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Suddenly, Rutgers is No. 15 in the BCS poll and undefeated at 6-0. A lot of people are doubting them as favorites at Temple, but the Scarlet Knights have shown they can win on the road against tough opponents. Most notably, they have road wins at South Florida and Arkansas. As for Temple, they are also undefeated in Big East play, but have two losses in out of conference games to Maryland and Penn State. The last time these teams played each other was back in 2004, so there isn't a ton of information to take away from their history.
The Rutgers defense will be the main talking point in this game. They are giving up just 11.5 points per contest and haven't allowed more than 15 points in their three Big East games. The Owls haven't been quite as good giving up 28 points to South Florida, but they were also able to score 37 in that game.
Temple's offense relies heavily on the running game and they pass the ball once in a while to keep defenses on their toes. Chris Coyer has only attempted 101 passes on the year and only at a 53.5% completion rate for six touchdowns and two interceptions. Coyer does most of his damage on the ground where he has 302 yards and a couple TDs. Their other threat in the rushing game is senior RB Montel Harris who has 310 yards and three TDs. The Owls only have one receiver with double-digit receptions and more than 85 yards.
The Scarlet Knights are favored because of their defense and the less than high-powered offense of Temple. A lot of the Rutgers scoring comes from defense and special teams as seen last week when they blocked a field goal for a TD (their fourth blocked kick of the year). With how non-exciting the Temple offense is, Rutgers actually scores two less points per game than them.
Offensively, the Scarlet Knights throw a little more than Temple, but not by much. Gary Nova has a solid 1,271 passing yards to go with an 11 to 2, TD to INT ratio. He also has six different receivers with double-digit receptions which shows the difference in offenses even though they score less points. WR Brandon Coleman is the top option with 382 yards and five TDs. On the ground, running back Jawan Jamison continues to get force fed even though his average hasn't been over four yards per carry in four straight games. He has 665 yards and three TDs for the season.
Rutgers has covered in four straight games, are 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games and are 8-2-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Owls are even better going 13-3 ATS in their last 16 conference games and covering in four of their last five home games. The over has hit in the last five Temple home games, but the under is 7-2 in the Scarlet Knights last nine road games.
Whether or not Rutgers deserves their high ranking, based on who they have played, we'll leave for another day. Fact is, these two teams have played very similar schedules and both have put up some pretty good numbers. For Rutgers, their defensive numbers are among the best in the nation, including their defensive yards per point number of 27.5, good enough for #2 in the land. Regardless of schedule strength, when you put up numbers like that, you're doing something right.
Temple has their work cut out for them offensively. UCONN has a pretty good defense and kept them bottled up most of the game last week. Temple tied it with just seconds remaining and then won it in OT. This week, Temple figures to have similar difficulties moving the ball. But their defense is stingy as well which has us leaning towards the Under in this game. We see no reason why this game doesn't end up with a final score very close to when both of these teams played UCONN (17-14 and 19-3). In fact, our model predicts a a 16-15 final score, Temple on top.
We'll make two selections here and put them both out as strong opinions at this point. Temple +6 and Under 41.5
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