UCF hosts Temple Owls in annual Space Game

(Photo credit: @UCF_Football / Conor Kvatek)

Written by: Andrew Johnson (@RealNews102)

Orlando, FL – UCF will host the Temple Owls on Thursday for its annual Space Game in FBC Mortgage Stadium after rolling over SMU 41-19 to open conference play. 

The Owls travel to Orlando as 23.5-point underdogs as the Knights found their groove with a 31-6 second-half run last week to start 1-0 in the American Athletic Conference.

Knights head coach Gus Malzahn and staff will look to continue their three-game winning streak behind a balanced offensive attack and stellar defense. 

UCF’s offense has gone cold at times but is impressive when things are going right. Knights quarterback John Rhys Plumlee continues to flash gleaming potential with decent downfield throws and running back-esque moves. The rushing attack is also averaging 252.6 yards per game, which ranks fourth nationally and leads the AAC. 

Notably, the defense is among the top 15 nationally in scoring defense, limiting teams to just 14.6 points per game to rank 12th nationally and has not allowed more than 20 points in a game this season. 

For Temple, the Owls are off to a 2-3 start to the season and an 0-1 start in conference play after suffering a 24-3 loss to Memphis on Oct. 1. 

Despite the rough start for head coach Stan Drayton, the Temple defense has been one of the best in the country, allowing just 16.8 points per game to rank 12th nationally and third in the AAC. The offense features freshman quarterback E.J Warner who was named the starter earlier in the season following offensive struggles. 

The Knights control their own destiny in this matchup but can’t underestimate any conference opponent. With all the hype surrounding UCF’s Space Game, the Owls shouldn’t be able to overcome the balanced onslaught and environment from Knight Nation.

UCF Knightlight Players

John Rhys Plumlee | QB1

Stats: 89/146 attempts | 1143 passing yards | 7 TD | 3 INT – 80 rushes | 431 rushing yards | 4 TD

Javon Baker | WR

Stats: 24 receptions | 395 yards | 2 TD |  79.0 ypg

Tre’Mon Morrish Brash | DE

Stats: 20 total tackles | 3 sacks | 6.5 TFL | 2 PBUs | 2 QBH | 2 FR | 1 FF | 1 BK


Temple Impact Players

Layton Jordan | LB

Stats: 22 total tackles | 17 solo | 8 TFL | 4.5 sacks, 1 INT return for a touchdown | 1 QBH

E.J. Warner | QB

Stats: 62/110 | 806 yards | 5 TD | 6 INT

Jose Barbon | WR

21 receptions | 317 yards | 63.40 ypg 

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