Where are the Owls at:
As a program the Owls seemed to be on the verge of something great (just like they seemed to be on the verge last season) but a first week loss to Villinova cast doubt on some high expectations. If the Owls don't produce a winning record this season they may not be able to hold onto the recruiting gains of the past several years, how much longer can Al Golden sell temple if they are mired in sub 500 seasons. Unless they make some noise, quickly, in conference play they Owl's are staring at another 'could have been' season. Certainly not what the Temple was expecting when they broke the bank to hire Golden four years ago.
Last Seasons High Point:
The week one thrashing of Army: the Owls looked great in their opener. Temple jumped all over the Black Knights taking a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Owls returned the second half kickoff 98 yards to make it 28-0. It was the best all around performance Temple would manage last season.
Last Seasons Low Point:
Need I say more
Do they take care of the Ball?
If week one is any indication no, they don't. If their second game against Penn State is an indication then yes, they do. Last season the averaged just over two turnovers per game and that was with DiMichele, who only put up 6 pics all year, at the helm. This year Vaughn Charlton has already thrown three interceptions in two games. If the defense has recaptured their ability to take the ball away Temple should give up, at least, a couple of turnovers.
How is their Passing Offense?
They are better than their numbers, Charlton had a hard assignment against PSU and his receivers did not help him any. A vastly improved performance over his week one debacle shows that Maybe he was the right choice. But he is going to have to prove that he can do it consistently and he is going to need help from his receivers to do it.
How is their Rushing Offense?
Pretty bad, as a team they are managing just three yards a carry, they have a hand full of fumbles, and their longest rush of the season is 22 yards. They are ranked 9th in the MAC rushing only and have generated only one touchdown in two games.
How are their receivers?
So far they have disappointed, losing Francis (produced 13 of their 22 touchdowns last season) seems to have left a bigger gap than people first thought. The drops, and poor play against Penn State has to stick somewhere in Charlton's mined every time he drops back.
They are a fast unit so *if* they can start to catch the ball they might give UB fits in the middle of the field.
How about their offensive line?
Temple has never been about offense, yes they have a barn burner here or there (like EMU last season) but on the whole they try to be the better defense on the field and keep away from mistakes while on offense. Because of this their OL gets away with being rather underwhelming. Last season they did not do a good job opening up holes or protecting DiMichele who was beat up pretty badly through his Temple career.
Are they High Powered?
No, once in a while they can put out a burst or a big play but they are defiantly a take what you will give them offense. That bodes well for them as UCF demonstrated just what a patient low key offense can do to the Bulls.
How Well do they convert on 3rd?
So far, like last season, they are about 4/10 on third downs. If the UB defense is ever going to get better on third downs (ranked 112th nationally) now is a good time to start.
Can their offense close a drive?
so far this season they have *1* touchdown in six attempts, in all fairness to most of the offense much of that is due to two dropped touchdown passes last Saturday. But last season they did not fair a whole lot better getting only ten touch downs on nearly 40 attempts.
How Good is their defense?
Nationally they were pretty bad last year, though as far as MAC defenses go they were the third best scoring defense. Al Golden always does a good job getting good defensive recruits and usually his defense are, among MAC members, respectable units. This year they have not played up to their usual level.
Do they take the Ball Away?
No better than Buffalo, two turnovers on the year is a disappointment for the Owls but with the Bulls handing out footballs like its going out of style the Owls may try to use this game to start correcting that.
Can they stop the Run?
Not against Penn State, but they did do a decent job against the wildcats in week one and they completely shut down UB last season. They do a good job pressuring the play in the backfield so its rather unlikely UB will be able to test the corners much.
Can they stop the Pass?
Not at all well, as Mike Gibson from TFF
pointed out Temple has real problems with quarterbacks who can fake pump, then release quickly and Maynard has a very fast release.
How do they perform on third downs?
A bit better than Buffalo, they are stopping teams 42% of the time and given the level of competition they have played that's not at all bad. Penn State did plenty of damage with a more than 50% conversion rate but the Owls were respectable against Villenova holding the FCS school to 33%.
How is their red zone defense?
So far they have not stopped anyone from scoring but they have held teams to only two touchdowns on nine attempts, 3.8 points per trip is not all that bad.
How well do they get after the QB?
When they decide its worth the effort Temple can manage a formidable pass rush. They put quite a bit of pressure on Daryll Clark last week and I think its fair to say the PSU line is superior to the the Bulls.
Do they get after you in the backfield?
They are ranked in the top 20 nationally, they will be putting backfield pressure on both the rush and the pass early and often throughout the game. This is going to be a good test for the OL at how well it will handle the MAC defensive lines this year.
How is their return game?
Mixed, their Kickoff return game is pretty good, near the top quarter of all FBS school, their punt return game is near the bottom third.
How well do they defend returns?
They have an excellent put return defense, just .67 yards per return but their kickoff coverage is very suspect. Temple is giving up 25 yards per kickoff so it may be a good week for the Bulls to start playing sound special teams.
How well do they Kick?
Its too early to really know how good the Kickers are, neither has a huge body of work to go off of, but so far the Owls look good. Brandon McManus is 3/3 on field goals.
How Well do they Punt?
Like place kicking, Temple has not done too much work punting the ball. They are putting the ball near 40 years a pop but how well that holds up as the season wears on is not really clear.
How does Temple do in conference?
Temple did a nice job knocking off the bottom feeders last year. The beat Miami / EMU, and they kicked Akron in the ribs when they were down in week 13. Other than that they struggled. A conference record of 4-4 is bad enough but when you look at the combined W/L of the teams they did defeat (14-34) it becomes clear that temple has elevated themselves only to the middle of the Pack. They have yet, under Al Golden to beat a MAC team with a winning record.
How Big is this game for Each Team?
Its huge for both, nobody wants to go into week four with three losses! The loser of this game may put a winning season out of reach, the winner will challenge either Bowling Green, Ohio, or Both for the East.
Its probably a little bigger for Temple as they have not yet won a game and playing home games with nothing to show for it may be a real emotional blow to the team.