Temple set to host undefeated Cincinnati Saturday

Last year the Owls beat the Bearcats in Ohio.

Matt Leon
October 15, 2018 - 4:17 pm
Oct 13, 2018; Annapolis, MD, USA; Temple Owls wide receiver Ventell Bryant (1) makes a catch against Navy Midshipmen cornerback Cameron Kinley (3) during the second half at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Temple Owls will play a key American Athletic Conference game on Saturday as they host undefeated Cincinnati at the Lincoln Financial Field. 

The Owls improved to 4-3 overall and a perfect 3-0 in the AAC this past Saturday with an impressive 24-17 win in Annapolis over Navy.

"That was a character win," Temple head coach Geoff Collins said. "Just the guys, how they fought, stayed together, stayed close, kept believing in each other, kept believing in the process. That was a huge, huge win for the program in a hostile environment against a really, really good football team."

The winning touchdown against the Midshipmen came on a 62-yard scoring strike from quarterback Anthony Russo to graduate student wide receiver Ventell Bryant in the 4th quarter. It was part of a huge day for Bryant who finished with 147 yards on eight catches and the score. Collins says it was not a surprise to see Bryant come up big in a big game.

"He's one of the first guys in the building, he's one of the last guys to leave," he said. "He's the proof that if you work hard and have a great attitude, that you're going to have success. I was just so happy for him to have a monster day, especially when he's still dealing with an injury. It's really good to see, really positive."

Bryant now has caught at least one pass in all 42 games he has played in during his Temple career.

Making the win over Navy even more impressive is that the Owls pulled it off without starting running back Ryquell Armstead, who sat the game out with an ankle issue. Collins talks about Armstead's status heading into this weekend.

"Still getting better every single day," he said. "He's a lot better than he was when we went down to Annapolis. He's taking care of his body, getting with our trainers and our medical staff and they're doing a great job trying to get one of the best backs in the country back healthy and ready for the game."

Cincinnati is 6-0 on the season (2-0 AAC) and coming off a bye week. 

"The tremendous amount of athletes they have in all phases of their game, and special teams as well," he said, explaining what jumps out at him when he watches the Bearcats on tape. "They're playing really, really tight coverage on defense, they're challenging every single throw. They are multiple offensively with some really good weapons and they can throw it and the quarterback (Desmond Ritter) can hurt you with his feet as well." 

Last year the Owls beat the Bearcats in Ohio, 35-24.

Saturday's game gets underway at noon at the Lincoln Financial Field. 

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.