Independence Bowl 2018: Temple vs. Duke TV Schedule, Time and Odds.Two of the most underrated college football programs over the last decade kick off Thursday’s bowl slate at the Independence Bowl.Despite going through a revolving door of head coaches, the Temple Owls have won eight games or more on six occasions since 2009.
The Owls out of The American face a familiar situation Thursday, as interim head coach Ed Foley takes charge with Geoff Collins off to Georgia Tech.Duke has been a model of consistency under head coach David Cutcliffe, who led the Blue Devils to winning seasons in five of the last six years.
Duke is attempting to reach the eight-win mark for the fourth time in the Cutcliffe era and extend its bowl winning streak to three games, while Temple tries to hit the nine-win mark for the third time in four years.
Independence Bowl Information
Date: Thursday, December 27
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Watch ESPN or ESPN app
Odds (via OddsShark): Temple -3.5; Over/Under: 54.5
Temple is more than deserving of being the favorite in the Independence Bowl, as it made a claim to be the second-best team in The American behind UCF.
The Owls won six of their final seven games, with the only loss coming at the hands of the Knights.
The second-half surge in the regular season allowed Collins to generate interest from Georgia Tech, and he became the fourth head coach to leave Temple for a power-five job since 2010.
Before Manny Diaz takes over, Foley leads the Owls to the field for the second bowl game in three years.
In 2016, the longtime Temple assistant coached Temple in its Military Bowl loss to Wake Forest.
The Owls are in better shape to beat an ACC opponent this time around because of an offense that scored 143 points in the last three games.
Running back Ryquell Armstead is the star of the offense, as he totaled 1,098 yards and 13 touchdowns in his senior season.
Quarterback Anthony Russo can’t be overlooked, as he’ll look to wreak havoc on the Duke secondary with his full complement of wide receivers led by Ventell Bryant, Branden Mack, Randle Jones and Isaiah Wright.
In the regular season, Russo threw for 2,335 yards and 13 touchdowns, including a 444-yard performance in the loss against UCF.
Russo faces a challenge from the Duke defense that is tied for 29th in the FBS, but the Blue Devils have picked off just three passes.
Duke’s low interception total could come into play against Russo if he’s inaccurate since he has thrown 13 picks.
If Duke’s defense is unable to take advantage of a few poor throws, Temple could rebound and march down the field into the end zone.
The other passing matchup is even more intriguing, as Duke’s Daniel Jones, who is a potential early-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft, takes on Temple’s eighth-ranked passing defense.
Temple’s been much more effective forcing turnovers through the air than Duke, as the Owls earned 15 interceptions.
While Temple has plenty of motivation to win for its interim head coach, Jones carries his own driving force, as he tries to finish out the season with his third 300-yard performance.
After beating North Carolina with 361 passing yards, Jones combined to throw for 303 yards in blowout defeats at the hands of Clemson and Wake Forest.
If Jones is unable to find a rhythm, Duke must rely on running back Deon Jackson to create some offensive momentum.
Jackson is capable of leading the offense with commanding performances, like he did against Pittsburgh and Miami, but he struggled on a small workload in the final three games of the regular season.
Temple 34, Duke 26
Temple’s recent offensive numbers suggest the Owls will cover and hit the over in the process.
However, the concerns surrounding the over have to deal with Duke’s lack of production in November, as it scored 13 points in its last two games.
Jones will do enough through the air to keep Duke in the contest, but Russo, Armstead and Co. will be too much for the Duke defense to handle in the second half.