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Week 9 - Temple at Pittsburgh
Posted Oct 25, 2012

Week 9 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Temple at Pittsburgh

Temple (3-3) at Pittsburgh (3-4) Oct. 27, 12:00, Big East Network

Here’s The Deal: Denizens of the same state, Temple and Pittsburgh meet for the first time since both were Big East members in 2004.

The Panthers inched closer to the .500 mark with a lackluster, weather-marred win over Buffalo in an otherwise up-and-down season. The program is still adjusting to life with a fourth head coach over the last three years, hamstringing the progress of Paul Chryst and his staff. This is a program that would really benefit from another 15 practices in December if it can win three of the final five games.

For a while last week, it looked as if Temple was going to pull a shocker that thrust it into the thick of the Big East race. And then talent took over. The Owls squandered a 10-0 halftime lead on unbeaten Rutgers, yielding the game’s final 35 points. Now, they have to shake off that loss, and get back to playing the way it did at the beginning of the month.

Why Temple Might Win: It’s hardly a secret that the Owls need to run the ball with authority in order to be successful.

Temple is a ground-and-pound production under Steve Addazio, attacking defenses with QB Chris Coyer and backs Montel Harris and Matt Brown. When they’re running downhill and creating third-and-short, opponents are prone to buckling at the knees. While Pitt has been steady on defense this season, it remains prone to getting beat at the point of attack. The Panthers will also struggle to slow down a diverse Owls pass rush that ranks 19th nationally in sacks.

Why Pittsburgh Might Win: The Panthers want to run the ball, too, but have a much better option in the passing game to balance the attack.

Pitt will answer Harris and Brown with Ray Graham and Rushel Shell, arguably the league’s best one-two punch on the ground. Where they’re better than Temple is behind center, as Tino Sunseri has quietly authored a solid finale. He’s only thrown two picks, while helping receivers Devin Street and Mike Shanahan become key weapons in the passing game. The Owls are too one-dimensional, which will allow Panthers LB Shane Gordon and safeties Jarred Holley and Jason Hendricks to stack the box in order to stop the run.

What To Watch Out For: If Pitt DT Aaron Donald isn’t contained, the Owls have a markedly reduced chance of winning this game. No. 97 is a menace in the middle of the line, beating blockers with a quick first step and a sudden explosion into the backfield. He’s registered a stop behind the line in each of the last three games, flashing the moves and the tenacity that could force Coyer to go up top more than he prefers to.

What Will Happen: Pitt and Temple are a pair of similar teams, with a shared blueprint for success. The difference in this one will be Sunseri, who gives the Panthers more options on offense. The senior will catch the Owls unfocused following last week’s tough loss to Rutgers, throwing a pair of touchdown passes as both defenses concentrate on stopping the run. Temple will close the deficit in the fourth quarter, but isn’t built to rally back from double-digit deficits.

CFN Prediction: Pittsburgh 24 … Temple 20
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Pittsburgh -7 O/U: 48
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Girl, 1 – Don’t Trust The B In Apt. 23): 2.5