College football capsule: Temple at Cincinnati

College football capsule: Temple at Cincinnati
October 11, 2013, 11:30 am
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P.J. Walker is set to make his first collegiate start on the road and under the lights ...

Temple (0-5, 0-2) at Cincinnati (3-2, 0-1)
Nippert Stadium - Cincinnati, Ohio
Friday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Temple (+21)

Temple is 2-3 against the spread this season and 2-1 as an underdog. Both covers have come against spreads of 30 points or higher.

Scouting Temple
P.J. Walker is set to make his first college start Friday night. Walker took over for Connor Reilly in the second quarter last week and finished 10 for 19 for 182 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Walker will attempt to spark an offense that lacks a single receiver with more than five catches this season.

On the other side of the ball, the Owls' defense will try avoid a repeat of last year's game when Bearcats quarterback Brendon Kay went 13 of 21 for 244 yards passing and two touchdowns. Temple has allowed at least 305 yards passing in each game its played this year. The 330 yards passing its allowed per game is the second-highest average in the nation, behind only Texas State.

The only change to the depth chart this week has senior transfer Pete White back as the starter at right guard. He fills in for the injured Dion Dawkins, who appears to be out for the season with a fractured bone in his foot.

Scouting Cincinnati
Kay is back under center after Munchie Legaux suffered a gruesome injury in Week 2, tearing multiple ligaments in his left knee. Kay, now a senior, also took over for Legaux last year and made his first start of 2012 at the Linc against Temple -- those stats above. He led the Bearcats to a 4-1 close last year and a bowl victory over Duke, in which he threw for 332 yards and four touchdowns. (Fun fact, that game was one of the two most brutal beats of the 2012 season. Think Ohio State-Northwestern last week. That bad.)

But the Bearcats have underperformed in 2013 under new head coach Tommy Tuberville and have struggled mightily in their last two outings. Cincinnati played Miami (OH) -- one of the worst team's in the country this year -- scoreless well into the fourth quarter before finally winning, 14-0. In its following game, coming off a bye, Tuberville's team managed to lose, 26-20, to USF, which was previously winless.

The main problem -- Cincy has turned the ball over seven times in those two games, with Kay tossing four picks.

Team tragedy
Shortly after the Miami (OH) game on Sept. 21, Bearcats freshman offensive lineman Ben Flick was killed in a car accident. Two freshman receivers, Mark Barr and Javon Harrison, were also injured. Harrison was released from the hospital after the accident, but Barr, who remains in the ICU, only had his condition upgraded from critical to stable this week.

The three were redshirt freshman and did not travel with the team, but were just south of Oxford when the accident occurred.

The driver of the vehicle, an 18-year-old Miami (OH) student who had recently gotten married, also lost his life in the accident.

Temple leads the all-time series 9-5-1, dating back to 1973, but hasn't beaten Cincy since 1985.

Walker will be the first Temple freshman QB to start a game since Chester Stewart in 2008 and the first true freshman to do it since Vaughn Charlton in 2006.

Recommended reading
Can Walker finally end Temple's QB carousel?

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