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Sep 15, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls head coach Charlie Strong looks on in the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second half at Raymond James Stadium.

USF-Temple: A Battle Between Two Former UF Coaches

Thursday night’s game between the (3-0) No. 21 South Florida Bulls and (2-1) Temple Owls has many storylines.

None more worth noteworthy than the similarities between Temple head coach Geoff Collins and USF head coach Charlie Strong. Yes, they are both in the midst of their first season at their new schools. However, not many people know that they both did their due diligence at the University of Florida before landing head coaching jobs.

Sep 9, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls head coach Geoff Collins reacts during the fourth quarter against the Villanova Wildcats at Lincoln Financial Field. The Temple Owls won 16-13.

The most recent being Geoff Collins who spent two years at UF from 2015-2016. In his two years at Florida, the Gators had a top ten defense. Collins accepted the Temple job last December before Florida’s bowl game in which they entered ranked 6th in the nation defensively.

Charlie Strong spent 14 years at Florida, coaching in many different roles. Strong joined the Gators staff in 1983 as a graduate assistant before later returning to Florida as a linebackers coach in 1988. From 1988 to 2009, Strong spent 13 years on staff at Florida, returning to the school after brief stints with South Carolina and Notre Dame. Strong served as an interim head coach for the Gators in 2004 in the Peach Bowl after former head coach Ron Zook was fired. Strong eventually left Florida for a head coaching job at Louisville where he won two Big East Conference championships.

Major conference implications

Last year’s game had major implications for the two teams in the American Conference and this year should be no different.

Last season Temple beat South Florida at home, preventing the Bulls from appearing in their first ever conference championship. This year the Owls will be traveling to Tampa as a two touchdown underdog.

Bulls starting to gain momentum

After having some struggles to begin the season, USF finally did what many experts expected all offseason–Dominate offensively. South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers was explosive in their last game against Illinois, throwing for 300 yards and three touchdowns. Flowers also had 100 yards rushing, reminding teams he can also hurt you with his legs.

Temple looks to be USF’s most difficult opponent standing between them and an undefeated season.

Owls struggling defensively

If Temple wants to stay competitive in their game on Thursday night they need to improve against the run. In their only lost against Notre Dame, Temple allowed three different players to rush for over 100 yards. USF has a three-headed monster in the backfield that includes Darius Tice, D’Ernest Johnson, and of course, Quinton Flowers.

The Owls will need a big game from running back Ryquell Armstead, who accumulated 210 yards in last year’s win over the Bulls. Leading the Temple offense will be quarterback Logan Marchi. The sophomore QB has thrown for 767 yards and five touchdowns in three games this season. In their last win against UMass, Marchi threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns.

The next chapter between the Owls and Bulls will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.

About Danny Villanueva

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