No. 22 Temple Owls (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. East Carolina Pirates (4-3 SU, 4-3 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date/Time: Thursday October 22nd, 7:00PM EST
Where: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Greenville, N.C.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TEM +3/ECU -3
Over/Under Total: 53.5
The no. 22 Temple Owls will put their undefeated streak on the line this Thursday when they travel into Greenville for a date with the East Carolina Pirates. The Pirates have won 3 of their last 4 games after a bumpy 0-2 start which includes wins over Virginia Tech, SMU, and most recently Tulsa. Despite East Carolinas 4-3 SU record they are still 2-1 in conference play and a win this Thursday would put them ahead of Temple in the AAC East Division. Therefore Temples perfect 6-0 start is not only on the line but also their top spot in the division is up for grabs this Thursday.
The Owls took care of business last week with a 30-16 victory over winless UCF. The good news is that the win moved the Owls to 6-0 marking their best start since 1974. The bad news perhaps is that the competition is about to pick up starting with East Carolina this Thursday then no. 11 Notre Dame next week. Still, this Temple team is a very solid football team. The defense has been great holding opponents to just 296 total yards per game (13th in FBS). In fact it is the defenses success that has played a large role in their impressive start. The Owls have allowed just 29 points combined in the last 3 games and their defensive play will be an important factor this Thursday.
Offensively the Owls do not appear too strong on paper. Temple has gained just 349 total yards per game which is among the least productive teams in the country. Temple ranks 103rd in total offense which may be a product of their conservative offense. The Owls run the ball at a near 65% clip and put a lot of focus on running back Jahad Thomas. Thomas had his best game of the season last week with a 199 yard and 3 touchdown outing against the Knights of UCF. East Carolinas defense has not been good against the run this year as they have given up 186 yards per game on the ground. Therefore if Thomas can have another big outing, it will definitely help Temples bid to stay undefeated.
The Owls have been strong for bettors this season going 4-2 ATS and they have also been stout on the road recently winning 9 of their last 13 games ATS. East Carolina has posted an equally sound 4-2 mark ATS this season but they are just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games at home. The goal for East Carolina this week will be finding a way to keep the ball moving against Temples defense. The Pirates have been solid on offense averaging 432 yards of total offense and they will need to make the most of their opportunities this Thursday.
The Pirates have started two different quarterbacks over the last two weeks and the quarterback carousel will continue this week between Blake Kemp and James Summers. Summers made a big impact off the bench in last weeks victory over Tulsa. The East Carolina offense was kept in check during their first few drives before Summers came in and was able to get the sticks moving. Summers ended the day by hitting 11 of 16 passing 127 yards with a touchdown and a pick while also rushing for 44 yards with another touchdown on the ground.
Kemp did not perform poorly as he still hit 8 of 12 passes without any mistakes. However, Summers was just able to get things going with his dual threat ability. He may be the guy to get things going again this week against Temples tough defense as he seems to have the bigger play potential. The Pirates have several receivers led by Isaiah Jones that can match up well on the outside. Therefore East Carolina will have their chances to make things happen if they can get solid play from whomever is behind center.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Pirates have won 12 of their last 13 games SU at home and I think they are playing well enough to continue that streak this week. Take East Carolina +3!
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