Date: Thursday, December 27, 2018
Kickoff Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
Location: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, Louisiana
All-Time Series: First ever meeting
Betting Lines: Temple -3.5, O/U 54
Duke Blue Devils Outlook (7-5, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference)
Duke is a difficult team to figure out. They started the season 5-1 with convincing wins over Army, Northwestern, Baylor and Georgia Tech. They also picked up back-to-back wins over Miami and UNC in Mid-November. That’s five wins against teams that are bowling this postseason.
And then, there were the last two weeks of the season. The Blue Devils were pummeled by Clemson and Wake Forest by a combined score of 94-13 in the last two games. Clemson has been waxing opponents for much of the season as they’ve been one of the best teams in the country. But that’s not the outcome you expect against Wake Forest.
Daniel Jones leads the Duke offense, and this could be the final game in a Blue Devils uniform for the redshirt junior as questions about the NFL Draft are looming. Deon Jackson is the lead back and will be counted on against a Temple defense that is strong against the pass, but can be vulnerable in the ground game.
Temple Owls Outlook (8-4, 7-1 American Athletic Conference)
After an 0-2 start, the Owls finished the season winning eight of their last 10 games, with the lone conference loss coming to UCF. The success led Geoff Collins to become the latest Temple head coach to leave for a Power Five job, and the Owls welcomed Manny Diaz as their new leader just days ahead of the early signing period.
Ed Foley will coach the Owls in the bowl game and he’s a beloved coach in the program. The players will be motivated to play for Foley as he was in the running to become the full-time head coach before Temple decided to go with Diaz instead.
Senior running back Ryquell Armstead will continue to be the focal point of the Owls offense as they look to limit the amount of mistakes Anthony Russo. Russo, who sat out the regular season finale with a hand injury, had 13 interceptions along with 13 touchdown passes.
The Owls defense finished 24th in S&P+ and allowed 24 points per game, which ranked 47th in the country. They were particularly stingy in pass defense, holding opponents to 166.3 yards per game, which ranked seventh best in the nation.
It’s hard to believe that two of the top five programs in college basketball wins are meeting for the first time on the gridiron. The Blue Devils struggled to the finish line, while Temple seemed to find their groove the latter part of the season. Even with a coaching change, the opportunity to knock off a Power Five opponent will have Temple fired up. Ed Foley didn’t get the win as the interim coach in the 2016 Military Bowl, but should get it done in his second stint.
Temple 31 - Duke 24