The folks who once brought you Kevin Kolb come to town Saturday when Temple takes on Houston in the inaugural American Athletic Conference opener for both teams at the Linc.
For Matt Rhule’s Owls it’s a chance to build off the many good things they did last weekend, despite losing to powerful Notre Dame, 28-6. Of course, the Cougars are certainly no cupcake.
After squashing Southern, 62-13 — while racking up 627 yards on offense — Rhule knows his team faces another severe test.
“They’re going to come out slinging. That’s what they do,” said Rhule, whose club was victimized repeatedly on big plays by the Irish. “They have great wideouts. I challenged the pass-rush this week and our corners are gonna have to step up. Their system is about getting the ball and attacking. So we have to make something happen on defense and get off the field because they run so many plays.”
Houston quarterback Case Keenum, who shattered all of Kolb’s records, is gone. But the cupboard is hardly bare, with holdover David Piland (5,718 yards, 43 scores) and John O’Korn sharing the load for the up-tempo Cougars.
Second-year coach Tony Levine has a fleet of skilled backs, led by Ryan Jackson (102 yards) and Kenneth Farrow (97), along with receiver Daniel Spencer (102 receiving yards, three touchdowns).
Yet Rhule can’t help but be encouraged by the way his team bounced back from that wretched start in South Bend after digging themselves a 14-0 hole.
“For your first game out there, you’re young, you make mistakes, you correct them,” said Rhule. “I think we corrected them and moved forward.”