Tulane Green Wave at Temple Owls
Location: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Time: 12 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. CDT)
Spread: Temple -15
Records: Tulane 2-2; Temple 4-0
All-Time Series: 1-1
Last Meeting: Temple 10, Tulane 3 (Dec. 6, 2014)
Temple is 4-0 for the first time since 1974.
Here's a quick history lesson for those of you who weren't alive then (Probably most of you, including me).
This was the top song of that year.
Gas was 55 cents.
"Blazing Saddles" took home the most money in the box office that year.
Richard Nixon announced his resignation August 8 and followed through on it the next day.
So it's definitely been a while.
A win Saturday over Tulane would make the Owls 5-0 for the first time since ... well, that same year.
What's allowed Temple to get off to such a clean start? It's rushing attack and its defense.
Jahad Thomas is the real deal for the Owls. Through four games, Thomas has rushed for 503 yards and six touchdowns. His best game of the season so far came in Week 2 at Cincinnati when he gashed the Bearcats for 193 yards on 23 carries.
Let's not forget about Temple quarterback P.J. Walker, who has completed 60 percent of his passes for 731 yards and five touchdowns compared to two interceptions. Walker has a trio of strong receivers at his disposal.
Walker probably wouldn't want to throw against the Owls' defense, because they've made opposing quarterbacks pull their hair out — namely Penn State's Christian Hackenberg and Cincinnati's Gunnel Kiel. Temple sacked Hackenberg 10 times and picked Kiel off four times. Those numbers pretty much make up the Owls' season totals in each category (12 and 7).
The Green Wave's confidence is growing following consecutive wins over FCS Maine and UCF.
For Tulane to keep the train rolling in the right direction, it will need its defense to play as well on Saturday as it has in the past two games.
After being shredded by Duke and Georgia Tech, the Green Wave held strong against the Black Bears and took out some frustration on the Knights. Tulane forced Tulane to punt seven times and clamped down following a game-opening touchdown in a 38-7 win. Two weeks later, the Green Wave held UCF to minus-35 rushing yards, forced five turnovers (three INTS, two fumbles) and sacked the quarterback seven times.
Tulane also found a little bit of spark for its beleaguered offense. The Green Wave put up 38 and 45 points in their past two wins, the first time it scored 35 or more points in back-to-back games since 2012.
You can attribute the offense's success to protecting quarterback Tanner Lee and opening up holes for the running game. While Lee has been sacked four times in the past two games, they've mostly been coverage sacks. Lee has been better at his decision-making, completing 31 of his 53 passes with none going to the other team. Tulane has also kept the ball on the ground a consistent amount (86 carries over that same span), which kept the opposing defense honest.
Tulane hasn't showed me enough yet to lead me to believe it can hang with better competition. Temple is a better team and should win in a rout. Temple 45, Tulane 13.