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Temple looks to stop No. 21 Maryland’s high-scoring offense

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The Owls won last year’s meeting at Maryland, but this Terps team is not nearly the same.

NCAA Football: Temple at Maryland Art Pittman-USA TODAY Sports

Date:Saturday, September 14, 2018

Kickoff Time: 12:00 p.m. ET

Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Watch: CBS Sports Network

All-Time Series: Maryland leads series, 7-2

Last Meeting: 9/15/18. Temple 35 - Maryland 14

Betting Lines: Maryland -7.5 O/U 66.5


Maryland Terrapins Outlook

The Terps are one of the biggest surprises in all of college football. They demolished Howard in Week 1, 79-0, and while impressive, it was widely considered that this was the classic case of a FBS program beating up on a FCS team. What few expected was the Terrapins blasting No. 21 Syracuse, 63-20, for the most points Maryland has ever scored against a ranked opponent.

To say this Maryland squad is different from last year’s bunch that could barley get anything going against Temple is an understatement. They have a new quarterback in Josh Jackson, the Virginia Tech transfer that has thrown seven touchdown passes in the first two games, and Mike Locksley, the new face of the Terrapins after a tumultuous period under previous head coach D.J. Durkin. The duo has led Maryland to score at least 56 points in consecutive games for the first time in program history, and Maryland is ranked for the first time since 2013. They are No. 21 in the AP Poll and No. 25 in the Coaches Poll heading into this matchup.

Jackson has been dynamic for Locksley and offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery, the former ECU head coach, but the ground game has been the catalyst for Maryland’s electrifying start. They are rushing for 335.5 yards per game at a whopping 7.2 yards per carry. It’s not just one guy, either, as Anthony McFarland, the team leader in rushing touchdowns, ranks fourth on the team in rushing yards.

The Terps are one of seven Big Ten teams in the rankings, and a win this week would likely set up a matchup between two ranked teams when they take on Penn State at Maryland Stadium in Week 4. They have to get thought the team just up north I-95 first, who also have no love lost for those at State College.

Temple Owls Outlook

Temple had their way in the regular season opener, defeating Bucknell, 56-12. It was an opportunity to the Owls to introduce their new-look offense against a FCS opponent, and it couldn’t have gone any better for the cherry and white. They put up 695 total yards of offense, and outside of Anthony Russo’s pick-six for the Bison only points, it was a nearly flawless afternoon on both sides of the ball.

Rod Carey had an extra week to prepare for Maryland as the Owls had a bye in Week 2, and the coaching staff had to come away a bit stunned with how Maryland dissected Syracuse. Temple’s strength in recent years has been their defense, and they have a tall task ahead in stopping the top scoring offense in college football. Maryland posted 354 yards and six touchdowns on the ground last week against Syracuse, while Temple held Bucknell to just 21 rushing yards in their opener. Something will have to give this week.

Temple will also need to slow down the Maryland passing attack as Jackson has only been sacked once this season. One of the keys to last season’s win at Maryland was recording seven sacks, recovering two fumbles and picking off two passes. The end result was the Terrapins offense only totaling 63 yards passing. It will be vital for Quincy Roche and the rest of the Owls pass rush to keep Jackson under pressure.

Russo made his first career start in the meeting at Maryland last season, and another win this year will have implications in the national polls, as well as in recruiting. Several members of the Owls hail from the DMV area, including Jadan Blue, William Kwenkeu and Roche to name a few. Another strong showing from Russo this week should keep this game closer than many around the country expect.

Prediction

There are a lot of similarities from last season heading into this matchup. Maryland was 2-0, defeating a ranked Texas team in the process, and a two-touchdown favorite against Temple. Fast forward to 2019, the Terps are getting a lot of love for beating a ranked Syracuse team, and are the favorite once again, this time on the road.

The Owls came away with a convincing 35-14 win last season, but it’s hard to imagine a repeat of that performance. Maryland has shown major improvements on both sides of the ball. We still have some things to learn about Temple after one win over a FCS opponent. Both teams are fielding new head coaches. This really is a toss up as the outcome can go either way.

Maryland has lost four straight games on the road, and Temple has covered 11 of their last 14 games as a home underdog, with six outright wins. We are the SB Nation site representing the Owls so let’s go with the upset win for Temple.

Temple 35 - Maryland 31