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The American Athletic Conference meets the Atlantic Coast Conference as the Temple Owls grapple with the Duke Blue Devils in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The Owls went 8-4 on the year overall, including 7-1 in AAC play, while the Blue Devils went 7-5 overall this year, including 3-5 within the ACC.
Owls Crush Huskies In Regular Season Finale
The Temple Owls are rolling into this bowl game as they have won their last three games in a row and have outscored their foes 143-73 in those three games. It is the 4th year in a row that the Owls are in a bowl game, while overall they have gone 3-4 in bowl games in their history. Temple went 8-4 overall, including 7-1 within the AAC, but because they are in the same division as the undefeated Golden Knights, so they missed out on playing in their conference’s title game. Temple will not have Geoff Collins as their coach for this one and he has left for his dream job at Georgia Tech. Ed Foley will be the interim coach for this one.
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) December 11, 2018
The Connecticut Huskies are the worst team in the conference, and the Owls had no issues keeping them that way. Temple won the game by a score of 57-7 and outgained the Huskies 516-213 in the process. It was a complete beat down by the Owls on both sides of the ball. Frank Nutile saw his first action since September, and he hit nine of 12 passes for 184 yards with no TDs and one INT. He got the start because Anthony Russo was out. Russo is questionable for this one. He has thrown for 2335 yards with 13 TDs and 13 INTs on the year. The ground game had a big outing against the Huskies as the Owl ran for 298 yards and at 8.1 yards per pop. Jeremy Jennings had 60 yards on just four carries, while Jager Gardner ran for 57 yards on six carries and Ryquell Armstead ran for 56 yards on five carries. Armstead leads the team in rushing with 1098 yards, and he could have a nice game against Duke’s 116th ranked run defense. The Owls have a solid defense and will be facing a very average Duke offense.
The Owls enter this game ranked 51st in the nation in total offense (420.8 ypg), 40th in passing (255.8 ypg), 67th in rushing (165.0 ypg) and 24th in scoring, putting up 35.6 ppg. On the defensive side of the ball, they check in at 40th in yards allowed (356.7ypg), 7th against the pass, (166.3 ypg), 89th against the run (190.3 ypg) and 47th in points allowed, giving up 24.7 ppg.
Duke Has No Momentum At All
While the Temple Owls were crushing their last three opponents, the Blue Devils were getting crushed in their final two games of the regular season. Duke lost on the road to Clemson by a scored 35-6, and they followed that up with a 59-7 home loss to Wake Forest. The Blue Devils are heading into this game with no momentum at all. It will be Duke’s 6th bowl appearance in the last seven, and they will be going for their 3rd bowl win in a row. Duke is 5-8 all-time in bowl games. The Blue Devils went 7-5 overall, but they were only 3-5 in league play.
The Devils have had to endure many issues on defense, especially their secondary, but Michael Carter feels that it brought them closer together.
“In football, it’s important to be able to overcome adversity. Adversity can come in a lot of different shapes and forms and, unfortunately, it came in the form of a lot of injuries this season. As our development as a group has brought us closer, everybody has really had to practice like a starter, because you never know when your time is going to come. It just made us work harder and play harder for our brothers.”
The defense was solid for the Devils for most of the year, but it wore down in the end as they have allowed 504 ypg and 43 ppg over their last three games. Yikes. In the loss to the Demon Deacons, Duke allowed 517 yards of total offense, including 340 yards on the ground. The run defense has been a major weakness for the Blue Devils, and they could struggle against Armstead and company. Duke will be in trouble if they can’t stop the Temple ground attack. The Duke offense has scored just 13 points in their last two games, and they had 251 yards of total offense against a bad Wake Forest defense. Daniel Jones was only 17/36 for 145 yards with a TD and an INT in the loss. He has had a decent year, throwing for 2251 yards with 17 TDs and 7 INTs in the year. It will not be easy for him in this one as Temple has the 7th best pass defense in the nation. Jones will need some help from Deon Jackson, who leads the team in rushing with 806 yards, but who also has run for just 81 yards over his last two games.
December + bowl practice = Great time to be a 🔵😈 pic.twitter.com/qQorIKwbWh
— Duke Football (@DukeFOOTBALL) December 7, 2018
The Blue Devils enter this game ranked 74th in the nation in total offense (392.6 ypg), 65th in passing (229.9 ypg), 73rd in rushing (162.7 ypg) and 79th in scoring, putting up 27.2 ppg. On the defensive side of the ball, they check in at 82nd in yards allowed (419.4 ypg), 34th against the pass, (197.1 ypg), 116th against the run (222.3 ypg) and 70th in points allowed, giving up 27.4 ppg.
- 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game
- 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- 27-7 ATS in their last 34 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game
Updated on Dec 26 at 10:40pm EST
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
Temple opened at -3 and they are now at -3.5, despite the fact that the Blue Devils have gotten 62% of the bets. The sharps are clearly on the side of the Owls.
Injury / Weather Report
No Weather Issues Are Expected
Temple’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable— OL Matt Hennessy, WR Randle Jones (428 Yards, Four TDs), RB Ryquell Armstead (1098 Yards, 13 TDs).
Duke’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable— QB Daniel Jones (2251 Yards, 17 TDs, Seven INTs), LB Joe Giles-Harris (81 Tackles, Seven TFL)
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Despite the fact that Temple is playing with an interim coach, I still like them to win and cover this game. The Owls have a solid running back in Armstead and he will slice through that weak Duke run defense, which will open up throwing lanes for whoever is at QB. The Duke offense has struggled of late and they will be facing the 7th best pass defense in the nation. Duke has been outscored 94-13 in their last two games, while the Owls have outscored their last three foes 143-73. Look for a big finish by the Owls.
Prediction: Temple -3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The Duke offense has struggled in their last two games, but it should be improved for this one as they have the extras prep time and we note that Temple allowed 24.3 ppg over their last three games. The Temple offense has been unstoppable in their last three games and the Duke defense has allowed 504 ypg and 43 ppg over their last three games. The Over is 4-1 in Temple’s last 5 vs. the ACC and 20-5-3 in Duke’s last 28 games following a double-digit loss at home. 34-24 Temple sounds about right for this one.
Prediction: Over 55
Half-Time Side Pick
I like the Owls to take the whole game and it will start with a solid first half. The Owls have the better defense and they come in with momentum as they have won their last three games in a row, while the Devils have lost their last two. Look for the Owls to lead by at least seven at the break.
Prediction: Temple -2
Half-Time Total Bet
I will look for this to be a high-scoring game overall and it starts with a solid 1st half. The Owls have averaged a solid 19.6 ppg in the first half this year, while the Blue Devils have averaged 14.8 ppg in the first half. Both offenses should have a good start in this one.
Prediction: Over 27