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AAC Championship Rematch: Navy Midshipmen vs. Temple Owls Preview & Prediction

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A lot has changed for both programs since their meeting in the 2016 AAC title game.

AAC Championship - Temple v Navy Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Start Time: Thursday, November 2nd, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. EST

Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

TV: ESPN

All-Time Series: Series tied, 6-6

Last Meeting: 12/3/16. Temple 34 - Navy 10

Betting Line: Navy -8.5

Temple Owls Outlook

Temple did a terrific job in limiting Army’s ground attack in their last time out, which was the nation’s second-best rushing offense entering the game. What they did not expect was the Black Knights to move down the field through the air with 1:38 remaining in the game. Army inserted their backup quarterback, Kelvin Hopkins, and he engineered a 14-play, 79-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown pass to Jermaine Adams with one second remaining. Army would win the game in overtime after Temple’s Aaron Boumerhi missed a game-tying field goal in the extra frame to extend the game.

Geoff Collins could not have asked for a better time for the bye week to come. Coming off back-to-back heartbreaking losses and uncertainty about the quarterback situation, the Owls had time to lick their wounds as they prepare for another triple option team coming to Philly. Whether it’s Logan Marchi or Frank Nutile running the offense, this is a game where the Owls should remain competitive.

This is nowhere near the same team that defeated Navy in the American Athletic Conference Championship last season. The Owls came into Annapolis last December and established their dominance from start to finish in that outing. A loss in this game would knock them out of bowl contention after consecutive seasons of postseason play for the first time in program history. However, Temple should have some confidence entering this game after playing pretty well in their last two meetings against option teams.

Navy Midshipmen Outlook

Navy is coming off a bye week of their own after losing, 31-21, to UCF two weeks ago. The Midshipmen held their own, tying the game early in the third quarter, but the Knights took control on Adrian Killins 79-yard rushing touchdown. Navy also lost Zach Abey, the conference leader in all-purpose yards, to a concussion in the same period.

While the loss at home ended a 17-game home winning streak during the regular season, playing in Philadelphia is like another home game to Navy. They are 12-0 all-time at Lincoln Financial Field, despite this matchup being the first meeting between the two teams as conference foes. The Mids are 10-0 against Army and 2-0 against Temple at the Linc. The Midshipmen defeated Temple, 30-17, at Lincoln Financial Field in 2007, and 31-24 in 2014.

Abey is expected to play after the extended time off, and will look to get revenge against an Owls defense that had its way in the last meeting. Temple limited the Mids to 168 yards on the ground, and seemed to deliver blow after blow en route to the victory.

Prediction: While these are two teams at different ends of the standings, this should be a much closer matchup than the line indicates. Temple has been on the wrong side of a lot of close games, excluding the losses to Notre Dame and USF, including the loss to Army’s triple option. The same could be said for Navy, who is coming off back-to-back losses to the conference’s top teams. This game should be decided by one score as the Owls have had plenty of time to prep for the option, and they pull off a small upset to ruin Navy’s record at The Linc.

Temple 34-Navy 30