The Temple Owls will finally get their chance to participate in the 2020 college football season this weekend when they square off with the Navy Midshipmen. The game was originally scheduled to be played Sept. 26 but was rescheduled to allow Temple more time to adequately get in some practice time as they worked around pandemic protocols with practices. Navy (1-2) just so happened to be the prime example of why you should want to get an appropriate amount of practice time before taking the field, as the Midshipmen didn't do any hitting in practice leading into their Sept. 7 season opener against BYU and were promptly thrashed 55-3. It was obvious Navy wasn't ready to play in that game. The Midshipmen bounced back with a come-from-behind win over Tulane two weeks later but got run over by Air Force last weekend, losing 40-7.
Forecasting this game may be one of the most difficult to do this season. Navy has had a roller-coaster season already, while the Owls could still be a bit shaky without in-game experience since late December. It could be a sluggish game in the American Athletic Conference this weekend. Who does that favor here?
Temple at Navy
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports Network
Spread: Temple -3
When Temple Has the Ball
Temple's offense will remain in the hands of quarterback Anthony Russo. Russo passed for 2,861 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. The hope is he will be able to improve his pass completion percentage this year. A trio of receivers should help that be a reality with Branden Mack and Jadan Blue coming off career-best seasons. Temple's offensive line is full of experience, and the addition of Northern Illinois grad transfer C.J. Perez should plug the only significant hole. It will be important for Temple to be aggressive in the trenches, as Navy's defense has struggled against their two strongest opponents this year (BYU and Air Force).
When Navy Has the Ball
After not making the trip to Air Force last weekend for a non-COVID health issue, Dalen Morris is back at the top of the depth chart this weekend for the Midshipmen. After a rough season debut against BYU, Morris showed he is capable of helping Navy move the ball through the air in a comeback win against Tulane. Navy could benefit from having that against the Owls. If Temple's defense is a step slow in their first game of the year, Navy may be able to create an advantage in the passing game, because everything is crazy in 2020.
Which Navy will show up this weekend? The one that was flattened by BYU and Air Force, or the one that lit things up in the second half against Tulane? There may be something to be said for having three games already in the books while Temple is just now getting on the field against live competition. But Navy hasn't been excelling this season. Even if Temple gets off to a sluggish start, they may be able to win a sloppy game against Navy in Annapolis. Russo will get in sync with his receivers at some point though, and that will allow the Owls to grab a hard-fought victory in a low-scoring contest.
Prediction: Temple 24, Navy 20
(Photo by Zamani Feelings/Temple Football)