A Cincinnati win would be their first against Temple since 2014. Bearcats won the first three AAC meetings, winning 34-10 in the first game in 2012, 38-20 in 2013, and 14-6 in 2014. Since, Temple has won the last four games.
Prior to AAC games in 2012, these schools met 14 times with Cincinnati winning just 4 times.
Last year’s game was weird
Cincinnati came in to the game 6-0, ranked #20. Temple was 4-3, after losing OOC games to Villanova and Buffalo, but they were 3-0 in AAC play at the time.
One of the biggest topics of discussion for Cincinnati fans this year have been the struggles of QB Desmond Ridder. In last year’s game, Ridder completed just 14 of 33 passes and threw 1 interception. All of the Bearcats offense came from the running game as Michael Warren II and Charles McClelland combined for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Temple QB Anthony Russo overcame 3 interceptions (2 in the fourth quarter) and threw 3 touchdowns, including the game winning 25 yard TD pass to WR Isaiah Wright on 3rd and 10 in overtime.
This game is best known for the missed kick due to TV. Cincinnati attempted a field goal before TV was back from timeout. The kick was good, however the refs waved it off because TV wasn’t ready and no one saw it (even though literally everyone saw it). Naturally, the re-kick was missed. Kicker Cole Smith missed 3 field goals in total in this game.
Bowl Ineligibility in 2017
2017 was a rough year all around for Cincinnati. In Luke Fickell’s first year as head coach, the Bearcats went 4-8. Coming into this game, they were 3-6 and this home loss on a Friday night on ESPN, officially ended their long-shot bowl hopes.
First half was awful for Cincinnati. They trailed 13-0 and the possessions went like this - punt, punt, fumble, punt, punt, missed field goal.
They did open the second half with a touchdown, an impressive 9 play drive that ended with QB Hayden Moore throwing a 29 yard touchdown pass to WR Thomas Geddis. This inspired some faint hope, with the score just 13-7.
The teams would swap touchdowns on their next possessions, respectively, and the score increased to 20-14. Still down by just one possession, WR Isaiah Wright (the hero in 2018 too), returned the kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. After the two point conversion it was 28-14, and Temple was able to hang on and win 35-24.
186 pathetic yards of offense in 2016
2017 wasn’t a pretty season, but 2016, the final year of [redacted] was one of the worst in school history. They came into the Temple game 4-3, but this loss was the beginning of a major downward spiral as the Bearcats ended the season losing 5 straight games to finish 4-8 which would result in the head coach being fired (YAY).
Temple’s best team ever starts hot in 2015
“Best team ever” might be a stretch, but this team finished the regular season 10-2 and lost the AAC Championship game to Houston. It was their first 10 win season since 1979 and just the second 10 win season in school history. It was also their first winning record since 2011. Owls opened the year with a win over in-state rival Penn State, before beating Cincinnati in week 2.
Temple opened the year 7-0 and found themselves ranked 21st and actually hosted ESPN’s College Gameday for a game against Notre Dame (Irish won 24-20).
It was 10-6 Temple at halftime, before an outburst of points in the third quarter as the Owls scored three touchdowns. The scoring began with the opening kick of the second half and Jahad Thomas returned it 100 yards for the score. On the Owls next offensive possession, Thomas ran 56 yards on the second play for another touchdown. WR Robby Anderson scored the last TD for Temple.
The score was only as close as it was because of two Cincinnati touchdowns in the fourth quarter. QB Gunner Kiel threw the ball 52 times, passing for 427 yards, 2 TD, and 4 INT.