football | ncaaf

East Carolina Pirates vs. Temple Owls Pick & Prediction NOV 21TH 2020

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Two American Athletic Conference football teams desperate to end four-game losing streaks will meet in Philadelphia on Saturday.

The host Temple Owls (1-5, 1-5 AAC) are slight favorites over the East Carolina Pirates (1-6, 1-5), and that makes sense. After all, the Owls have beaten the Pirates for six straight years, including 27-17 last season.

In that game, a bank of stadium lights shut off with 3:52 left in the fourth quarter, delaying the contest 15 minutes.

That's the way things have been going lately for the Owls and Pirates. Each team's only win this season was against South Florida, which is winless in league play. East Carolina beat USF, 44-24. Temple beat USF, 39-37, a week later.

Temple coach Rod Carey, who guided the Owls to an 8-5 record and a bowl game last year in his first season running the program, is struggling with depth. Due in large part to COVID-19 and contact tracing, Carey had only 45 available players -- including 16 walk-ons -- last week in a 38-13 loss to UCF.

That defeat clinched Temple's first losing season since 2013.

"I would not have played the past three weeks," Carey said of the injury/illness issues, "but I am not the decision-maker."

Meanwhile, East Carolina, which hasn't had a winning season since 2014, is led by second-year coach Mike Houston, who likely sees the Owls as his best chance to get a second win since the schedule ends next week against 7-2 SMU.

"Both us and Temple have been through so much adversity," Houston said, "but you keep competing every day. One us will come out with a big win (on Saturday), and that will be something to celebrate in the locker room."

Temple quarterback Matt Duncan -- a true freshman who is 0-for-2 passing in mop-up duty this season -- is set to get his first start on Saturday. The 6-1, 215-pounder from South Carolina is in the lineup due to injuries/illnesses to the three players who had been ahead of him on the depth chart.

Most notably, starter Anthony Russo went down with a shoulder injury and then tested positive for COVID-19. He will miss his fourth straight game, but, prior to that, he had given Temple solid play -- 68.1 percent passing and nine touchdowns with six interceptions.

One issue for Duncan could be the blocking of a young offensive line that last week played two redshirt freshmen, also due to health issues.

Duncan, who had never taken a college snap before last week, likely will rely on senior running back Tayvon Ruley, who had a strong game last week (23 carries, 90 yards). For the season, Ruley has run for 258 yards and one touchdown.

The strength of the Temple team could be its trio of senior wide receivers: Jadan Blue (41 catches, five TDs), Randle Jones (31 catches, two TDs) and Branden Mack (22 catches, three TDs).

East Carolina is led by junior quarterback Holton Ahlers, a third-year starter who has improved his completion percentage each season (.483, .597, .615). He has thrown for 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions this year.

Last year, Ahlers set school single-game records for TD passes (six) and yards passing (535). He also ranked 12th in the nation in passing yards per game (282.2).

Freshmen running backs Rahjai Harris (559 yards, 4.9 average) and Keaton Mitchell (272 yards, 4.9 average) power the ground attack while Ahlers' main targets are third-year wide receivers Tyler Snead (43 catches, three TDs) and Blake Proehl (40 catches, two TDs). Snead and Proehl are known as sure-handed receivers who run efficient routes.

--Field Level Media

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Service Play Spread Game
NCAAF finished EAST CAROLINA @ TEMPLE
Service Play Spread Game
NCAAF finished EAST CAROLINA @ TEMPLE
Service Play Spread Game
NCAAF finished EAST CAROLINA @ TEMPLE

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GAMES

Last 10

W 22% L 78%
2 7
  • @Temple W 28 - 3
  • @Cincinnati L 17 - 55
  • Tulane L 38 - 21
  • @Tulsa L 30 - 34
  • Navy L 27 - 23
  • @South Florida W 44 - 24
  • @Georgia St. L 29 - 49
  • Central Florida L 51 - 28
  • Marshall D 0 - 0
  • Tulsa L 49 - 24
W 20% L 80%
2 8
  • East Carolina L 28 - 3
  • @Central Florida L 13 - 38
  • Southern Methodist L 47 - 23
  • @Tulane L 3 - 38
  • @Memphis L 29 - 41
  • South Florida W 37 - 39
  • @Navy L 29 - 31
  • North Carolina L 55 - 13
  • Connecticut W 17 - 49
  • @Cincinnati L 13 - 15

