The Teams: Maryland Terrapins (1-0) v. Temple Owls (1-0)
The Site: Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Time: 12 pm EST
TV, Radio, Internet: ESPNU, WTEM (980 AM)/WJZ (105.7 FM)
The Coaches: Randy Edsall (3-10 career at Maryland), Steve Addazio (10-4 career at Temple)
The History: Maryland has only lost once out of seven tries against the Owls, with the latest being a 38-7 stinker in College Park, Md.
After a less-than-stellar 7-6 opening win against the William & Mary Tribe, the Terrapins set their sails toward Philaelphia, Pennsylvania in hopes of exacting a bit of revenge on the Temple Owls. Last year, the Owls came into the Byrd House an trashed the Terrapins (pause as it dawns on me that Owls won in Byrd Stadium) 38-7 in a game that coach Edsall would like to forget. The Owls no longer have Bernard Pierce, the guy who rushed for a yard shy of 150 yards and 5 touchdowns against Maryland, but that does not make them any less potent as a running team. Last week, they racked up 41 points against Villanova, and look to maintain that momentum.
Meanwhile in Terrapin town, true freshman quarterback Perry Hills struggled to put seven points on the board against an FCS opponent. Four turnovers (three alone were committed by Hills) doomed the offense and killed drive after drive in Tribe territory. The passing game was so bad that the running game suffered as well, until of course Justus Pickett carried the ball into the end zone on a late fourth quarter run. Maryland wants this win, but they may have to overachieve a bit to get it given their low expectations.
Key Questions and Storylines
1.) Revenge, thy name is Testudo!
Is revenge not the best motivator in all of sports? If that’s the case, then the Terrapins might have a bit of an edge despite this game being in Philadelphia. That home stinker against a team the Terrapins were previously undefeated against left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth last year, and I don’t think that defense has forgotten one bit. Seniors Demetrius Hartsfield and Joe Vellano certainly haven’t, and I fully expect them to come out strong and stuff any running game that Temple will try to establish. They gave up five touchdowns on the ground last year, and face yet another Temple team that is going to try and attempt the same thing. Hartsfield and Vellano will have to lay the hurt on a 5’5 160lb tailback in Temple’s Matt Brown in order for Maryland to make this game close.
While Randy Edsall may not be the best motivator, he is familiar with Big East foes and will have his Terrapins very prepared for this game. I know, the same could be said for last year, but I think this time the Owls will not be sneaking up on a Maryland team still reeling from a close loss against West Virginia.
2.) Where has all the offense gone? (A ballad that goes to the song “Where have all the Cowboys Gone” by Paula Cole)
Do Do Do, Do Do Do, Do Do Do, Do Do Do
Oh I hope you’re ready, cause that 7-6 baby?
It might mean that you will get filleted.
The three turnovers last week, almost made us dead meat.
If passing were a job, you wouldn’t get paid!
We could do more scoring, without picks, Mr. Hills…
Where are my touchdowns?
How ’bout short completions?
Where is that run-ning game?
Where has all the offense goone?
Do Do Do, Do Do Do, Do Do Do, Do Do Do
Why don’t we just stop throwing?
And get the run game going?
Villanova rushed for 212 last week.
Pickett is a weapon,
Wes Brown is a threat and,
Albert Reid may be, so to speak.
Please no more bubble screens, to get Stefon Diggs killed….
Where is my play action?
Where is the option run?
Why can’t we move the football?
Where has all the offense gone??????
Do do do, do do do, do do do, do do do
(That’s all I’ll give for now…I think we get the point)
3.) Can Maryland stop Temple’s running game?
The Terrapin defense is going to have its hands full with this Temple offense. They routed Villanova last week despite completing only five passes. I expect them to throw more, but it’s tough to argue that their running game is where they bring home the bacon. Quarterback Chris Coyer rushed for 80 yards last week, and is a surprisingly strong guy with some decent straight ahead speed. He can outrun linebackers, and forcing him to pass needs to be a top priority for the Terps. I personally don’t have a lot of faith in his ability to pass, but the Temple coaching staff will have an interesting game plan in trying to mask that.
In the backfield the Owls have Matt Brown, a small but speedy player who can make defenders miss a lot. The defensive line needs to make contact with him early because he has breakaway speed, but lacks the weight to withstand a pounding. He isn’t an up-the-gut runner, so containing his long runs around the edge has to happen for Maryland to stifle their offense. They will be without senior Montel Harris again, it looks like, which is a good thing since he has a history of abusing Maryland defenses.
A few numbers
- Temple lost the yardage game against Villanova last week 365-362, but got helped by two forced turnovers.
- Randy Edsall is 3-3 against Temple since Connecticut turned D1 and from his time at Maryland.
- Maryland gets back Keith Bowers and Isaiah Ross on the defensive line, which should add some much needed depth
- Lincoln Financial Field seats a little over 68K