Two struggling teams in desperate need of a win will square off on Saturday inside Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia when East Carolina and Temple meet at 12 noon ET. Both sides are riding a four-game losing streak overall, with ECU coming in at 1-6 and 1-5 in AAC play. Temple is 1-5 overall, all of which have been conference games. Both teams notched their only victories of the season over South Florida, with ECU dispatching of the Bulls 44-24 in Tampa back on Oct. 10. Temple defeated USF a week later, 39-37, on a failed two-point conversion at the end of the game.
Both teams have been hit hard with COVID-19 and injuries in 2020, exacerbating some of their struggles. Temple coach Rod Carey said earlier this week that if it were up to him, he wouldn’t have played the last three games. The Owls will be without their top three quarterbacks on Saturday, including starter Anthony Russo, who’s in COVID-19 protocols through the weekend. True freshman quarterback Matt Duncan will make his first career start. The Pirates ran into a similar situation earlier this year when they had to start true freshman Mason Garcia vs. Navy with starter Holton Ahlers unavailable due to the virus.
The East Carolina Pirates are 0-5 against the Temple Owls since October of 2015, but they’ll have a chance to close the gap a little bit on Saturday. East Carolina and Temple will face off in an American Athletic battle at noon ET at Lincoln Financial Field. Both teams have had a rocky road up to this point with four consecutive losses apiece.
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A win for the Pirates just wasn’t in the stars last week as the team never even grasped a temporary lead. They were dealt a punishing 55-17 defeat at the hands of the Cincinnati Bearcats. A silver lining for East Carolina was the play of RB Keaton Mitchell, who rushed for one TD and 124 yards on 17 carries.
Meanwhile, the oddsmakers predicted a rough contest for Temple last week, and boy were they were right. Their bruising 38-13 loss to the UCF Knights might stick with them for a while. Temple was down 38-3 at the end of the third quarter, which was just too much to recover from. QB Re-al Mitchell had a memorable game, but not in the way you want to be remembered: besides failing to produce a single touchdown, he threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball once with only 4.65 yards per passing attempt.
The Pirates are the favorite in this one, with an expected 3.5-point margin of victory. Now might not be the best time to take East Carolina against the spread since they’ve let down bettors for the past two consecutive games.
These two teams will surely be fighting tooth and nail to get back into the win column after losses last week. Allowing an average of 39.71 points per game, East Carolina hasn’t exactly asserted themselves on the defensive end. We’ll see if they can patch up the holes in their defense before their upcoming matchup.