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Temple Owls vs. East Carolina Pirates Preview and Prediction

This is a must-win for the defending AAC champs, but Pirates’ offense will make it a tough task for the Owls.

NCAA Football: East Carolina at Temple Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Start Time: Saturday, October 7th, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. EST

Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

TV: ESPNU

Streaming: WatchESPN

Radio Coverage: 97.5 The Fanatic, WHIP Radio, Pirate IMG Radio Network

All-Time Series: 7-7

Last Meeting: 11/26/16. ECU 10 - Temple 37

Betting Line: Temple -2.5

Temple Owls Outlook

The Owls are coming off back-to-back losses, but Geoff Collins has to be pleased with the performance in the second half against Houston after laying a dud in the first half and not showing up for the contest in South Florida. They nearly pulled off a second half comeback, but the Cougars defense shut the door on a pair of drives that would have tied the score. The offense finally showed some signs of life after being nonexistent against the Bulls.

The ground game triggered the offensive spark as Ryquell Armstead and David Hood led the way on Temple’s lone touchdown drive. Logan Marchi engineered two more drives that resulted in field goals to bring the Owls within striking distance, but the Houston defense forced a turnover on downs and an interception on Temple’s final two drives.

Through five games, offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude’s offense ranks 119th in the nation and last in the American Athletic Conference. Fortunately, for the Owls, ECU ranks dead last in the FBS in total defense. Temple should look to continue to pound the rock against an ECU team that has allowed 297.6 yards per game this season.

Throw out the game against USF, and the Owls have been one of the top defensive units in the country. The Bulls were the only team to score more than 21 points on Collins’ defense, and that was more of a result of the offense putting them in a tough spot with six turnovers. They’ll need the defense to continue their strong play if they wish to get back to bowl eligibility. In order for Temple to return to a bowl game for the third straight season, they need to win at least four of the next seven games.

East Carolina Pirates Outlook

Scottie Montgomery’s bunch is coming off their own embarrassing loss to USF as the Bulls trounced the Pirates, 61-31, to go 1-4 on the season. It was another solid performance from the ECU offense as they have 30-plus points in their last two outings. Quarterback Thomas Sirk has thrown for 729 yards and five touchdowns in the last two games, while adding another 118 yards and two scores on the ground. Sirk could be in for another solid performance as the Owls have had difficult defending dual-threat quarterbacks.

The defense has been the Achilles heel for the Pirates, ranking last in country. To their credit, they have faced off against some high-powered offense in West Virginia, Virginia Tech and South Florida. Temple’s offense is nowhere near the level of the aforementioned teams, but ECU also allowed UConn’s inept offense to score 38 points. They must win the turnover battle as Marchi has thrown six interceptions in his last two games.

Prediction: How the mighty have fallen as the last time these two teams met, Temple defeated the Pirates to clinch their berth in the AAC title game and ultimately won the conference championship. The matchup to watch will be the ECU offense going up against the Owls’ D, but the Pirates defense hasn’t been able to stop any one. If Temple has any hopes of making it to another bowl game this season, this is a must-win for them. Temple’s offense does just enough to get them a win, but don’t expect this game to be one with much scoring.

Temple 27 - ECU 23