College football Game of the Day: Temple at Memphis

Temple Owls at Memphis Tigers (-10, 60.5)

Fresh off its first loss of the season, host Memphis aims to regroup Thursday against resurgent Temple when the Owls visit the Tigers in an American Athletic Conference game. Memphis outscored its opponents 155-27 during a 3-0 start, but struggled in a 20-point loss at Ole Miss last week in its final non-conference tune-up.

The Tigers’ defense allowed 624 yards while the team committed four turnovers and seven penalties against the Rebels, leaving first-year coach Mike Norvell searching for answers. “Turnovers, communication issues, penalties, missed tackles – all those things that can’t happen in a close game with a quality opponent,” Norvell said in his post-game press conference. “This team still has some things to clean up.”

The Owls faced plenty of issues themselves early in the season but have regrouped to win two straight behind 48- and 45-point performances, although senior quarterback Philip Walker is looking to deliver a stronger effort this week. “The thing that kept us back today was myself,” Walker told reporters after going 7-of-18 for 124 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions last week against SMU. “I played my worst football game since I have been out there, I have to get better and stop overthinking when I am out there and have to go out there and play better.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

LINE MOVEMENT: This game opened Memphis -9.5 and has since moved to the key number of -10. The total has remained steady at 60.5 points.

INJURY REPORT: Temple – DE J. Taylor (Questionable), LB A. Williams (questionable), DB S. Chandler (Out) / Memphis – DB C. Morley (Questionable), DB D. Nelson (Questionable), DL L. Brady (Out)

WEATHER: The forecast for Liberty Bowl Memorial is calling for clear skies and winds blowing ESE at 5 mph.

WHAT SHARPS SAY: “These teams have met four times and Temple holds a 2-1 edege in the series. Not only will Memphis be looking to bounce back after suffering its first loss of the year in last week’s 48-28 thumping at the hands of Ole Miss on the road, but it’s also out for some revenge after dropping last season’s game against the Owls 31-12. Note that Temple is 93rd in the FBS in passing (199.8 YPG), while Memphis is 20th (308.5).” — Covers Experts’ AAA Sports.

WHAT BOOKS SAY: “We opened Memphis as a 9.5-point favorite, and it was quickly bet up to -10 where we currently sit with over 75 percent of the action on Memphis to cover the -10. The total for this game is sitting at 60.5 with over 80 percent of the action on the Over.” — Michael Stewart, oddsmaker with CarbonGaming.ag.

ABOUT TEMPLE (3-2, 1-0 AAC, 4-1 ATS): Sophomore tailback Ryquell Armstead ran for two touchdowns for the second straight game and finished with 159 rushing yards against SMU. Senior Jahad Thomas also had a pair of rushing scores – his third straight game with two rushing TDs – as he continues to work his way back from a hand injury that sidelined him for the first two games of the season. After recording a career-high 10 tackles against SMU, sophomore defensive back Delvon Randall will need to be at his best once again versus a Memphis squad averaging 45.8 points – sixth-best in the nation.

ABOUT MEMPHIS (3-1, 0-0, 2-2 ATS): The Tigers allowed a total of 10 points in their previous two games before surrendering 48 to Ole Miss, and now must contend with an Owls squad that has defeated them in two of the last three seasons. Memphis needs Riley Ferguson to have a bounce back game after the junior threw three interceptions without a touchdown pass last week – a stark contrast to his eight touchdowns and zero picks over the previous two outings. Wide receiver Anthony Miller had 157 total yards and a touchdown against the Rebels, while fellow junior Doroland Dorceus rushed for a score for the fourth straight game.

CHEERLEADER WAR:

TRENDS:

* Owls are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 conference games.
* Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a loss.
* Over is 5-1 in Tigers last six Thursday games.

COVERS CONSENSUS: 67 percent of wagers are on Memphis while 60 percent of wagers are on the Over.

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