Beats' picks: Will Duke football take down Temple to open its season with a win?

Our beat writers all agree that Duke will start off its season with a win against Temple.
Our beat writers all agree that Duke will start off its season with a win against Temple.

Before every game this season, our football beat writers predict whether the Blue Devils will pick up a win in their weekly matchup and keep track of their records throughout the year. In Duke and new head coach Mike Elko's season debut, the Blue Devils host Temple at Wallace Wade Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday, with the home side as a nine-point favorite.

Jonathan Levitan: Duke 27-16

There is certainly an element of pressure for both Duke and Temple heading into Friday's season opener. Both sides sport new head coaches, and Mike Elko's debut on the sidelines is likely to draw the largest crowd in years at Wallace Wade Stadium. But as new starting running back Jaylen Coleman said on Wednesday's edition of the All 22 podcast, "pressure makes diamonds," and after a strong fall camp and focused start to Elko's tenure, the Blue Devils should be able to rise to the challenge on their home field. Duke's defense will have enough to puzzle a still-meshing Temple offense, and the Owls' new coaching staff will not have the answers on the go.

Micah Hurewitz: Duke 42-31

These two make for a battle of two of the worst teams from last season and also the debut for not one, but two head coaches as Elko and Temple’s Stan Drayton each look to start their tenures off with a win. Also looming over the Blue Devils’ heads is the fact that they have not started a season with a win since 2018. Temple quarterback D’Wan Mathis is a stud, but neither defense is very good, leading to a shootout in which I think Duke will eke out a win. Duke’s personnel changes could be tough to watch at first, but the coaches’ new energy gives some confidence that these Blue Devils are coming out with a vengeance. Duke is starting 1-0. 

Sasha Richie: 31-21

These two teams both made a strong case as college football’s worst team last season, and now they embark on a rebuild. With new head coaches on both sides, the question becomes who made the most progress in the offseason. I’m banking on Duke here. The Blue Devils have new systems, new personnel and buy-in all around. Temple has some of that as well, but Duke, by nature of being a Power Five school and facing tougher opponents, has a head start in terms of what the teams are preparing for. There is a sense of urgency to become more competitive against nationally respected teams like Pittsburgh and Wake Forest. So, against a similarly struggling team, I think Duke will be more desperate to prove that it has improved from its abysmal 2021 season.

Andrew Long: Duke 34-28

After last season’s opening loss to Charlotte—a loss that gave the 49ers their first-ever Power Five victory—it’s hard to have confidence that 2022’s premiere will be a comfortable affair for the Blue Devils. In spite of that, Temple is an opponent that Duke should take care of. The Owls’ signal caller, Mathis, as a Georgia transfer and four-star prospect will probably cause the Blue Devil secondary some problems and run the game close, but I think Duke just edges this one out due to a poor Temple defense that surrendered more than twice the points it scored each game last year. In any case, the Blue Devils need a win to make sure that last year’s tough away defeat was a blip and not a trend.

Rachael Kaplan: Duke 38-33

While I don’t have much faith in either offense’s productivity, I have less faith in the defensive units’ prospects Friday. Both new head coaches will be looking to start their tenure off with a win, and while I do think that Elko will get the victory, I do not think it will be pretty. Duke’s offense will have to adapt as Riley Leonard gets his feet under him and the running backs start to flesh out their by-committee approach. Duke’s defense has not improved much but is facing an offense in Temple that was held to single-digit points in half of its games last season. At the end of the day, the Blue Devils, on their home turf and fueled by a culture change and rejuvenated fanbase, will emerge victorious. 

Franck Djidjeu: Duke 35-20

This game will come down to who can adjust to their “new” fastest and best—new coaches and new systems. One will have to kick the other down to start in the right direction. Despite Duke being just as poor in its respective conference as Temple was, the Owls were getting dominated by far worse competition. Mathis may be more experienced than Leonard, but he was far from impressive as last year's starter with just six touchdowns and four interceptions. Both teams have low floors, but Temple’s goes even lower and Duke’s ceiling goes higher. This is a prime opportunity to build early confidence at home for the Blue Devils that will pay dividends moving forward. I think that fire will keep them from another disappointing season opener and give them the win.

Sasha Richie profile
Sasha Richie | Sports Managing Editor

Sasha Richie is a Trinity senior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

Micah Hurewitz

Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity senior and was previously a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

Jonathan Levitan

Jonathan Levitan is a Trinity senior and was previously sports editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

Rachael Kaplan profile
Rachael Kaplan | Sports Managing Editor

Rachael Kaplan is a Trinity junior and sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.

Andrew Long profile
Andrew Long | Sports Editor

Andrew Long is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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