Temple will be without head coach Matt Ruhle, who left for the Baylor job, but will have to move on to play Wake Forest in the 2016 Military Bowl.
The Owls started the season 1-2, but finished the season at 10-3. They only lost to bowl eligible teams: Army, Penn State and Memphis. Their key wins over UCF, USF and Navy show that they can play with most teams in the country.
P.J. (Phillip) Walker is a four year starter, who will be playing his last college game in this bowl game. He has been a good quarterback for the Owls, despite not putting up gaudy numbers. This season he has thrown for 2,899 yards and 20 touchdowns. He does need to cut down on interceptions, as he has thrown 12 on the season. He isn’t a threat with his legs, with negative rushing yards on the season.
Ventell Bryant missed three games this season and still had 744 receiving yards and four touchdowns. The six foot three sophomore receiver has a chance to go down in history as one of the best Temple receivers ever.
Temple has two good running backs that both got a lot of carries. Jahad Thomas was the starter from last season, but missed the first two games. He still finished with 918 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 4.6 yards per carry. Ryquell Armstead has been even more impressive with 918 yards on the ground and 14 touchdowns on 6.2 yards per carry. Thomas though, is the better receiving threat with six receiving touchdowns.
The Owls are great in run defense, only allowing 131 yards per game. The run defense may be great, but the pass defense is elite. They are second in the country and only give up 145 yards through the air per game.
Praise Martin-Oguike has been an excellent player for the defense and has 10 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. He knows how to make ball carriers cough the ball up with 10 forced fumbles in his career.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
The Demon Deacons won their first four games of the season, before faltering down the stretch to finish 6-6. Their one win over a bowl eligible team was against Indiana. All of their losses came at the hands of bowl eligible teams.
John Wolford has gotten the lion’s share of reps at the quarterback position. He has struggled, throwing for seven touchdowns and nine interceptions. His 1,591 yards aren’t a lot either. The Demon Deacons do put in Kendal Hinton, when they want a spark to the running game. He has 25 attempts for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
Wake Forest has a few solid receiving targets for the quarterbacks. Cortez Lewis leads the team in receiving yardage with 415, but Tabari Hines is right behind him with 401.
Three rushers split most of the carries for the Demon Deacons. Matt Colbourn, Cade Carney and Wolford all have over 120 attempts and 500 yards rushing.The rotation of ball carriers keeps the legs fresh in the backfield.
Wake Forest has an above average rush defense that gives up 156 yards per game. Their pass defense is also slightly above average and allows 214 yards per game.
Duke Ejiofor and Marquel Lee give the Demon Deacons two good pass rushers. Ejiofor finished the season with 10 sacks from the defensive line and Lee finished with 7.5 from his linebacker position.
Defensive Back Jesse Bates has helped out in the turnover department with five interceptions. He also leads the team with 65 solo tackles, which has made his freshman campaign a great one.
Temple will use the running game to control the clock and will then rely on it’s great defense to hold the Demon Deacons out of the end zone.
Temple Owls 29 Wake Forest Demon Deacons 19