Notre Dame Fighting Irish Vs. Temple Owls: 8/31/13
Temple Owls (4-7) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-1)
College Football: Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 3:30 pm (Notre Dame Stadium)
The Line: Notre Dame Fighting Irish -24.5 --- Over/Under: 47 See the Latest Odds
The Temple Owls hope their transition to the AAC goes smoother than their transition to the Big East. Things will not be easy out of the gate, as the Owls travel to South Bend to face the 14th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish Saturday at 3:30 PM.
The Owls usher in the Matt Rhule era after Steve Addazio left for Boston College. Under Rhule, expect the Owls to become more creative on offense with a style geared towards the passing attack. All eyes will be on Connor Reilly as he has been named the starter at quarterback. Last year’s starter, Chris Coyer, quickly fell out of favor and was converted to a tailback. The Owls often struggled mightily through the air with Coyer under center and that is expected to change with Reilly. Reilly is a strong passer and will be aided by the return of talented return man and wide receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick had 363 yards and two touchdowns last season but was limited by the style that Addazio was running. With a pass happy system in place, expect his numbers to at least double. Coyer should be a solid running back for Temple as he rushed for nearly 500 yards last season at the QB slot, but don’t expect him to seamlessly replace Montel Harris, who was an elite talent and a difference maker at the position.
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Notre Dame enters 2013 after suffering a lopsided loss to Alabama in last year’s national title game. To make things even more complicated, the Irish graduated linebacker Manti Te’O and lost quarterback Everett Golson to academic issues. In losing those two key contributors, the Irish fell out of what would have been a top 10 ranking but return plenty of talent that could make a BCS bowl push if the stars align. At quarterback, the Irish will feature Tommy Rees -- Rees has won his fair share of games for the Irish since 2010 and his being in Brian Kelly’s system should help the offense keep it moving this year. Rees is a fairly accurate passer, but does not feature the same playmaking ability that Golson does. All eyes will be on the running back battle as the Irish will look to replace Cierre Wood. A likely candidate to secure the spot is newcomer is Greg Bryant -- Bryant ranked 2nd in the country at the running back position and his talent should be hard to keep off the field. On D, the Irish return 8 starters from a unit that ranked 2nd nationally in points allowed.
Some trends to consider -- Temple is 1-5 against the spread in their last 6 games overall and Notre Dame is 1-4 agianst the spread in their last 5 games.
Matt Rhule inherits a pretty solid lineup and was able to keep some of Addazio’s guys on board so I wouldn't expect it to take too long for him to have Temple return to the form it was showing a few years back. With that said, a road trip to South Bend to face one of the best defenses in the country and an angry team out to make a statement after an embarrassing showing on college football’s biggest stage will be too much to overcome. I like the Owls to keep it close and the Irish to pull away at the end, but I don't see them getting the cover. Notre Dame by 17-21.