Temple is ranked and undefeated a year after losing Four Games in the AAC and two years after totaling only two wins. We’ll find out soon enough if the Owls are for real or not as they host Notre Dame this weekend. The Fighting Irish are a -10 point favorite on the road at betonline.
This is the kind of thing that happens in the American Conference these days with three teams still undefeated, Houston and Memphis being the others. But don’t sell Temple short, they beat Penn State easily at home in their opener and then won at a tough Cincinnati team the next week. Things probably won’t get much harder for the Owls as their two toughest contests will be this Game and then against Memphis a couple weeks from now. It wouldn’t be surprising if they finished 10-2, but again, that’s a product of the conference.
Notre Dame looks to have recovered from a loss at Clemson a few weeks ago, something that didn’t happen last year. The Fighting Irish also had the week off so they should be extra rested for the remaining stretch. That’s good because including this Game, they have three road Games at ranked teams left on the Schedule.
These teams met two years ago and Notre Dame walked away with an easy 28-6 win, but that was also the year the Owls finished with only two wins. This is a much different team. Surprisingly this season, the Irish actually have a better record against the spread, covering five straight.
Temple’s been able to win Games via a stout defense that hasn’t allowed more than 26 points all year and hasn’t allowed more than 16 points in five of seven Games. Will that be the case against Notre Dame? It’ll be Temple’s toughest test of the year.
The Fighting Irish have scored 41 points in back-to-back Games since getting held to 22 points at Clemson, and this Temple defense probably isn’t at the same level as Clemson’s. Temple hasn’t given up more than 3.0 yards per carry in a Game this year, so that’ll be the first thing to look at.
C.J. Prosise has hit 98 yards in six of seven Games, while averaging 7.1 ypc on the season for nine touchdowns. If Temple want to have a chance, they need to stop Prosise, it’s as simple as that. If Prosise can get going, that will lead to more time for quarterback DeShone Kizer, who has looked solid for being a backup going into the year. Kizer has 13 total TDs and 4 INTs, and almost led a come back in that Clemson Game. The Owls will need to keep receiver Will Fuller in check, who has eight receiving touchdowns.
Temple will have to Scorein this Game, there’s no doubt about that, and Notre Dame’s defense can be beat. P.J. Walker has done what’s been asked of him, managing Games with a solid defense and good running Game. He has nine passing TDs on the year and only three interceptions, numbers more similar to his 2013 season, than 2014, which is a good thing. He may be asked to do more here though if running back Jahad Thomas can’t find room. Thomas has 822 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year, but has struggled against teams like Massachusetts and East Carolina.
This is a huge Game for Temple, not to mention it’ll be under the lights. Will that be enough for them to challenge Notre Dame? The Irish have covered in their last five non-Conference Games while Temple has a few trends that point to the under, which isn’t too surprising.
Our Pick – When you’re Notre Dame, you’re going to get EVERY TEAMS best effort. When that team is at home, in a nationally televised night Game, that effort is going to be even more magnified.
Will it matter though? Perhaps.
Temple has put up some nice numbers this year. In fact, their offensive yard per point number of 10.7 is #1 in the nation and their defensive number of 21 is good for 9th overall. Not too shabby.
Now, sure, we have to consider WHO each team played and Temples Schedule doesn’t come close to the strength of Notre Dames. In fact, the Irish Schedule is more than two TD’s more difficult than the Owls.
But it’s also been Our experience that when a team puts up numbers like those of Temple, even against a weaker Schedule, it’s no fluke.
With that in mind, the feeling here is that Temple is worth a shot in the 1st quarter and the 1st half of this Game. The emotion and motivation combined with a pretty talented team should make for a close couple of quarters.
Ultimately, we think the Irish talent wins out as the Game wears on. Temple + in the 1st Quarter and 1st Half