Temple-Rutgers: Only the weather is certain

Temple fans will be standing in Sections 118 and 119

Over the last few days, the betting line for the Temple at Rutgers opener has fluctuated between 14.5 points four days ago and 12.5 this morning.

Tomorrow, it could be 13.5 and Rutgers will probably remain favored until the opening kickoff.

Still, if anyone tells you they know what’s going to happen, they are just fooling themselves.

No Temple game in my recent memory is more unpredictable than this one. The Owls have a five-star quarterback under center, D’Wan Mathis, who first committed to Michigan State, then Ohio State and then Georgia.

He started the opener last year for the Bulldogs and played more like a two-star.

If he plays like the guy recruited by MSU, OSU and Georgia, Rutgers could be in trouble. Those staffs are paid millions for evaluating big-time talent and they all loved him.

If he plays like he did in last year’s opener, Temple could be in trouble.

Ironically, the weather is the only thing seemingly certain for Thursday night (6 p.m. kickoff, Big 10 Network).

It could get between moderately wet and really wet between 6-10 p.m. in Piscataway. The middle of that spaghetti plot on the left has whatever is left of Hurricane Ida pretty much over New Jersey between 7 a.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday. The midpoint of those two times roughly corresponds with the three-plus hours the Owls and the Scarlet Knights will be battling.

Best way to get to Piscataway from Philly is to take SEPTA Regional Rail to the Trenton Transit Center and, from there, it’s only a 39-minute ride to the New Brunswick Station (the 1:24 estimate includes leaving Temple U.). RU offers buses right outside NBS to the game starting 3 hours before kickoff.

If Temple running backs’ coach Gabe Infante is as good as we think he is (and we think he’s a gem), the emphasis the next couple days of practice will be for his group to hold the ball high and tight.

We already know defensive coordinator Jeff Knowles placed Priority No. 1 on getting turnovers because he said so four weeks ago. The Owls have been practicing stripping the ball, going after fumbles and tipping the ball and getting interceptions on deflections. That’s been as or more important than stopping the run and getting to the quarterback.

Which team holds onto the ball and takes it away probably will decide this game.

Not touchdown passes.

Not rushing stats or first downs.

And definitely not point spreads.

Turnovers.

If the weather is as impactful as the cone of certainty suggests, this will probably be a low-scoring game, something on the order of 10-6, 14-7, even 17-7. We probably won’t see either quarterback throw for five touchdowns or 300 yards but might see a running back get 200.

Whatever, don’t forget the umbrella.

Friday: Game Analysis

7 thoughts on “Temple-Rutgers: Only the weather is certain

  1. we get BIG10 on our comcast lineup. Therefore will will be watching Temple vs Rutgers on early Thurs eve. And as everyone else, we have no idea how Temple FB will look.
    We are ‘ hopeful ‘, that’s it.
    The 2nd biggest question is what we’ll snack on for this TV game…..

  2. Looks like it’s going to be stop raining by gametime. Expect a wet field and WRs to slip and fall. I think Will Rodgers should be able to get 2 Sacks against them on Thursday.

  3. The weather reminiscent of UConn loss at the Linc during a hurricane about 10 years ago. UConn FB who could pound it when it counted. Is Mark Bright still around? Dude was OJ in Slow Mo. I want to change my vote to Saydee forr (sic) 100+.

    • I haven’t figured out to turn on the “you can vote only once” feature that was automatically included in the old sidebar polls. You are right. We have halfbacks who can cut but no straight-ahead power-type runners. Could use a Mark Bright (who reads this blog) on Thursday night. Will Rodgers’ two sacks leads by quite a bit but the one I’m hoping for is the pitch to Trey Blair who hits Randle Jones in stride for a score. That would show me the predictable days of Carey/Uremovich are over. (Ironically, the week before our game at SMU a few years ago I pleaded in this space for Matt Rhule to have former Big 33 quarterback Jalen Fitzpatrick throw an end around pass and that’s exactly what Rhule did three days later, Fitzpatrick hooking up with Robby Anderson for a TD bomb). Victory Engineer and Mike Edwards were posting on the message boards “Rhule must have been reading Mike’s blog.”

  4. Single Digits Players Please, still not completely listed by TUFB, Why not

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