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Big East Pick
With these two teams struggling, expect a classic low-scoring Big East battle that won't be too pretty to watch. Pittsburgh is having an off and on season that leaves you wondering which team they'll put on the field for any given week. In Week 1, they lost at home to Youngstown State, a game they never had the lead in. Two weeks later they beat then-No.13 ranked Virginia Tech. They were only able to score 20 points on a 1-6 MAC school last week. As for Temple, they actually have a winning record in Big East play. Although, it should be noted that those two wins were against South Florida and Connecticut, both 0-3 in the conference.
In six games this season, Temple quarterback Chris Coyer only has 727 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. Of course, they aren't a passing team, but 120 passing yards per game isn't going to cut it in most games. Coyer has run the ball just 28 times less (87) than he's attempted a pass (115) and he only averages 3.8 yards per carry. Lead running back Montel Harris has one more carry at 88 and he averages 4.4 YPC. Harris has three touchdowns this season. As a team, the Owls average 3.9 YPC and 6.3 yards per pass attempt. In case you were wondering, Temple has had some good days, scoring 37 points vs. South Florida and 27 against Maryland.
Against offenses like this, Pittsburgh has been decent defensively. They went to Syracuse and lost, but it was only 14-13. However, they gave up 45 points two weeks ago at home against Louisville. On offense, they score as much as Temple, but can move the ball a little better.
Senior QB Tino Sunseri is having a better season statistically than his previous two, but it's nothing that jumps off the page. He's completing close to 69 percent of his passes for 1,878 yards, 10 TDs and two interceptions. Wide receivers Mike Shanahan and Devin Street do most of the damage for Sunseri. The two have a combined for 1,119 yards and six TDs. That's a pretty big portion for only two WRs. Ray Graham and Rushel Shell are workhorses out of the backfield. They have combined for 190 carries, 875 yards and eight TDs on the season. It wouldn't be surprising for them to get 35 carries together against Temple.
The last time these two schools played was back in 2004 so there's not much to look at history wise. Temple is 13-3 ATS in their last 16 conference games, but most of those games weren't played in the Big East so take it with a grain of salt. They are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 road games, though. The Panthers are 3-1-1 in their last five games overall. The over is 8-2 in the Owls last 10 road games, but the under is 7-3 in Pittsburgh's last 10 games.
Last week Temple had trouble moving the ball against a Rutgers defense that's proving to be one of the best out there. This week, Temple should have a little more success. The numbers indicate these two teams not much different in terms of strength. Our model predicts a 1 point Pitt win, so we'll grab the touchdown with the Owls in a game they should be in all the way. Temple +7
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