Temple will play Duke in the Independence Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 27, in Shreveport, La., getting its wish and that of the American Athletic Conference to play a team from a Power 5 conference. The game will be at 1:30 p.m. and televised by ESPN.
This will be the Owls' fourth straight bowl game and eighth overall.
The Owls are 8-4 and finished second in the American Athletic Conference’s East Division with a 7-1 record, losing only to nationally ranked Central Florida, 52-40.
Duke is 7-5 and finished in sixth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division with a 3-5 mark.
Temple and the AAC wanted the Owls to play a Power 5 school. Last season, Temple beat Florida International, 28-3, in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
Throughout the day, Temple was linked with the Military Bowl, which ended up having Virginia Tech of the ACC facing Cincinnati of the AAC.
“There was a lot of talk about the Military Bowl, and I was probably pushing for the Military Bowl, but I am excited to go to Louisiana and hopefully there will be warm weather,” running back Ryquell Armstead said during a news conference at the practice facility on Sunday night with some of the seniors.
Armstead added that the ankle he tweaked in the Owls' regular-season finale, a 57-7 win at UConn on Nov. 24, is feeling good.
In addition to Armstead, defensive tackle Michael Dogbe, wide receiver Ventell Bryant, safety Delvon Randall, and linebacker Todd Jones appeared in the previous three bowl games.
With 35 wins, the seniors are already part of the winningest class in Temple history. Dogbe redshirted the last time Temple didn’t earn bowl bid. Temple went 6-6 and was bowl-eligible in 2014, but didn’t get the call.
“This means a lot, I think back to freshman year, when we went 6-6 and unable to go to a bowl game, and seeing seniors like Kenny Harper tell us not to let that happen again,” Dogbe said.
Duke is led by 6-foot-5, 220-pound redshirt junior quarterback Daniel Jones, who has thrown for 2,251 yards and 17 TDs.
“He is one of the best quarterbacks in the country,” Temple coach Geoff Collins said in a teleconference with reporters.
Temple starting quarterback Anthony Russo missed the season finale at UConn with a cast on his right hand. Whether he is ready for the bowl remains to be seen.,
“It’s still early,” Collins said. “...There is no update.”
Collins, who hails from Georgia, has had his name linked to the Georgia Tech job, which opened when Paul Johnson stepped down. Not surprisingly, he wanted no part of the topic when asked whether he has had any contact with the ACC school.
“Its the same thing with injuries, I don’t talk about that stuff,” Collins said. “I love being at Temple, love coaching these amazing young men, and so happy to coach them.”