Navy Midshipmen vs. Temple Owls
Date and Time: Thursday, November 2, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Opening College Football Odds: Navy -8
Navy vs. Temple TV Coverage: ESPN
The bye week came at just the right time for Navy.
Zach Abey has had a rough season for sure. He's been on and off of the injury report for much of the season. His most recent knock came against UCF when he was taken out of the game with a concussion. He's cleared protocol and is expected to return for this game against the Owls.
It's a good thing, too, because this offense has been a wreck with Abey out of the fold. With apologies to Garret Lewis, he's no Zach Abey.
Abey leads the team with 1,142 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, and it's his threat that makes the rest of this triple-option so scary. Malcolm Perry and Chris High aren't having particularly great years on the ground for the Midshipmen, but they're averaging 11.1 and 4.5 yards per carry respectively due to the fact that Abey is such a threat to carry the ball anywhere either between the tackles or far outside of them.
Temple figured out the triple-option last season when these two teams met, and this is going to be its second straight week looking at it this year. The Owls were beaten 31-28 last week by a really good Army team that has already accepted its bid to its bowl game.
The Owls did what they could in that game, taking a 21-14 lead early in the fourth quarter and a 28-21 lead with 1:38 to play. But to allow the Black Knights to march down the field for the game-tying touchdown with 0:01 left in regulation was a huge blow.
The good news for Temple is that it did slow down the Army option. The Cadets finished with 248 yards on 50 carries, but in the grand scheme of things, it was the disappointment against the pass that really proved to be the big problem in that game.
The reason why Temple stuck around in that game against Army was because of the play of Ryquell Armstead.
The Owls are just the No. 115-ranked team in America on the ground at 116.8 yards per game, and the fact that Armstead hasn't gotten anything going for the most part is the reason for that.
The switch from Logan Marchi to Frank Nutile at quarterback seemed to help, at least last week against the Black Knights. Armstead easily had his best game of the season, rushing for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. He'll need to do similar to keep Temple involved in this game against a very good Navy outfit.
Navy vs. Temple Free Picks
The Middies have been in suspect form of late, and a lot of that has been because of the injuries that Abey has had to go through. Getting a week and a half to heal from his most recent ailment should only help get Navy back on track.
The Midshipmen have gotten in trouble when they've let games get a little bit out of hand on the defensive side of the ball. All of that should go away against Temple. Games against Memphis and UCF could have easily gone the other direction, and that's a sign to us that all of the best internet sportsbooks should have Navy as a far greater favorite than this.
College Football ATS Pick: Navy -8 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Navy 31, Temple 17