Temple College Football Preview

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Schedule and Odds

Temple made a big jump last year en route to six wins (from two in 2013) and a formidable foe in the AAC. The Owls still had some problems on the offensive end, but their defense kept them in plenty of Games. With improved quarterback play, a bowl Game should be in sights for this team, which is why their over/under is set at 7 wins (at 5 Dimes).

The Owls scored 23.1 points per Game in 2014, simply not good enough as quarterback P.J. Walker disappointed after a successful freshman season. Walker finished completing 53.3% of his passes for 13 TDs and 15 INTs. He had 20 TDs, 8 INTs and completed over 60% of his passes as a freshman. If Walker can learn from last year and bring back those numbers from the previous season, expect Temple to be a real threat in the AAC.

Walker is decent as a runner, but Temple does bring back two of its top backs from a year ago with Jahad Thomas and Jamie Gilmore. Of course, defenses pounded the Temple running Game in 2014 as they knew Walker couldn’t pass. The Owls didn’t have a rusher over 384 yards last year. To make matters worse, their top wide out is gone with John Christopher (24 receptions) and Romond Deloatch (14 receptions) expected to be Walker’s top two options. The best news for the offense is that the line returns Four starters, including center Kyle Friend. But if injuries come about, depth is really lacking in the unit.

While offense remains a question, defense does not after the Owls allowed only 17.5 points a year ago, which includedonly nine TDs passes allowed in AAC play. From that defense, Temple returns 10 starters. One thing to look at, however, is the times the defense struggled, giving up 30-plus points to Navy, Houston and UCF. The defense may have been good, but the Owls usually only blew out teams, or were blown out themselves. Only towards the end of the year were they involved in some defensive slugfests.

Temple is loaded with seniors and experience. Tyler Matakevich is the biggest name of the group and has more than 100 tackles in each of his previous three seasons. In addition to all of these guys returning, they may get the help of former UNC tackle Greg Webb. That would boost a group that already has Matt Ioannidis and Praise Martin-Oguike, who could both be first-team AAC. Temple’s secondary is also a strength. Safety is filled with a couple seniors, and while cornerback is young, they are loaded in talent with Sean Chandler and Kareem Ali.

Temple’s Schedule out of the gates will be tough, hosting Penn State and then travelling to Cincinnati. If the Owls don’t start with two straight losses, they could be looking at a solid record before hosting UCF in October. Notre Dame in the middle of the season doesn’t help but outside of Cincy, Temple doesn’t really have an over-the-top difficult road Game. Beating a team like Memphis at home towards the end of the year would go a long way to reaching a bowl Game.

Based on defense alone, Temple should contend for the East title. Getting there is a different story, as Walker will need to show more to beat teams like Cincinnati, UCF and Memphis. Seven wins is a good barometer based on the odds, but more than that may be hoping for too much due to a questionable offense.

2015 Temple Football Schedule

Sept. 5 vs. Penn State
Sept. 12 at Cincinnati
Sept. 19 at UMass
Oct. 2 at Charlotte
Oct. 10 vs. Tulane
Oct. 17 vs. UCF
Oct. 22 at East Carolina
Oct. 31 vs. Notre Dame
Nov. 6 at SMU
Nov. 14 at South Florida
Nov. 21 vs. Memphis
Nov. 28 vs. Connecticut

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