The drum keeps on beating for the UCF Knights, as they put their undefeated record on the line against the Temple Owls on Thursday night. The defending co-National Champions, according to UCF and the NCAA record books, are at 7-0 with four games remaining. Following Temple, they have Navy, Cincinnati, South Florida, and then in all likelihood, the AAC Championship.
That would give them another ticket to a New Year’s Six Bowl. They knocked off Auburn last season in the Peach Bowl to finish undefeated. The game didn’t mean nearly as much for Auburn as it did for UCF. The Tigers had planned on going to something better than the Peach Bowl, like the College Football Playoff for instance, but had to settle for UCF. The Knights didn’t mind the outcome. They play a Temple team who they can’t overlook on Thursday night. The Owls haven’t been exceptional, but they’ve been putting together a decent season that will likely lead to a bowl game.
Temple enter Thursday with a record of 5-3. Their most recent game resulted in a 24-17 win over Cincinnati in overtime. Last season that wouldn’t have been an impressive win, but the Bearcats went into that one undefeated. Temple are the only team to hand them a loss this season. This was two weeks ago, so the Owls have had a nice break to prepare for UCF.
It may not do them any good, because the Knights are coming off a bye week as well. So, UCF have been able to get an extra look at a Temple team that have won five of their last six games. The Owls present a stingy test for a Knights’ offense that may be without their quarterback, McKenzie Milton. Head below for our free Temple vs. UCF pick.
Temple Owls vs. UCF Knights NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. UCF -10.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Temple vs. UCF Pick:
For Temple to have a shot at the upset, it would help out of Milton is not available at quarterback for UCF. The Knights aren’t saying which direction they are going to go with right now. Milton did not play in their last game against ECU, and were able to breeze past them by a score of 37-10. The starting quarterback, Darriel Mack Jr., didn’t have to do much in the pocket.
Mack threw for just 69 yards, completing 60% of his passes. He did, however, run the ball effectively for 120 yards and a touchdown. The mobility of Mack Jr. works well in an offense that is centered around a mobile quarterback, McKenzie Milton. Mack Jr. has yet to throw a touchdown in his career.
Milton brings 16 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and 204 rushing yards to the game if he can play. Note that if he does play, he likely isn’t going to be performing at 100%. If the Owls are going to win, it’s going to be with their defense, which has been excellent this season. Especially up-front, where Temple has been able to cause some havoc.
Temple are 25th in the nation, allowing an average of 331 yards per game. There was one outlier, where they got pummeled for 45 points against Boston College. However, they’ve allowed just 13.3 points per game in their last three outings. Note that Temple are 2nd in the conference with 24 sacks, led by Michael Dogbe.
I don’t have much confidence in Temple stringing drives together in this matchup. They’ve been relying on their defense so much that it has hid their issues offensively. Anthony Russo has been a turnover machine, with 9 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. That’s likely not going to work against a defense allowing just 18.1 points per game. The Temple defense should be able to keep this a game, though. With both quality defenses having extra time to prepare, I’d look at a play on the UNDER in Orlando.