saturday

Matt Leon
November 11, 2019 - 3:53 pm
Temple Owls running back Jager Gardner (21) runs with the ball against the South Florida Bulls during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Temple Owls will be back home on Saturday for an American Athletic Conference game against Tulane.

The Owls last played this past Thursday when they went down to Tampa and beat USF, 17-7. After allowing 108 total points in losses to SMU and UCF the two previous games, the Temple defense bounced back against the Bulls, holding USF to just the seven points and 286 yards of offense.  

The Owls had nine quarterback sacks and forced two turnovers including a fumble that senior linebacker Sam Franklin recovered and returned 39 yards for a touchdown.

Head coach Rod Carey on what allowed his defense to bounce back against USF.

"Well, they did their jobs individually and when everybody does their own job, then collectively it works better together," he told KYW Newsradio. "That's something that we had not done enough of in the two previous weeks. Certainly felt good about the performance we got last Thursday."

The Owls are now 6-3 and bowl eligible for the sixth straight season. They are 3-2 in the AAC, which is good for third in the East Division. 

Carey talked about what the message is to the team as they prepare for the home stretch.

"It hasn't changed and it's not going to," he said. "It's one game at a time, it's one practice at a time. The difference between good and great is really pretty easy: can you focus on what is right in front of you? And if you can focus on what's right in front of you and do the best you can at that, those are the great teams. We haven't been that yet this year, we have at times, but we haven't been it consistently enough and we have to find out if we can do that this week against a really good opponent."

That good opponent is Tulane. 

The Green Wave are also 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the AAC. Tulane is led by a dynamic quarterback in graduate student Justin McMillan. He's thrown for 1,703 yards and 13 touchdowns and he leads the Green Wave in rushing with 488 yards and a dozen scores. 

But he gets a lot of help on the ground as McMillan is one of seven Green Wave players who have rushed for at least 150 yards this season.

"When you have a quarterback that can also run, (you can) do a bunch of things," Carey said. "So they'll play some zone read game, play some midline game, play some old-school Wing-T game, certainly some designed quarterback runs in there. They have a very, very multiple offense that you can see they've been working on for three years to get accomplished and they certainly have done that."

Tulane is coming off a bye week. In their last game back on Nov. 2, the Green Wave beat Tulsa in New Orleans, 38-26.

Saturday's game at the Linc will get underway at noon.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.