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East Carolina at Temple
When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, November 26, 2016
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Temple has come a long way in the last two months and will clinch a spot in the American Athletic Conference championship game with a win Saturday against visiting East Carolina. The Owls are tied with USF atop the AAC East Division standings but own a tiebreaker with the Bulls by virtue of a win in their head-to-head meeting last month.

After starting 1-2, Temple has won seven of its last eight, including five straight entering this weekend. East Carolina has lost eight of nine, but Owls coach Matt Rhule learned first-hand how tough the Pirates can be in last year's matchup when Temple needed two late touchdowns to pull out the win. “It’s just a tremendous opportunity to face an East Carolina team that we’ve had some history with,” Rhule said. “We had a tremendous game with them last year that was really hard to win. We couldn’t really run the ball on them last year. When we don’t run the ball, we’re not a very good team.” Temple ran for 196 yards in last week's 31-0 win against Tulane, although quarterback Philip Walker and the defense stole the show in that one.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNews. LINE: Temple -21

ABOUT EAST CAROLINA (3-8, 1-6 AAC): The Pirates' lone conference win - a 41-3 trouncing of Connecticut on Oct. 29 - must feel like an eternity ago at this point, as they have allowed 166 points in their last three games. They surrendered 480 rushing yards and 66 points versus Navy last week, spoiling James Summers' 134 rushing yards and a score. Sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson got his first career start against the Midshipmen and threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns without a pick.

ABOUT TEMPLE (8-3, 6-1): The Owls have relied all season on a rushing attack led by Ryquell Armstead and Jahad Thomas, who have combined for 1,511 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, not to mention Thomas' 29 catches for 400 yards and six scores. Walker's up-and-down season is on the uptick at the moment as the senior has eight touchdowns and two interceptions over the last four games. Temple's defense has posted back-to-back shutouts and has notched three shutouts this season for the first time in school history.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Thomas has recorded exactly two touchdowns in eight of his last nine games.

2. The Pirates have lost 21 straight games when scoring 20 points or less.

3. Owls DL Haason Reddick has 20 tackles for loss, leaving him within close range of Dan Klecko's single-season school record (22.5 in 2002).

PREDICTION: Temple 37, East Carolina 23
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
East Carolina 3-8 L3 28.5 36.0 3-3 0-5 3-6 0-0 1-6
Temple 8-3 W5 32.4 18.5 5-1 3-2 7-2 0-0 6-1
Last Meeting
East Carolina Temple
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/22/15 TEM 24 ECU 14 378 95 283 322 72 250
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
East Carolina B. Kemp 64.6 272 1 1
Temple P. Walker 54.3 250 1 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
East Carolina C. Hairston 8 65 8.1 1
Temple J. Thomas 20 66 3.3 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
East Carolina I. Jones 10 106 10.6 0
Temple R. Anderson 8 126 15.8 1
Touchdowns Player TD
East Carolina C. Hairston 1
Temple J. Thomas 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
East Carolina P. Nelson 67.9 2621 16 8
Temple P. Walker 57.8 2542 18 12
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
East Carolina J. Summers 143 817 5.7 7
Temple R. Armstead 129 807 6.3 11
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
East Carolina I. Jones 151 1685 11.2 8
Temple V. Bryant 36 662 18.4 3
Touchdowns Player TD
East Carolina I. Jones 8
Temple J. Thomas 16
Quickchart Matchup
East Carolina East Carolina Off vs  Temple Temple Def
East Carolina 489.1 yards
Temple 278.2 yards
East Carolina 4.1 yards/rush
Temple 3.8 yards/rush
East Carolina 7.4 yards/attempt
Temple 5.9 yards/attempt
Temple Temple Off vs  East Carolina East Carolina Def
Temple 419.5 yards
East Carolina 455.8 yards
Temple 4.5 yards/rush
East Carolina 5.4 yards/rush
Temple 8.3 yards/attempt
East Carolina 7.9 yards/attempt