This is as close to a rivalry game as UB has developed in the MAC. Temple joined the conference several years ago after getting bounced out of the Big East like Juan Williams out or NPR.
This is UB's last game that I had marked as a 99% loss. But things have changed a bit since September. Firstly Miami is looking solid, we will know even more this week when they take on Ohio. If The Bobcat's expose Miami then order will be restored and I will be fine with this being a 'learning game'.
If, on the other hand, Miami proves to be the equal of the bobcat then UB's final six breaks down this way:
- 3 Should win (Akron, Ball State, EMU)
- 2 Underdog games (Miami, OU)
- 1 Huge underdog game (Temple)
Here are the raw numbers
|Pass Efficiency Defense
|Tackles For Loss
Where are the Owl at:
Well on their way to a second consecutive bowl. Al Golden cant be too long for the owls as he has done about the best turnaround Job in the MAC since Brady Hoke.
Season High Point:
Getting the UConn monkey off their back. The Huskies literally stole a game several years back, and barely escaped last season. Being one of the teams that filled in the gap left by Temple's departure from the BE it had to be pretty fulfilling.
Season Low Point:
I'm going to go with the second half collapse against Penn State (bet you though I was going to say NIU). Fact is, any MAC fan who is honest with themselves would gladly trade a loss to any MAC team (including Akron) for a win against the Penn States of the world.
Do they take care of the Ball?
Yes, they are losing it under two times a game. Only Miami, NIU, and Akron are going any better. The 12 turnovers break down to 7 fumbles and five interceptions.
How is their Passing Offense?
The have been ineffectual, but far less mistake prone than Buffalo. It has been a component of their offense that week in and week out has let them down in one way or another but they are changing QB's from Chester Stewart who 'earned it' to freshman Mike Gerardi seems to be the guy from this point on.
How is their Rushing Offense?
They are ranked 4th in the conference, but they are likely the #2 rushing team in the MAC, next to NIU. Pierce has been banged up (quickly becoming a career theme for him) but Matt Brown has not missed a beat.
How are their Receivers?
Better than in years past but still only a small part of the offense. From the Temple Games I have watched (CMU, NIU, PSU) It is pretty clear that their limited role is because Al Golden likes to ram it down your throat and his QB has been awful.
How about their offensive line?
Superb. Temple is in the top 25 nationally in TFL's given up. While a lot of that has to do with Brown more is due to the huge holes and push off the line that the Owls front five get.
Are they High Powered?
Yes and No... Temple can pile on the points but it has not been with 'big plays'. Temple does a lot of wearing you down, a lot of 6 yard runs on first etc.
How Well do they convert on 3rd?
Temple is in the bottom ten in terms of third down conversions (under 30%). That might be good news were it not for the fact that Temple has faced fewer third downs than all but 26 teams in football. Their production on the ground leads to a lot of conversions on first or second down.
Can their offense close a drive?
In 21 trips to the red zone they have scored 16 times (76% of the time). That's a pretty awful number. They have eleven touchdowns (10 on the ground) and five field goals. Overall their offense is scoring only 64% of the possible points in the zone.
How Good is their defense?
One of the huge rebuilding efforts by Al Golden at Temple has been the defense. Piece got all the preseason press but year after year Temple has one of the best defenses in the MAC. There are two or three guys with a real shot at seeing time on Sundays.
Do they take the Ball Away?
Not really, they are a bottom of pack MAC team in terms of takeaways.
Can they stop the Run?
It's a bit skewed by the fact Chad Span lit them up like a Christmas tree but yes, they have an ok run defense. They are not as intimidating against the run this year as in years past but they can still stop other teams from owning them on the ground.
Can they stop the Pass?
Yes, Temple is one of the top four passing defenses in the conference,
How do they perform on third downs?
Awful, the Owls are giving up almost 50% on third downs. In the conference only Ball State, Bowling Green, Akron, and EMU are doing worse.
How is their red zone defense?
If you get it into the redone chances are you're going to walk away with points. Temple is letting opponents score 85% of the time. but they are stopping foes for a field goal on one third of all scores.
How well do they get after the QB?
Ranked #98 in 1A with just over one sack a game.
Do they get after you in the backfield?
Only four per game, which drops them into the bottom 20 teams in the NCAA.
How is their return game?
James Nixon is pretty dangerous. But so far solid, rather than explosive, describes their return game this season
How well do they defend returns?
Both their punt coverage and kickoff return coverage are in the top 30 of all teams. This is not an easy area to exploit.
How well do they Kick?
Brian "The Leg" McManus is, for the most part a great kicker. He has had a couple of problems here and there (CMU Game comes to mind) but he can kick it from 50+ with great accuracy.
How Well do they Punt?
It's hard to be a whole lot more average than Temple punting the ball. They are 57th nationally but that is with the benefit of a fine coverage team.
How good is Temple on the road?
Their losses this season have both been on the road, last season they lost the MAC East title. They are a difference team on the road then they are at home.
How Big is this game for Each Team?
For Temple this is a depends game. If Miami beats Ohio this game is huge because should the Owls lose then they will not longer control their own destiny in the MAC. If Miami loses then Temple still owns their own shot at the conference.
no matter what anyone else does Buffalo needs a win, badly, and being homecoming and Temple this game is bigger for the Bulls.