Get ready for the 2017 Notre Dame season opener against Temple at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday with UHND’s game primer.
What you Need to Know
- Game Time: September 2nd at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC
- Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
- Matchup: Notre Dame leads all-time series 2-0 (Last Meeting 2015)
- Odds: Notre Dame by 17
- Game Day Weather: Current conditions call for a high of 82 degrees with lows in the low 60’s overnight. There will be a 20% chance of rain on game day.
- Weekend Events: The Pep Rally will take place Friday, September 1st at 6:00 p.m. outside of Rockne Memorial Building. For more information on all the events taking place this weekend, visit http://gameday.nd.edu/events/calendar/2017-temple/ .
Temple Owls Capsule
- Conference: AAC
- Head Coach: Geoff Collins
- 2016 Record: 10-4
- 2015 Record: 10-4
Temple is coming off a 10-4 season in which the Owls won 7 of their last 8 games. The good news for the Irish is that their last game was a loss to Wake Forest and Mike Elko’s defense. Temple lost that game, the Military Bowl, by a score of 34 to 26. This should give Notre Dame some familiarity with the Owls given Mike Elko’s experience with Wake. How much remains to be seen however given the exit of Matt Rhule from Temple.
The biggest storyline for the Owls in fact is how Temple will replace their former head coach who is now at Baylor. Rhule led Temple to 10 win seasons the past two years. Rhule completely changed the program around and made the Owls into one of the best teams in the American Athletic Conference. The Irish had all they could handle against the Owls on Halloween Night in 2015, a testament to where this program has come.
Geoff Collins spent the last two years as defensive coordinator at Florida under Jim McElwain before being named Rhule’s successor this off-season.
Coach Collins will have to replace two great Temple players next season in Hasson Reddick and Dion Dawkins. Reddick, a linebacker, was the 13th overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals. He had 65 tackles and 9.5 sacks in 2016. Dion Dawkins, a guard, was selected as the 63rd overall pick to the Buffalo Bills.
The quarterback situation is still uncertain for the Owls. It appears they will show the Irish a variety of looks on September 2nd. Temple will be replacing Phillip Walker who had 230 completions, 22 touchdowns, and 58% completion last season.
The candidates to start quarterback include Anthony Russo, Todd Centeio, Frank Nutile, and Logan Marchi. Collins has said that he wants to try and create pressure on Notre Dame so that the Irish have to prepare for multiple quarterbacks. I would be surprised if Temple does not play a variety of quarterbacks on Saturday.
Notre Dame Storylines
The biggest storyline for Notre Dame heading into this game is how the defense will look. While not trying to get into a lengthy discussion about the defense, there are a lot of expectations with an improved defensive coordinator. Perhaps the biggest focus will be getting pressure on the quarterback. The Irish were one of the last teams in the country to record a sack in 2016. If the Irish are able to get several sacks on Temple it would show that they have improved in this area and offer optimism for the rest of the season.
How will the offense look under Chip Long? Will the offensive line live up to the hype? Notre Dame has so many weapons on offense, how will all the skill position players get touches? All these questions will begin to be answered against Temple. Notre Dame has no shortage of wide receivers, tight ends, or running backs. It will be intriguing to see how the running game and passing game is balanced out this season.
Can Notre Dame take care of business against Temple? No disrespect, this is certainly not the Temple team of old, and they are not an FCS opponent by any means. But without a doubt Notre Dame is the more talented team and should win this football game. The Irish need to focus all their efforts on Temple and not get caught looking ahead to Georgia.
Head to Head Matchups
Notre Dame Offense vs. Temple Defense– Advantage Notre Dame: This Notre Dame offense has everything a coach could want. A potentially great offense line, good running backs, a future NFL receiver in St. Brown, great tight ends, and a dual threat quarterback. The Notre Dame Offense needs to put up a lot of points while the defense is growing and developing.
Temple Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense– Tie: The key in this matchup will be the quarterback situation. In Elko’s first game he will be matched up against an inexperienced quarterback, no matter who is under center. I give this matchup a tie because the defense was just horrific last year. I want to see what they can do against real competition before I get on the bandwagon.
Special Teams- Advantage Notre Dame: I give the edge in the special teams department to the Irish. Justin Yoon has been solid for Notre Dame over the last two seasons. CJ Sanders is always been an explosive talent for the Irish and will likely score a few touchdowns this year on special teams. The difference is Brian Polian. Formerly head coach of Nevada, Notre Dame’s special teams should be vastly improved and perhaps see a few trick plays throughout the season.
I expect the Owls to stick around early, but the Irish talent along with the new strength and conditioning will eventually wear down the Owls. Temple will likely score a few points at the end to make the score look a little closer than it was.
Notre Dame 41 Temple 20