For the Temple Owls, this weekend’s trip to Louisville is likely to provide yet another tough test.
The Owls had been the biggest surprise of the Big East until being routed the last two weeks against Rutgers and Pittsburgh. Things won’t get easier Saturday.
Temple (3-4, 2-2 Big East) is huge underdog against 12th-ranked Louisville (8-0, 3-0) at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
“We got a tremendous challenge,” Owls coach Steve Addazio said Monday. “But, you know, as I told our team yesterday, ‘You wouldn’t want it any other way.’
“The best thing we can do is get on the road, go play Louisville, go play against all odds, and let’s just lay it all on the line. And that’s what we are going to do.”
The Cardinals boast one of the conference’s best players in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Running back Senorise Perry and wideouts DeVante Parker and Damian Copeland are also among the league’s elite players at their positions. And free safety Calvin Pryor and middle linebacker Preston Brown are regarded as two of the league’s best defensive players.
Bridgewater (offensive) and Brown (defensive) garnered conference player-of-the-week honors while leading the Cardinals to Friday’s 34-31 overtime victory over Cincinnati.
The sophomore quarterback for a career-high 416 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns to Parker as the Cardinals remain undefeated through eight games for the first time since 2006.
For the season, Bridgewater has completed 70.7 percent (162 of 229) of his passes for 2,110 yards with 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Brown, on the other side, has 58 tackles and ranks 10th in the conference with an average of 7.2 tackles per game.
The junior from Cincinnati nearly doubled that average on Friday against his hometown team. Brown finished with a game-high 13 tackles and an interception in Louisville’s fourth consecutive come-from-behind win.
Pryor, a sophomore, has a team-leading 61 tackles to rank sixth in the conference with an average of 7.6 per game.
Perry has a conference-best 11 touchdowns, all rushing. He also has the third-most running yards (624) and ranks fourth in average all-purpose yards (114.4).
Copeland has a team-leading 28 receptions for 358 yards and a touchdown. His average of 3 1/2 receptions a game ranks ninth in the conference. Parker has 20 grabs for 457 yards and four scores. The sophomore’s average of 57.1 receiving yards is sixth in the Big East.
“We are going to go out there and do our absolute very, very best that we can play,” Addazio said. “And sometimes that’s the best thing that you can have. It’s a great challenge, because it gives you an opportunity for a big result.”