Date: Saturday, November 16, 2019
Time: 12:00 p.m ET, 11:00 a.m. CT
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Records: Tulane 6-3 (3-2 AAC), Temple 6-3 (3-2)
Betting Line: Tulane -6; O/U 54.5
All-Time Series: Temple leads, 3-1-0
Last Meeting: Temple 31 - Tulane 0 (November 19, 2016)
Tulane Green Wave Outlook
We’ve been saying it for a while now: Tulane will go as far as Justin McMillan can take them. In five of the team’s six wins, McMillan has a completion percentage of at least 70 percent. In their three losses, that number is significantly lower. The formula makes it pretty clear; McMillan will need to be on his game against Temple if the Greenies are to have a chance. The Wave’s signal caller has thrown for 1,703 yards this year and 13 touchdowns this season, and has a plethora of talented receivers to thank for that success.
Darnell Mooney is leading the way for Green Wave pass catchers with 536 yards and five scores on 31 receptions. But it’s been Jalen McCleskey, the Oklahoma State transfer, that has come in and stolen the show on the outside this fall. You may remember him as the hero of the game against Houston back in September with that last second touchdown catch-and-run. McCleskey is averaging 13 yards per catch and has two touchdowns to his name. This duo will be looking to give Temple defensive backs Harrison Hand and Christian Braswell headaches on Saturday, but that may be a tall task. Hand and Braswell have combined for four picks and 11 knocked away passes.
Tulane’s ground game will be just as vital, if not more so, than the aerial attack though. The Wave finally got both their studs in Corey Dauphine and Darius Bradwell back from injury last week and that’s a godsend for this club. The speedy Dauphine is responsible for 455 yards and four touchdowns, while Bradwell is right behind him with 347 yards and a score. Tulane lost two consecutive games with them out and then won once they were both back. That’s no coincidence.
Let’s flip it to the defensive side now. Owls quarterback Anthony Russo is tearing it up this year with over 2,000 passing yards and 16 touchdowns. That means that Tulane’s secondary will have their hands full. Safety P.J. Hall and Larry Brooks along with cornerback Chase Kuerschen will need to be on their A game. Hall and Brooks have each intercepted two passes this season, while Kuerschen leads the team with 47 total tackles.
In the middle, linebackers Lawrence Graham and Marvin Moody will also have an important job thwarting a Temple ground game that is averaging 140.4 yards per contest. Moody and Graham have a combined 79 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss between them.
Up front, guys like defensive end Patrick Johnson will need to win at the line of scrimmage. Johnson has seven tackles for loss this season and three sacks. He along with Cameron Sample (4.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks) will be the players to watch in the trenches.
Temple Owls Outlook
Rod Carey and the Owls got back into the win column with a dominant defensive performance against USF in Week 11 after getting blown out at the hands of SMU and UCF the previous two weeks. Temple racked up nine sacks, including 3.5 from Quincy Roche, with the victory that made them bowl eligible for a sixth consecutive season.
Running back Jager Gardner ran for 133 yards on 25 carries, both career highs, in the win at USF. The redshirt senior has 538 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the season. Gardner handled the majority of the rushing duties with true freshman Re’Mahn Davis sitting out the game with an injury. Coach Carey expects Davis to be back this week, who leads Temple with 655 rushing yards.
Wide receiver Jadan Blue is also coming off a career game of his own with his 11 receptions against the Bulls. Blue leads the Owls in receptions and receiving yards, and Temple has two more pass catchers in Brendan Mack and Isaiah Wright that each have over 40 catches and five touchdowns each. Russo also has tight end Kenny Yeboah, who caught his second touchdown pass last week, at his disposal in the passing game.
Roche moved into the team lead for sacks with last week’s effort, but he is not alone when it comes to the Temple pass rush. Fellow defensive ends Dana Levine and Zack Mesday have combined for nine sacks, and defensive tackle Ifeanyi Maijeh has been a force in the middle with six sacks of his own.
The Owls strength is in the middle of their defense with a linebacker corps that many around the country envy. Shaun Bradley anchors the group, leading the team in total tackles with 58. He is joined by fellow seniors Chapelle Russell and Sam Franklin, who had the scoop-and-score a week ago. They will be key in slowing down Tulane’s potent ground attack.
The Temple secondary is hopeful that safety Benny Walls will be able to return to the lineup after missing the last four games with an injury. The aforementioned cornerbacks have played well for most of the season, but the Owls are a much better defensive unit with Walls on the field.
Fun fact: these two teams met in the first ever Sugar Bowl in 1935. Temple will be wearing throwback jerseys to commemorate the game as a part of the 150 Years of College Football Celebration.
Jared’s Prediction: So begins Tulane’s gauntlet that wraps up their 2019 campaign. This Temple trip comes before a home date with UCF and a road finale at SMU so I really believe Tulane understands the importance of a win here this weekend. Willie Fritz will have them ready and they’ll come out of the gates playing inspired ball. The Owls will hang around and give them a good fight, but in the end I’ll take the Greenies.
Tulane 31 - Temple 24
Joe’s Prediction: This game has huge implications in the AAC. Tulane needs a lot of help, but are not eliminated from winning the AAC West. Temple knows that a loss and a Cincinnati win ends the race for the East division. This has become an all-too-familiar spot this season in which Temple is a home underdog. They were ‘dogs against Maryland and Memphis, two ranked teams, and won both games outright. They do it again this week to keep their hopes of a conference championship appearance alive.
Temple 33 - Tulane 28