Next Games

  • Southern Methodist(11-12-16) L 55 - 31
  • Cincinnati(10-20-18) W 17 - 24

Last Meetings

  • Pirates @ Owls 28-3
  • Owls @ Pirates 27-17
  • Pirates @ Owls 6-49
  • Owls @ Pirates 34-10
  • Pirates @ Owls 10-37
  • Owls @ Pirates 24-14
  • Pirates @ Owls 10-20

Atlantic Coast

AtlanticWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Clemson Tigers71 0.8750.00.00.0 5-02-17-0-1
NC State Wolfpack63 0.6671.50.00.0 4-12-26-0-3
Boston College Eagles54 0.5562.50.00.0 3-22-25-0-4
Wake Forest Demon Deacons43 0.5712.50.00.0 3-11-24-0-3
Louisville Cardinals36 0.3334.50.00.0 3-20-43-0-6
Florida State Seminoles26 0.2505.00.00.0 2-20-42-0-6
Syracuse Orange18 0.1116.50.00.0 1-40-41-0-8
CoastalWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Miami Hurricanes71 0.8750.00.00.0 4-03-17-0-1
North Carolina Tar Heels62 0.7501.00.00.0 4-02-26-0-2
Pittsburgh Panthers54 0.5562.50.00.0 4-21-25-0-4
Virginia Cavaliers44 0.5003.00.00.0 4-10-34-0-4
Virginia Tech Hokies45 0.4443.50.00.0 2-22-34-0-5
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets25 0.2864.50.00.0 1-31-22-0-5
Duke Blue Devils26 0.2505.00.00.0 1-31-32-0-6

Big Ten

EastWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Ohio State Buckeyes40 01.0000.00.00.0 3-01-04-0-0
Indiana Hoosiers41 0.8000.50.00.0 2-02-14-0-1
Maryland Terrapins21 0.6671.50.00.0 1-01-12-0-1
Michigan Wolverines23 0.4002.50.00.0 0-22-12-0-3
Michigan State Spartans13 0.2503.00.00.0 0-21-11-0-3
Rutgers Scarlet Knights14 0.2003.50.00.0 0-31-11-0-4
Penn State Nittany Lions05 0.0004.50.00.0 0-30-20-0-5

Conference USA

EastWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Marshall Thundering Herd70 01.0000.00.00.0 5-02-07-0-0
Florida Atlantic Owls51 0.8331.50.00.0 4-01-15-0-1
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers46 0.4004.50.00.0 3-21-44-0-6
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders36 0.3335.00.00.0 0-33-33-0-6
Charlotte 49ers23 0.4004.00.00.0 1-01-32-0-3
Florida International Panthers05 0.0006.00.00.0 0-30-20-0-5

Mid-American

EastWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Buffalo Bulls30 01.0000.00.00.0 1-02-03-0-0
Kent State Golden Flashes30 01.0000.00.00.0 2-01-03-0-0
Miami (Ohio) RedHawks11 0.5001.50.00.0 1-00-11-0-1
Ohio Bobcats11 0.5001.50.00.0 1-00-11-0-1
Bowling Green Falcons03 0.0003.00.00.0 0-20-10-0-3
Akron Zips03 0.0003.00.00.0 0-10-20-0-3

Southeastern

EastWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Florida Gators61 0.8570.00.00.0 3-03-16-0-1
Georgia Bulldogs52 0.7141.00.00.0 3-12-15-0-2
Missouri Tigers33 0.5002.50.00.0 2-11-23-0-3
Kentucky Wildcats35 0.3753.50.00.0 2-21-33-0-5
Tennessee Volunteers25 0.2864.00.00.0 1-21-32-0-5
South Carolina Gamecocks26 0.2504.50.00.0 1-31-32-0-6
Vanderbilt Commodores07 0.0006.00.00.0 0-40-30-0-7

Sun Belt

EastWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers80 01.0000.00.00.0 5-03-08-0-0
Appalachian State Mountaineers62 0.7502.00.00.0 4-02-26-0-2
Georgia Southern Eagles63 0.6672.50.00.0 5-01-36-0-3
Georgia St. Panthers44 0.5004.00.00.0 2-22-24-0-4
Troy Trojans44 0.5004.00.00.0 2-22-24-0-4

