Keys To The Game

With game day just 24 hours away, it’s time to take a look at the important factors that will influence the game Saturday.

Temple will enter the contest near touchdown underdogs in Vegas and more in the national media. Josh Jackson has the Maryland offense humming and few seem to think it will slow down any time soon.

1.Run and Run some More

If you’re going to represent Temple tuff and Philly Tuff, you better get ready to grind it out. Offensive coordinator Uremovich will have to dial back the play sheet a little. Control the clock. The best defense against Maryland’s offense is to prevent them from having the ball in the first place.

2. Create tUrnovers

In games where Temple has been an underdog, big momentum plays such as turnovers have helped the Owls stay competitive, or even win, during their now decade-long resurgence.

3. Special Teams

A lot of turnover occurred for Temple in the special teams department during the spring/summer. Largely untested against Bucknell, it would be safe to say we still don’t know how Mobley will do this year. LaFree looks solid on kick-offs, hitting a few touchbacks.

A blocked punt or great return game will be a big boost in Temple’s upset bid.

4. Mother nAture

The weather appears to want to cooperate Saturday, but there is increased chance for thunderstorms in the afternoon. If conditions deteriorate or the field itself becomes slippery, and offensive advantage likely slips a few pegs. Keep an eye to the sky on game day.

5. ExPOsing Maryland’s pass defense

Maryland’s LBs looked sharp last week. They were constantly pressuring the QB. The game plan seems obvious, make the opposing QB uncomfortable. Temple can offset the pressure with a balanced attack, some misdirection, screens, etc. Easier said than done of course. Still, the Maryland secondary and LB group has several new faces that have largely been untested. Can they cover a 6’5 TE with 4.6 speed? Kenny Yeboah should be healthy enough to play. Similarly, Isaiah Wright (6’2″) is as dynamic as they get and Branden Mack (6’4″) can create significant matchup problems, if the offense gets rolling.

6. Freshman phenom

Another big game from the talented true freshman Re’Mahn Davis will be just what the doctor ordered. He will of course be splitting time with Gardner and coach Carey said in his conference call that Dobbins is in the mix too. Still, it appears Davis is the most explosive of the 3, but it could’ve been anyone that went off against Bucknell. We need a big game from someone.

7. Mature rUsso

Last but not least, Russo has to play like the star he can be. Everyone sees the big arm NFL potential. This is the type of game to prove it. Play smart, limit big mistakes, and the Owls can win this game.

I believe Maryland’s offense is for real this season. It’s possible Temple will have to trade blows in order to keep up. Josh Jackson and McFarland are as good of a QB-RB duo as they come. Mabry is a good run blocking tight end that has plenty of game experience and is a sneaky pass catcher.

The Owls will have their hands full tomorrow! It should be a good football game.

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