Duke Football: Temple a tough test for Blue Devils in Independence Bowl

Duke football faces off against the Geoff Collins-less Temple Owls in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl. Should the Blue Devils be worried?

Duke didn’t look great in the final game of their season. The Clemson hangover is a very real thing, but Duke’s hangover against Wake Forest may have been the worst we’ve seen all season as the Blue Devils allowed 500+ yards and 59 points to a dreadfully injured Demon Deacons squad. However, the Blue Devils do have plenty of upside. Quarterback Daniel Jones is considered an NFL prospect and he needs to have a big game against a strong secondary to get his stock trending back in the right direction.

The Temple Owls seem to be in a good position going into this game despite losing their head coach. Not having Geoff Collins doesn’t help the Owls against Duke but they have an incredible motivator in Ed Foley who is serving as the interim coach for this matchup. Foley went viral several weeks ago based on a press conference that was highlighted by a quote where he mentioned that “We may not play well, but we will play hard.” It also doesn’t hurt to mention that the Owls just hired Miami Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz as their newest head coach.

Owls’ running back Ryquell Armstead finished up the regular season as the first 1,000-yard rusher for Temple since Jahad Thomas accomplished the feat in 2015. The defense ended had the seventh-ranked passing defense nationally with their most incredible performances coming against Cincinnati, East Carolina and Maryland. The Secondary is led by Presbyterian College-transfer Rock Ya-Sin who has two interceptions and a whopping 12 pass deflections. Temple’s pass rush, led by defensive tackle Michael Dogbe, is also top-30 nationally with 33 total sacks.

The most interesting matchup in this contest will certainly be Duke quarterback Daniel Jones vs the strong Temple secondary. The 43rd installment of the Independence Bowl will have no shortage of entertainment as David Cutcliffe attempts to outcoach the newly appointed Ed Foley and reach eight wins for the first time since 2015.

How to watch

Date: December 27, 2018
Time: 1:30 P.M. ET
Location: Shreveport, LA
Venue: Independence Stadium
TV: ESPN
Live Stream: WatchESPN

Keys To Victory

Duke has to run the ball and rediscover their defense. Duke’s defensive front started the season off so strong and fell off drastically after Week 4. Temple does fairly well passing the ball, but their strength is in the running game. Duke has to stop Armstead and make Anthony Russo throw the ball and force him to make mistakes.

Daniel Jones is a good quarterback, but being a one-dimensional passing attack isn’t going to cut it against this secondary. Deon Jackson or Brittain Brown have to get the ball moving on the ground to keep the Temple defense honest at a minimum.

Temple’s path to victory is far simpler. Duke’s defensive front hasn’t given much of a fight in the final weeks of the season and Ryquell Armstead should have no problem adding on to his 1,000-yard season so long as Duke says status-quo. The key for Temple’s defense is just to stop the run and make Daniel Jones throw into this nasty secondary. Russo isn’t a stud quarterback, but he can make enough plays in the passing game to keep the Owls out front.

Betting Odds

Points Spread: Temple -3.5

Over/Under: 54.5

Player Bowl Gifts

  • Gift suite
  • Timely Watch Co. Watch
  • New Era skull cap
  • Commemorative Football

Prediction

So Duke just hasn’t looked like the same team demolished Army since they were eviscerated by Virginia Tech at home in Daniel Jones’ return from a collarbone injury. Temple offers everything in a team that Duke just can’t beat. Look for the Owls to kick off the Manny Diaz era with a huge win.

Final Score: Temple 28, Duke 24