UMass Minutemen (0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS, 2-1 O/U) at Temple Owls (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS, 1-1 O/U)
When and Where: Friday, Sept. 15, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa., 7pmET
Line: Temple -15
The UMass Minutemen have started the season at 0-3, having lost at Coastal Carolina (38-28), at home to Hawaii (38-35) and to Old Dominion (17-7) last week. They’ll face a Temple team that lost to Notre Dame (49-16) in their opener and barely edged FCS Villanova 16-13. These teams played each other in 2015, with the Owls getting the win, 25-23.
The UMass offense was offensive
The UMass Minutemen were shut out in the first half and scored just one touchdown in their loss at Old Dominion last week. UMass was able to move the ball, producing 20 first downs and 253 yards in the air. They did not turn the ball over but their only offensive highlight took place early in the third quarter when Andrew Ford hit Andy Isabella for a 60-yard touchdown pass. Star tight end Adam Breneman was also limited due to a lower-body injury he suffered against Coastal Carolina in the previous game. He leads the Minutemen with 21 catches for 323 yards. Last year, the 6-5, 255-pound NFL prospect caught 70 passes for 808 yards and eight TDs.
The good news is the defense played their best game of the season. Nose tackle Ali-Musa led the way with 15 tackles for UMass. Overall, they are allowing 423.3 yards per game, including 210 on the ground. Against ODU, they gave up 197 on the ground, but that was on 48 carries (4.1ypc).
Owls need late FG to beat ‘Nova
Villanova has one of the nation’s premier basketball programs, but their football team is in the CAA, which is an FCS conference. After Temple took a 13-0 lead in the third quarter, Villanova crept back with 13 straight points, before falling on an Aaron Boumerhi 49-yard field goal with a minute left in the game. The Wildcats have to feel good about competing against a pretty good AAC program, while the Owls can’t be happy with beating an FCS team in the last minute. New coach Geoff Collins is replacing Matt Rhule, who took off to Baylor. The Owls were crushed by Notre Dame by 33 points in their opener and allowed the Wildcats to pass for 382 yards. The Temple offense amassed 353 yards, but just 79 on the ground on 27 carries (2.9ypc). The good news is that sophomore quarterback Logan Marchi threw for 274 yards and now has 519 yards on the season, with two TDs and no picks.
Collins has to be concerned about the running game, which is averaging just 82 yards per game. Their normally-reliable defense has been brutal thus far. They are allowing 504 yards per game and 221 yards on the ground.
I’m going against the grain here with no positive trends for UMass or negative trends for Temple. The Owls can’t run the ball and can’t stop the run. UMass should have a healthier Breneman and after playing three games, they should be a little sharper. Taking the points on Friday.