All that Temple accomplished in upsetting Maryland, 35-14, last week will mean nothing if the Owls lose to Tulsa in the American Athletic Conference football opener for both teams at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Temple (1-2) has lost both its games when it has been the favorite (against Villanova and Buffalo) and won as a 14 1/2-point underdog last week. Now the Owls are a 7 1/2-point favorites vs, Tulsa (also 1-2).
The defense set the tone by coming out aggressively and recording four of its seven sacks during a 7-0 first quarter Saturday. Temple took away the outside running game and dared Maryland to pass. The same will have to be done against the speed-up Tulsa offense operated by sophomore quarterback Luke Skipper.
Tulsa, which averages 210 rushing yards, would like to stay on the ground and keep the Temple offense off the field.
Owls quarterback Frank Nutile, who missed the last game with an unspecified injury, will likely be a game-time decision, coach Geoff Collins said, but Anthony Russo, making his first start last week, proved more than capable against the Terrapins.
No matter who is at quarterback, the Owls should move the ball and do enough to earn their first win of the season as a favorite.
Prediction: Temple 28, Tulsa 20.