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Zach Pekale | | December 27, 2019

North Carolina vs. Temple: Military Bowl prediction, time, TV channel, preview

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North Carolina (6-6) and Temple (8-4) will meet in the Military Bowl at noon ET on Friday, Dec. 27. Find a prediction, preview and more for the game here.

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North Carolina-Temple: 2019 Military Bowl prediction, preview

Mack Brown made his return to the sidelines for a second stint at North Carolina this year. The Tar Heels return to a bowl game for the first time since 2016 with a 6-6 record after winning five total games in the previous two seasons.

The offense's 469 yards per game ranked 14th in FBS with Sam Howell leading the way at quarterback. Defensively, the program improved over 50 spots between 2018 and 2019 in both scoring defense and rushing defense. They were the only team to play Clemson close and their six losses were by a combined 26 points, none by double digits.

Like North Carolina, Temple is also operating under a first-year coach. Rod Carey led the Owls to eight wins, including one over a ranked opponent en route to the program's fifth consecutive bowl game and ninth postseason appearance overall. Temple's seniors, responsible for 33 wins in four years, will now look to be the first class to lead the Owls to two bowl victories.

On Friday, the two sides meet for the first time ever. Sam Howell and the offense will face Temple's pesky pass defense in what could be the most intriguing matchup of the 2019 Military Bowl.

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Howell is an All-ACC selection and the conference's offensive rookie of the year. But just how good was the Tar Heels' true-freshman signal caller? Take a blind look at his stats compared to that of another successful ACC quarterback.

40 Touchdowns 35
10 INT 7
4,057 Yards 3,347
10.6 Yards per attempt 8.62
66.9 Completion % 60.3

Only two ACC quarterbacks in the past 15 years have finished with 35 or more touchdowns, 10 or fewer interceptions, at least 3,000 yards with a minimum completion percentage of 60 and eight yards per attempt. On the right is Howell. To his left is Jameis Winston's 2013 line, a year he won the Heisman Trophy at Florida State.

Howell's been a beacon of optimism in Brown's return to Chapel Hill. Quarterback is a position with long-term stability for the Tar Heels, but the offensive line is an area that could see some change. The unit has allowed 37 sacks in 2019, a bottom 10 mark among FBS teams.

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Temple may be able to take advantage of North Carolina's offensive line, which has allowed 37 sacks in 2019, a bottom-10 mark among FBS teams. The Owls' 39 sacks are tied for the 10th-best mark in FBS, led by 13 from AAC Defensive Player of the Year Quincy Roche. An imposing pass rush complemented by a stingy secondary allowing 212. 5 passing yards per game might be enough to cause some in-game adjustments by UNC.

North Carolina–Temple: Military Bowl time, TV channel

North Carolina and Temple play at noon ET on Friday, Dec. 27, from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. The game is on ESPN and WatchESPN.

North Carolina-Temple: Stats, how they compare

6-6 (4-4 ACC) Record (Conference) 8-4 (5-3 American)
31.3 Points per game 27.4
24.6 Points allowed 23.5
469 Yards per game 402.
285 Passing ypg 259.8
184 Rushing ypg 142.2
381.6 Yards allowed per game 364.8
232.6 Passing yards allowed 212.5
149 Rushing yards allowed 152.3
Sam Howell
3,347 yards (35 TD, 7 INT)
Passing yards Anthony Russo
2,733 yards (21 TD, 11 INT) 
Michael Carter
919 yards (5.8 per att.), 3 TDs
Rushing yards Re'Mahn Davis
900 yards (5.1 per att.), 7 TDs
Dyami Brown/Dazz Newsome
 947 yards, 11 TD/ 947 yards, 8 TD
Receiving yards Jadan Blue
975 yards, 4 TD
Chazz Surratt
110 tackles, 13.5 tfl, 6 sacks
Defensive leader Quincy Roche
44 tackles, 18 tfl, 13 sacks, 6 PBU

North Carolina-Temple: Prediction

Since Mack Brown originally left North Carolina in 1997, the team has produced three 1,000-yard rushers. On Friday, two more could potentially enter those ranks as Michael Carter and Javonte Williams have 919 and 848 yards respectively. Temple's run defense doesn't have the same firepower as the pass rush, allowing over 150 yards per game. If Carter and Williams are able to set the tone and open up the field for Howell, the Owls might have trouble keeping up offensively.

North Carolina 31, Temple 24

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