- Only weeks removed from a season-opening loss to FBS Villanova, Temple is favored by a touchdown over Tulsa at home on Thursday night. Sitting at 1-2, can the Owls get back to .500?
Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Temple Owls (-7)
Thu. 9/20, 7:30 p.m. ET
Three things you need to know before betting on Tulsa-Temple:
1. This will be the second year in a row that these teams meet one another, and it was Temple that showed up in a big way a season ago—they racked up 451 yards of offense in a 43-22 win as a 4.5-point road favorite. The Owls also happen to be coming into this one with a bit of momentum. After a pair of disappointing losses to open up the season, Geoff Collins’s defense finally played well in a 35-14 beatdown over Maryland in College Park. The Terrapins were undefeated heading into that game, so it was something of a statement win for Temple on the road. Fortunately for Tulsa, the Owls are just 2-4 ATS when coming off of a win under Collins. Meanwhile, the Golden Hurricane are an impressive 12-3 ATS when playing as a road underdog since 2015.
2. Philip Montgomery’s team has played up and down to the competition this year, as the Golden Hurricane fared well in a road game against Texas in Week 2 but failed to cover in home games against Central Arkansas and Arkansas State—they lost outright to the Red Wolves as 1.5-point home favorites. But this game against Temple is a pivotal one, so perhaps this team will step up on Thursday. On paper, Tulsa should be able to present Temple with some serious problems. The Owls have allowed their opponent’s top running backs to rush for an average of 118.7 yards per game this season, which is interesting when considering they faced FCS Villanova and beat Maryland by 21. It would seem Temple is not built to stop the run at this point in the season, which is not a good sign heading into a game against running backs Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor II. The two of them have combined to rush for 473 yards with five touchdowns this season, and QB Luke Skipper has rushed for 109 yards and a score himself. The Golden Hurricane will look to get all of them going on the ground as quickly as they can.
3. An interesting situation could be unfolding under center for the Owls. Senior quarterback Frank Nutile is Temple’s starter, but he missed the game against Maryland with an undisclosed injury. In his absence, sophomore Anthony Russo threw for 228 yards with a touchdown. Russo didn’t light it up, exactly, but it was Temple’s only win of the season and it came against the best opponent the team has faced all year. If Nutile does end up starting, he will likely be looking over his shoulder a bit. And Tulsa’s secondary isn’t going to make things easy on anybody. The Golden Hurricane have given up just two passing touchdowns on the season, and their bend-don’t-break mentality could be just enough to frustrate this Owls offense.
Pick: Tulsa +7
Confidence Level: Moderate (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)