Mountain West

MountainWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Boise State Broncos41 0.8000.00.00.0 2-12-04-0-1
Air Force Falcons22 0.5001.50.00.0 2-10-12-0-2
Colorado State Rams12 0.3332.00.00.0 1-00-21-0-2
Wyoming Cowboys12 0.3332.00.00.0 1-00-21-0-2
Utah State Aggies04 0.0003.50.00.0 0-20-20-0-4
New Mexico Lobos04 0.0003.50.00.0 0-10-30-0-4

Pacific-12

NorthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Oregon Ducks30 01.0000.00.00.0 2-01-03-0-0
Washington Huskies20 01.0000.50.00.0 2-00-02-0-0
Washington State Cougars11 0.5001.50.00.0 0-11-01-0-1
Oregon State Beavers12 0.3332.00.00.0 1-10-11-0-2
California Golden Bears02 0.0002.50.00.0 0-00-20-0-2
Stanford Cardinal02 0.0002.50.00.0 0-10-10-0-2
SouthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Southern California Trojans30 01.0000.00.00.0 1-02-03-0-0
Colorado Buffaloes20 01.0000.50.00.0 1-01-02-0-0
UCLA Bruins12 0.3332.00.00.0 1-00-21-0-2
Utah Utes01 0.0002.00.00.0 0-10-00-0-1
Arizona State Sun Devils01 0.0002.00.00.0 0-00-10-0-1
Arizona Wildcats02 0.0002.50.00.0 0-10-10-0-2

American Athletic

TeamsWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Cincinnati Bearcats80 01.0000.00.00.0 6-02-08-0-0
Southern Methodist Mustangs72 0.7781.50.00.0 3-14-17-0-2
Tulsa Golden Hurricane51 0.8332.00.00.0 3-02-15-0-1
Memphis Tigers52 0.7142.50.00.0 5-00-25-0-2
Central Florida Knights53 0.6253.00.00.0 2-23-15-0-3
Tulane Green Wave55 0.5004.00.00.0 2-23-35-0-5
Houston Cougars33 0.5004.00.00.0 2-21-13-0-3
Navy Midshipmen34 0.4294.50.00.0 1-22-23-0-4
East Carolina Pirates26 0.2506.00.00.0 0-32-32-0-6
Temple Owls16 0.1436.50.00.0 1-20-41-0-6
South Florida Bulls17 0.1257.00.00.0 1-20-51-0-7

Big 12

TeamsWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Iowa State Cyclones62 0.7500.00.00.0 4-12-16-0-2
Oklahoma Sooners62 0.7500.00.00.0 4-12-16-0-2
Oklahoma State Cowboys52 0.7140.50.00.0 3-12-15-0-2
Texas Longhorns52 0.7140.50.00.0 3-12-15-0-2
West Virginia Mountaineers53 0.6251.00.00.0 5-00-35-0-3
Kansas State Wildcats44 0.5002.00.00.0 2-22-24-0-4
Texas Christian Horned Frogs34 0.4292.50.00.0 1-32-13-0-4
Texas Tech Red Raiders35 0.3753.00.00.0 3-20-33-0-5
Baylor Bears15 0.1674.00.00.0 1-10-41-0-5
Kansas Jayhawks07 0.0005.50.00.0 0-30-40-0-7

Independents I-A

TeamsWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Brigham Young Cougars90 01.0000.00.00.0 6-03-09-0-0
Notre Dame Fighting Irish80 01.0000.50.00.0 5-03-08-0-0
Liberty Flames81 0.8891.00.00.0 5-03-18-0-1
Army Black Knights72 0.7782.00.00.0 6-01-27-0-2
Massachusetts Minutemen03 0.0006.00.00.0 0-00-30-0-3

Big Ten

WestWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Northwestern Wildcats50 01.0000.00.00.0 3-02-05-0-0
Iowa Hawkeyes32 0.6002.00.00.0 1-12-13-0-2
Wisconsin Badgers21 0.6672.00.00.0 1-01-12-0-1
Purdue Boilermakers22 0.5002.50.00.0 1-11-12-0-2
Illinois Fighting Illini23 0.4003.00.00.0 0-22-12-0-3
Minnesota Golden Gophers23 0.4003.00.00.0 1-21-12-0-3
Nebraska Cornhuskers13 0.2503.50.00.0 1-10-21-0-3

