Temple vs Wake Forest
When: 3:30 PM ET, Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Where: Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland
MILITARY BOWL PRESENTED BY NORTHRUP GRUMAN STORYLINES
1. Interim coach Ed Foley leads American Athletic Conference champion Temple into action in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 against Wake Forest at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. Foley took over after Rhule left to become coach at Baylor following the Owls’ 34-10 victory over Navy in the AAC championship game Dec. 3. Foley has been with Temple since 2008 and served in several capacities, including special teams and tight ends coach this season.
2. Under Rhule’s guidance, the Owls won 20 out of their last 27 games including the last seven, and take on a Wake Forest team that has lost six of its last eight games under coach Dave Clawson. The Owls are led by a pair of dynamic seniors from Elizabeth, N.J., in quarterback Phillip Walker and running back Jahad Thomas, who helped orchestrate a remarkable turnaround from 2-10 in 2013 to 10-3 this season. Walker has thrown for more than 10,000 yards and 72 touchdowns as a four-year starter while Thomas is poised for his second straight 1,000-yard season, needing 82 yards against Wake Forest to reach the milestone.
3. Wake Forest opened the season with four straight wins and was 5-1 after a victory over Syracuse, but faltered when matched up with some of the ACC’s best. The Demon Deacons will likely need to put forth one of their best defensive efforts of the season to win this game as they lack the offensive firepower to match the Owls, who have close to a two touchdown advantage in points scored per game. Clawson’s team will run the ball with the likes of quarterback John Wolford and running backs Matt Colburn and Cade Carney while picking their spots in the passing game, which has yielded seven touchdowns this season.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Temple -13
ABOUT TEMPLE (10-3, 7-1 American Athletic Conference): After struggling a bit on defense during the middle of the season, the Owls were solid over the season’s final month, limiting five opponents to a total of 33 points. Two more seniors from New Jersey – Haason Reddick and Praise Martin-Oguike – have been disruptive along the defensive line, totaling 31.5 tackles for loss, 17 sacks and six forced fumbles. Stephaun Marshall and Delvon Randall are the top tacklers for a unit that has surrendered only one rushing and three passing touchdowns over the past five games.
ABOUT WAKE FOREST (6-6, 3-5 ACC): The Demon Deacons have several difference-makers on defense in junior lineman Duke Ejiofor, senior linebacker Marquel Lee and freshman safety Jessie Bates III. Ejiofor and Lee combined for 34 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks while Bates is second on the team in tackles to Lee and first in interceptions. Bates, who led all FBS freshmen in interceptions, interception return yards and interceptions returned for touchdowns, was named to the USA Today Freshman All-America Team.