In Week 9’s only matchup between two top-25 teams, the No. 21 Temple Owls (7-0, 4-0) host the No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1) at a sold out Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
There is a stark difference between the two schools' football history. Notre Dame is a traditional college power, recently playing for a national championship. Temple, on the other hand, is just a decade removed from scoring 107 points over the course of a season on their way to an 0-11 mark. Just two years ago, Matt Rhule began his tenure as the Owls head coach with a 28-6 loss to the Irish on the way to a 2-10 record. But fast forward to 2015 and the gap has significantly closed, with Temple off to the best start in school history and ranked nationally for the first time since 1979.
While the other ranked AAC teams win with offense, Temple wins with defense. They’re No. 8 in the nation in points allowed per game (14.6), rank No. 14 in yards (307) and are tied for fifth with 12 interceptions. Notre Dame wins with explosive plays from its offense, namely Philly-born wide out Will Fuller and running back C.J. Prosise. Fuller is averaging over 100 yards receiving per game with eight touchdowns, while Prosise has run for 922 yards and 11 touchdowns to go with five games of 100 yards. Quarterback DeShone Kizer has thrown for 10 scores and ran for three since taking over on Sept. 12.
The Temple offense is less explosive but has come through in timely fashion. Last week, two fourth-quarter touchdowns erased a four-point deficit, and sprung the Owls to a 24-14 win at East Carolina. Quarterback P.J. Walker hooked up with receiver Robby Anderson before running back Jahad Thomas finished things off with his second rushing touchdown of the game. Thomas leads the AAC with 822 yards to go with 12 scores and 204 receiving yards. Anderson accounts for half of the receiving touchdowns (5) and has 388 yards on the season. They’ll face an Irish defense that allows 22.6 points per game and gave up 590 yards and 31 points to USC in its last game on Oct. 17.
Start Time: 8 p.m.
Live Stream: Watch ABC
Prediction: The Irish will have trouble with the ball-hawking defense from Temple in one of the school’s biggest football games ever. But Notre Dame is coming off a bye and has enough explosive plays in them on offense to win by one score, to keep their national title hopes alive.
Predicted Score: Notre Dame wins, 30-23.