Conference USA

WestWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners64 0.6000.00.00.0 4-12-36-0-4
UAB Blazers43 0.5710.50.00.0 3-11-24-0-3
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs43 0.5710.50.00.0 3-11-24-0-3
North Texas Mean Green33 0.5001.00.00.0 2-31-03-0-3
Texas El Paso Miners34 0.4291.50.00.0 2-01-43-0-4
Southern Miss Golden Eagles27 0.2223.50.00.0 1-51-22-0-7
Rice Owls12 0.3331.50.00.0 0-11-11-0-2

Mid-American

WestWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Western Michigan Broncos30 01.0000.00.00.0 1-02-03-0-0
Toledo Rockets21 0.6671.00.00.0 1-01-12-0-1
Central Michigan Chippewas21 0.6671.00.00.0 1-11-02-0-1
Ball State Cardinals21 0.6671.00.00.0 2-00-12-0-1
Eastern Michigan Eagles03 0.0003.00.00.0 0-10-20-0-3
Northern Illinois Huskies03 0.0003.00.00.0 0-20-10-0-3

Mountain West

WestWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Nevada Wolf Pack50 01.0000.00.00.0 3-02-05-0-0
San Jose State Spartans40 01.0000.50.00.0 3-01-04-0-0
Fresno State Bulldogs31 0.7501.50.00.0 1-12-03-0-1
San Diego State Aztecs32 0.6002.00.00.0 2-11-13-0-2
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors23 0.4003.00.00.0 1-11-22-0-3
UNLV Rebels04 0.0004.50.00.0 0-20-20-0-4

Southeastern

WestWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Alabama Crimson Tide70 01.0000.00.00.0 4-03-07-0-0
Texas A&M Aggies51 0.8331.50.00.0 3-02-15-0-1
Auburn Tigers52 0.7142.00.00.0 4-01-25-0-2
Louisiana State Tigers33 0.5003.50.00.0 1-12-23-0-3
Mississippi Rebels34 0.4294.00.00.0 1-32-13-0-4
Arkansas Razorbacks35 0.3754.50.00.0 2-21-33-0-5
Mississippi State Bulldogs25 0.2865.00.00.0 1-21-32-0-5

Sun Belt

WestWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns71 0.8750.00.00.0 3-14-07-0-1
Arkansas St. Red Wolves36 0.3334.50.00.0 2-11-53-0-6
South Alabama Jaguars36 0.3334.50.00.0 2-31-33-0-6
Texas State Bobcats29 0.1826.50.00.0 1-41-52-0-8
UL Monroe Warhawks08 0.0007.00.00.0 0-40-40-0-8

Last Injuries

Temple Owls

  • Tayvon Ruley

    Undisclosed
    Out Sat | out

    Ruley will not suit up Saturday versus Cincinnati due to an unlisted injury.

  • Anthony Russo

    Shoulder
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Russo has sat out the previous three games due to a shoulder injury and is now going through the COVID-19 protocol. It is unknown if he will return against Cincinnati on Saturday.

  • Yvandy Rigby

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Rigby has been absent from the lineup during the previous four games with an unspecified ailment, and it is uncertain if he will return to action Saturday against Cincinnati.

  • Nate Wyatt

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Wyatt missed the last game for an uncertain reason, and it is up in the air if he will be in Saturday's lineup versus Cincinnati.

  • Freddie Johnson

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Johnson has been held out of the last four games due to an unknown reason, and it is uncertain if he will return to the fold against Cincinnati on Saturday.

  • Branden Mack

    Thumb
    Out Sat | out

    Mack is on the mend after surgery to repair a fractured thumb and will not dress for Saturday's contest versus Cincinnati.

  • Audley Isaacs

    Illness
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Isaacs has missed the past three games due to the COVID-19 protocol, and it has yet to be determined if he will compete against Cincinnati on Saturday.

  • George Reid

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Reid was held out of the previous game with an undefined injury, and it has yet to be established if it will keep him out of Saturday's lineup versus Cincinnati.

East Carolina Pirates

  • Nishad Strother

    Leg
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Strother was held out of the last game with a leg injury, and it is uncertain if he will play against SMU on Saturday.

  • Traveon Freshwater

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Freshwater has been held out the past three games with an unspecified injury, and it is uncertain if he will return Saturday against Southern Methodist.

  • Darius Pinnix Jr.

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Pinnix Jr. sat out the last game due to an undefined ailment, and it remains to be seen if he will face Temple on Saturday.