Temple seeks 11-win season in Military Bowl vs Wake Forest
No. 23 Temple (10-3, AAC) vs. Wake Forest (6-6, ACC), 3:30 p.m. EST (ESPN).
Line: Temple by 12.
Series Record: Temple leads 1-0.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Temple is looking to cap a highly successful season with its school-record 11th win. The Owls won the American Athletic Conference title under coach Matt Rhule, who left for Baylor. Temple subsequently hired Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, but interim coach Ed Foley will be on the sideline looking to bring the Owls their first bowl victory since 2011 and eighth straight win in 2016.
Wake Forest is seeking to put a positive spin on a season marred by the scandal in which broadcaster Tommy Elrod leaked or attempted to leak game plan information to at least three opponents. The Demon Deacons are also looking to pull out of a season-ending, three-game losing streak. Wake Forest has lost five of six and needs a victory to avoid its eighth straight losing season.
Temple QB Phillip Walker against Wake Forest's defense. Walker owns school records for career attempts (1,410), completions (821), touchdowns (73), yards (10,273) and wins by a starting quarterback (28). He will be going up against a Wake Forest unit that is coming off a five-sack performance against Boston College. The Demon Deacons forced 24 turnovers, tied for 10th in the nation.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Temple: RB Jahad Thomas. The senior had six straight games with at least two touchdowns and finished with 19 TDs, raising his career total to 39. He ranks third in school history with 30 rushing touchdowns and is sixth with 2,564 yards rushing.
Wake Forest: SS Jessie Bates III. The redshirt freshman picked off five passes and returned two for scores. He has 93 tackles, including team highs against Tulane (8), Indiana (8), N.C. State (15), Louisville (13) and Clemson (12). He also forced a fumble and was second-team ACC in balloting by media that cover the league.
FACTS & FIGURES
The only other time these teams met, Temple prevailed 36-0 in 1930. ... The Owls are playing bowl games in back-to-back seasons for first time. They lost to Toledo last year in the Boca Raton Bowl. ... Wake Forest is playing in a bowl game for the first time since 2011, when it lost in the Music City Bowl. ... Demon Deacons coach Dave Clawson led Bowling Green in the 2012 Military Bowl, losing to San Jose State. ... Clawson and Foley were assistant coaches together at Albany in 1989-90. ... Temple DL Haason Reddick has 21+ tackles for a loss this season, tops in the nation. ... Wake Forest opponents have scored first in 10 of 12 games. ... During their seven-game winning streak, the Owls have averaged 32.7 points and outscored opponents by an average of 20.1 points. ... Both teams lost to Army. ... Temple's last game was at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, where it beat Navy 34-10 to first win AAC title.
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