The #21 Central Florida Knights (7-1) travel up the east coast when they face the Temple Owls (1-8) in AAC action Saturday afternoon. The game kicks off at 12:00 pm ET from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and can be seen on ESPN3. Central Florida is currently favored by 16.5 points in this contest.
Why Central Florida Will Cover
The Knights won their fourth straight game and may have put on their best defensive performance of the season with a 19-14 win over Houston Saturday. The Cougars average better than 38 points a game but were held to a season low in the game against Central Florida. With the win, the Knights are 4-0 in AAC play and control their own destiny in regards to a conference title.
Blake Bortles has done the majority of the quarterbacking for the Knights, completing 150 of 222 throws for 2,080 yards with 15 touchdown passes and five interceptions. Storm Johnson is a solid back running the ball; he’s carried 142 times for 719 yards and nine scores while William Stanback (55 carries, 316 yards, 5 TD) is a capable backup. In the passing game, Bortles spreads the ball around; Rannell Hall leads the team with 31 receptions for 480 yards and three scores. Breshad Perriman has 27 catches for a team high 567 yards and a score while J.J. Worton (21 catches, 321 yards, 4 TD) and Jeff Godfrey (27 receptions, 244 yards, 4 TD) can be counted on when the chips are down. Johnson has caught 20 balls for 204 yards and three scores out of the backfield. Shawn Moffitt has drilled all 29 extra point attempts and 11 of 12 field goal tries so far this season.
Central Florida is 6-1 ATS in their last seven on grass, 5-1 ATS in their last six following a straight up win, 4-1 ATS in their last five following an ATS loss, 4-1 ATS in their last five road games and 7-2 ATS in their last nine overall. Temple is 3-7 ATS in their last 10 against teams with a winning record, 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games and 1-4 ATS in their last five following a bye week.
Why Temple Will Cover
Temple’s dropped two straight since their win over Army to fall to 1-8 on the year. They’re coming off a 23-20 loss to Rutgers in their most recent action two weeks ago, one week after a 59-49 loss to SMU. The offensive outburst by the Owls was a nice change of pace; they’re still 101st in the nation in scoring offense at 22.3 points a game however.
Connor Reilly was the signal caller for Temple; he’s completed 76 of 148 passes for 771 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. Freshman P.J. Walker has taken over the job and completed 80 of 128 throws for 1,094 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Clinton Granger is the backup; he’s hit on 6 of 16 passes for 58 yards and an interception. Zaire Williams leads the team in rushing with 486 yards and two touchdowns on 91 carries while Kenneth Harper has contributed 463 yards and a team high 9 scores on 102 carries. Walker has 200 yards and a score on 51 rushes while Reilly has picked up 101 yards and a score on 34 rushing attempts. Temple has seven players with at least 10 receptions on the season, led by Jalen Fitzpatrick’s 29 grabs for 358 yards and three touchdowns. Ryan Alderman has caught 28 passes for 385 yards and two scores while Robbie Anderson has 23 receptions for a team high 430 yards and two touchdowns. Temple has employed three kickers who are a combined 1 of 6 on field goal attempts and 22 of 27 on extra points.
Temple is 4-0 ATS in their last four following a straight up loss, 4-0 ATS in their last four conference games, 4-0 ATS in their last four following an ATS win and 5-0 ATS in their last five overall. Central Florida is 5-11 ATS in their last 16 following a bye week, 2-5 ATS in their last seven after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game and 1-5 ATS in their last six road games against teams with a losing home record.
While Temple has played better in recent games, they’re going against a ranked foe that has dispatched Louisville and Houston, two of the top teams in the conference. The Owls simply can’t match up favorably against the kind of production that the Knights can bring to the game. Take Central Florida as they look to break into the top 20 in next week’s rankings. Central Florida 39-17