Game Of The Week: No. 9 Notre Dame at No. 21 Temple
College Gameday finally returns to Philadelphia this week, in a hard nosed primetime matchup between the No. 21 Temple Owls (7-0) and the No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1) at Lincoln Financial Field Saturday night.
Notre Dame has responded well after several key injuries, including a broken ankle to quarterback Malik Zaire arose. They did suffer a two-point loss earlier this season, but the loss came at the hands of the Clemson Tigers who are now ranked No. 3 in the nation.
Although quarterback DeShone Kizer and Co. average 50-points a game, the Fighting Irish will be up against one of the most impressive defenses in all of college football this week.
The Temple defense, led by senior linebacker Tyler Matakevich, has been impressive this season, allowing an average of 14.6 points per game which ranks eighth in the nation to date.
Matakevich himself has accounted for over 60 tackles this season and is looking to become the seventh player in FBS history to record 100+ tackles in all four seasons of his collegiate career.
That being said, Notre Dame’s star running back C.J. Prosise has accounted for 922 rushing yards on 129 carries for 11 touchdowns.
Wide receiver Will Fuller, a Philadelphia native, is poised for a return to his hometown looking to make a huge impact for his Notre Dame team. Fuller has 32 catches for 702 yards and eight touchdowns making him the most decorated this season on the Fighting Irish.
While Temple’s defense highlights their success, don’t count out the offense to make a statement of their own. Quarterback P.J. Walker has thrown for 1,344 yards and nine touchdowns while only throwing three interceptions, a weakness of his in recent years.
Running back Jahad Thomas has been equally impressive recording 822 yards on 165 carries for 12 scores.
Still, Notre Dame’s defense is no pushover either as the team allows an average of 22.6 points per game, a stat that ranks tied for 39th in the country.
Watch out for Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell, a physically talented corner, who will be sure to keep Temple’s top wide receiver, Robby Anderson, on his toes and could give a historically interception prone Walker a tough time on Saturday night.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame: 27, Temple 14
Mike D’Avella is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org