Time and Date: 7:30 PM ET, September 2
Broadcast Network: ACC Network
Location: Wallace Wade Stadium - Durham, NC
Spread: Duke -7*
Point Total: O/U 51*
ESPN FPI: Duke 75.9%
All-Time Series: This is the second meeting between the two schools. In 2018, Duke defeated Temple 56-27 in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.
*Odds/lines are subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Welcome to the Stan Drayton era, Temple fans.
After taking over the Temple job in December 2021, Drayton and the Owls will play their first game of the new era with a trip down to Durham, NC. to play the Duke Blue Devils.
Despite having a quarterback battle to start camp, Temple will have a familiar face under center with former Georgia Bulldogs signal-caller D’Wan Mathis taking the helm as QB1. Last season, the redshirt sophomore appeared in seven games, finishing with 1,223 yards and a TD-INT ratio of 6-to-4.
Overall, Temple’s offense returns six offensive players, including the aforementioned Mathis.
Alongside Mathis will be two returning wide receivers in Jose Barbon and Amad Anderson, who started 16 games in total last season.
Barbon is the team’s returning receiver from last season, finishing with 440 yards and 2 touchdowns a season ago. Anderson returns as the team’s kick returner and posted 283 yards and 2 touchdowns on 24 receptions.
Alongside those two will be Georgia Tech transfer Adonicas Sanders, who comes to Philadelphia with 834 yards on 65 catches under his belt. The three form a formidable pass attack that could prove to be a major factor for Temple as they look to get chunk plays to change the game.
Overall, Temple’s offense was not particularly explosive last season, posting just 4.4 yards per play and finishing near the bottom in offensive FEI but the pieces exist for this offense to take a significant step forward this season.
Defensively, Temple returns six starters, including both of their starters at cornerback in Cameron Ruiz and Keyshawn Paul. They headline an experienced secondary that also brings some needed experience at safety with Alex Odom and Elijah Deravil, a JUCO transfer who played eight games last season.
For Duke, the Mike Elko era in Durham starts with a familiar situation for Duke fans — a new QB1.
Sophomore quarterback Riley Leonard was named the team’s starting quarterback, making him the fifth-straight starting quarterback for a Duke opener. Leonard appeared in seven games a season ago, posting 381 yards and one touchdown.
Leonard will be supported by a wide receiver room that’s headlined by Jalon Calhoun. An All-ACC Preseason nominee, Calhoun finished last season with 718 yards and 3 touchdowns on 56 receptions.
Swiss Army Knife Jordan Moore will likely feature in Duke’s offense but how he features may vary. Last season, Moore finished with 221 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns, and in fall camp he featured at both wide receiver and quarterback. Regardless of where Moore plays, it’s likely that he’ll have a major impact as a do-it-all player.
Defensively, Duke is headlined by linebacker Shaka Heyward, who was named to the All-ACC preseason team by Phil Steele. Heyward has 9.5 sacks and 11 quarterback pressures in his career and will likely feature as one of the team’s premier pass rushers.
Overall though, Duke should feature a solid pass rush, including R.J. Oben and DeWayne Carter who combined for 9.5 sacks last season. If Duke is able to turn this pass rush into sacks, the Blue Devils could stress D’Wan Mathis and force enough to mistakes to handle Temple.
Duke certainly holds the talent advantage compared to Temple, but with both teams undergoing a bit of a rebuild, this game can go either way. While both teams return pieces, Temple returns the far more experienced quarterback in D’Wan Mathis, which I expect to play a role in the final. I think Temple will beat Duke 29-27.