Saturday’s match between the Fighting Irish and the Temple Owls marks the first meeting between the two historic programs. With gazillions of wins, Heismans, National Championships, Notre Dame looks to add to its legend by making head coach Brian Kelly one of the youngest coaches to win his two hundredth game. Temple, dealing with a class of opposition it has rarely faced (the Owls have only two wins over ranked opponents since 1974) and a first year head coach in Matt Rhule, should have few answers for a Notre Dame squad looking to take out the frustrations of a humiliating National Championship Game on someone else.
If you think having Tommy Rees under center presents questions, try being Temple. Connor Reilly, a junior out of Ft. Polk, Louisiana, will be the least-known quarterback from SEC country the Irish have game-planned against in the last two games. Debate the merits of Rees all you want, ND fan, for Reilly has ZERO GAME EXPERIENCE. That means he has NO STATS. That means the first opponent he gets to face is Louis Nix, III. Connor? You’re a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Connor? You’re a bike seat. As of this writing, Vegas has the Irish as 29.5 point favorites.
The Owls run a pro spread offense and utilize a 4-3 defense. 2012 was a lost season for the Owls, who were deprived of a twelfth game, and the chance for a fifth win (they finished 4-7) by conference realignment. Starting the season at 2-0 with wins over South Florida and Connecticut, Temple was mauled as it went through the slaughterhouse that is Rutgers-Pittsburgh-Louisville-Cincinnati, managing just 54 points and giving up 161 points over the four games. Temple’s got a ton of big bodies on the O-line, but right tackle seems to be the big question mark for them in the trenches. Irish fans should expect a big day from their defensive ends, with Stephone Tuitt, in particular, looking to make an early statement in this game.
Temple’s defense is undersized relative to the Irish and should have a world of problems contending with the likes of Niklas and Daniels and Jones and Notre Dame’s O-line.
Interestingly, there are no tropical systems threatening New Orleans this year, so the Bayou Barometer is NOT in play for this game. Still, it’s a true home game, so visions of USF are dancing around my head. To calm them, I watched this:
To vanquish them, I watched this:
Long story short, Irish fans, this should be a thumping by Notre Dame. Prediction: 63-14.