Temple really beat down Maryland last year in what at the time was a fairly surprising result (38-7) to me at the time. Temple only threw 9 times all day and nearly ran the ball for 300 yards and they were able to dominate Maryland physically up front. From that domination Temple has lost all 5 TD’s (NFL draftee RB Bernard Pierce) as well as 4 of the 5 big uglies up front that cleared the way. Against a powerhouse or big conference program that might not be a big issue, but my gut feeling is that Temple is going to have a hard time replacing that production.
I like this UMd defensive group overall and I feel like Vellano and co. have an outstanding chance of dominating up front. Maryland held a lot of players out last week due to slow-healing injuries, and while they will still miss a few guys (notably Kenny Tate) they will be a deeper team this week. Temple is really a run-first team (only 1 game under Adazzio so far with more than 20 passes) so the battle upfront is critical for the Terps. RB Matt Brown is talented but I feel he is not an every down back and the depth behind him is a large question mark. If Maryland neutralizes the run to the degree that I expect them too I just don’t know where the offense for the Owls comes from. Montel Harris was an all-ACC running back for BC who could also be a factor, but he has a poor health record and is already nursing a hamstring injury.
Temple is replacing 5 of their top 6 tacklers from last year though and a couple of all-MAC players on the defensive front. Offensively I look for Maryland to work to establish the run and take as much pressure off of their rookie QB Hills as possible. Villanova hit the Owls for nearly 5.0 ypc last week (they also outgained and out-FD’ed Temple though that is a bit misleading in a blowout) and Maryland should also be able to have some success up front against a defense replacing some serious talent on the edges. When UMd does have to throw look for them to work the intermediate routes and test a linebacking corp that is pretty raw.
I’m still relatively high on Maryland this year compared to the expectations of Joe Blow, though it remains to be seen how well they replace QB Brown. Don’t laugh, but I think Maryland can win this game.