Temple Owls vs. East Carolina Pirates Pick 10/3/19
Temple Owls (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. East Carolina Pirates (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS)
College Football Week 6
Date and Time: Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 8PM EDT
Where: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, North Carolina
Point Spread: TEM -12/ECU +12
Over/Under Total: 48
The Temple Owls come to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville for an AAC showdown with the East Carolina Pirates on Thursday. Each team enters this game with a little momentum, both winning last week and covering the spread. East Carolina is at home, following a nice road win over Old Dominion, 24-21, their second win in a row. Temple, however, was dominant in a 24-2 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. Who can get the upper hand in this one?
Temple a Hard Team to Read
Erratic results at this level are certainly not anything unique. Teams will be all over the place in relation to the point spread from week to week. Temple has followed suit, beating ranked Maryland as underdogs before losing in stunning fashion to Buffalo by 16 when they were two-touchdown favorites. As 9.5-point favorites on Saturday, they beat the Yellow Jackets fairly convincingly, but they’re a young team still working some things out. They have an aerially-inclined offense that can do damage, while they’ve been pretty stiff on defense in that same area. There have been some slip-ups, as they were battered in their only other road game, but they have the right to improve.
The Owls Back on the Road
At home, the Owls have looked pretty good, beating Bucknell, the Terrapins, and Georgia Tech. The way they underperformed so drastically against Buffalo makes one wonder if Temple has a home/away form variance that exceeds that of the regular team. It’s a bit of a difficult road-trip, going from PA to NC against an ECU squad that appears to have a little life in their legs right now, fresh off the mild upset win over Old Dominion on the road.
Looking for an Offense to Deliver
The Pirates’ offense goes through quarterback Holton Ahlers, a second-year starter. The sophomore has already thrown more picks than he did all of last season, as his accuracy has suffered some this season. On Saturday, they survived an off-key day from Ahlers, as he threw two picks on just 8-for-21 passing against Old Dominion. Receiver Blake Proehl, son of Ricky, had 100 yards and a TD, with Deondre Farrier also having a big day. Tight end Anthony Watley caught a TD pass. But running the rock is what they do best, and with Demetrius Mauney, Trace Christian, and Ahlers springing loose on some runs from the QB position. There is a lot of talent on this side of the ball. Still, other than a 49-point output against Gardner Webb, they have scored just 59 combined points in their four other games. Against a Temple defense that has allowed just over 17 points a game on average, can the ECU offense deliver at home?
Temple QB Anthony Russo is also a second-year starter and like his counterpart, has been a bit errant this season, with six interceptions. But before playing Georgia Tech last week, he was airing it out pretty well, throwing 10 TDs through his first 3 games on 939 yards passing. Granted, the passing defense of Georgia Tech surpasses what ECU brings to the table, but Temple will look to get their air-attack going again this week, with leading receiver Jadan Blue, along with Brenden Mack and Isaiah Wright, who is also a dangerous return man. What they lacked on the ground, they made up for with the work of freshman back Re’Mahn Davis, who looks to be a developing star in this offense. His 135 yards and a TD on Saturday were significant for the Owls. Jager Gardner, somehow still a sophomore in his fifth season with the team, serves as a nice complimentary piece at running back.
Matchup Issues Which Loom
The East Carolina offense is struggling to gain a foothold. Even though they’re at home and facing a road Temple defense that might have some minor issues stopping the run, they have a lot to prove on this side of the ball. They are persistent with the run game more than they’re really all that spectacular. It’s not the most vertical ground-game in the conference. Temple can be run on, and the Pirates look to make noise in this area, but it’s going to be a grind. Temple hasn’t played the most aerial offenses so far this season, but it’s been very hard for opposing offenses to pick up big chunks through the air against the Owls. At the end of the day, when looking to cover spreads in these spots, you want to see some spark on offense. ECU isn’t going to bowl anyone respectable over on offense, at least not from what we’ve seen.
Still, East Carolina has a certain steadfastness that could resonate at home in a competitive conference setting. They can play some defense and run the ball, manufacturing success with resolve and persistence. Temple has some rising backs, but there is no guarantee they’ll thrive here. Temple has shown the ability to air it out this season, but some of the secondary units they’ve faced haven’t been very stiff. They faced a tough unit last week and might be doing that again this week. The Pirates field a pretty tough secondary and one that makes plays.
Take the Owls on the Road
The Pirates are in a decent spot to make a mark in the conference. They’re the kind of team that’s going to be in some close games. They’re not going to blow out a team in this spot, but aren’t likely to see the same happen to them. I just see Temple as being a superior force on both sides of the ball. If they can keep mistakes to a minimum, I see them getting the cover on the road this week. I’ll take the Owls.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Temple Owls minus 12 points.
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