For USF, this is the kind of game you can trip over.
Temple (4-3) is a decent team. The game is in Philadelphia. And USF has won big, but in its first halves recently, it hasn’t been gangbusters. Temple’s defense (16th nationally) is good enough to keep the game close.
So, as they sit on the outskirts of the top 25, are the 6-1 Bulls ripe for the plucking?
Oh, USF is as explosive as ever with quarterback Quinton Flowers piling up 300 yards of total offense most games.
“He is two guys in one,” Temple coach Matt Rhule said. “He is probably one of the top tailbacks in the country and one of the top quarterbacks in the country.”
Throw in running back Marlon Mack, who gained 230 yards against Temple a year ago, and you can see the sizzle.
But Temple has some weapons, too, with quarterback Phillip Walker and running back Jahad Thomas. It’s enough to challenge the Bulls. Maybe even beat them.
Still, this USF team has had its moments where it has had to break out of a tight game to win. This one shouldn’t be any different.
Prediction: USF 24, Temple 21
UCF at UConn
One of the things the Knights have done this season is win most of the games against teams their size. That wasn’t true last week, when UCF let the Temple game get away at the end.
Now comes UConn, a pesky team with quarterback Bryant Shirreffs.
To win, the Knights have to establish their running game. Last week, it gained only 86 yards against Temple. That exposed freshman quarterback McKenzie Milton, who was sacked seven times.
Prediction: UCF 16, UConn 14
Louisiana Tech at FIU
FIU has won three straight games to right its season, but playing against Tech might be too much to ask.
The Bulldogs are No. 4 in offense in FBS, averaging 550 yards a game. Quarterback Ryan Higgins has four 400-yard passing days on the year , including last week’s win over UMass. Carlos Henderson caught 12 passes for 358 yards last week.
Things are going better for the Panthers. But not this week,
Louisiana Tech 38, FIU 13
Oakland at Jacksonville
The Jags closed out their game with the Bears with perhaps their finest quarter of the year. If they can keep it up – and play more no-huddle – then Blake Bortles has a chance.
But Derek Carr isn’t bad for the Raiders, either. Which means that Jacksonville has to play the kind of winnable game that has gotten away in the past.
Not this time.
Prediction: Jaguars 20, Raiders 17
Buffalo at Miami
The Dolphins were surprising winners last week over Pittsburgh as running back Jay Ajayi broke loose. But Buffalo has a good defense, which could make it harder for Ajayi unless Ryan Tannehill hits a big pass or two.
Prediction: Buffalo 27, Miami 17
Tampa Bay at San Francisco
The Bucs have sputtered throughout their history against the 49ers, winning only four of 21 meetings. This time, it should be different. Colin Kaepernick struggled in his first start, and the Bucs should be able to get a running game going with Jacquizz Rodgers.
Again, Jameis Winston not throwing interceptions would help.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 16, San Francisco 10