Temple is no longer in the discussion to win the AAC, that much is certain. The same goes for USF, but that was known long ago. The Owls opened as -2 point road favorites for Thursday night’s game.
The home team has won the last five meetings between these schools, but Temple has a chance to upend that trend this year. The Owls controlled this matchup by their defense last season and will hope to get back to their roots in this one. They weren’t great offensively in that win, but managed to score 27 points in the second half and won 27-17.
This meeting will likely have less defense because neither team has been doing much on that end. USF is allowing 28.4 points per game and an ugly 199.1 rushing yards, which is 13 more yards than through the air. Temple isn’t the best at running the ball, but it should be possible between Re’Mahn Davis and Jager Gardner.
Both are averaging at least four yards per carry with Davis at 4.9. If that works, the Owls may not ask quarterback Anthony Russo to do anything because he’s had a turnover issue in recent games. He’s averaging a sub par 6.8 yards per attempt with eight touchdowns and six interceptions in the last five games.
Those numbers would be a recipe for a USF win, but maybe not this season. The Bulls have been all over the place, mostly because their schedule is either against above average or below average teams.
They beat BYU, but also lost at Georgia Tech and more recently were blown out at Navy. Unfortunately for bettors, Temple’s defense has been similarly inconsistent. It’s had some nice outings, but how much should be put into the 108 points allowed in the last two games to good offenses?
They’re allowing yards through the air and ground so USF has a couple ways to win this game.
The problem is that USF doesn’t have much of a passing game with Jordan McCloud, who is averaging 6.3 yards per pass attempt for 10 touchdowns and six picks. He’s been fine as a freshman, but this offense hasn’t done much against above average defenses.
The bonus is that he’s mobile and he’s added an element to the offense with his 4.1 yards per carry. That’s a boost in addition to Jordan Cronkrite, who has gone for at least 129 yards in three of the last four games.
Temple is allowing 167.5 rushing yards per contest, so there’s reason to believe Cronkrite and McCloud could have success running the ball.
The spread is close because when two mediocre AAC teams play each other, no one knows what to expect. The Bulls get the advantage playing at home and under the lights, but the Owls have that win against Memphis on their schedule and can’t get overlooked.
Temple has failed to cover its last four road games, but is 5-1 ATS in its last six following a double-digit loss at home. USF is 1-5 ATS in its last six following a straight-up win. The home team and underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these schools.
Our Pick – South Florida +2.5