Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Sportscapper Island
Temple (8-3) at Miami-Ohio (7-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 23rd, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Yager Stadium (24,286) -- Oxford, Ohio. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Temple 5-1, Miami-Ohio 3-1. Away Record: Temple 3-2, Miami-Ohio 4-3. Neutral Record: Temple 0-0, Miami-Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: Temple 5-2, Miami-Ohio 6-1. Series Record: Temple leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: Miami-Ohio will need some help to claim the East Division of the Mid-American Conference, but before they can rely on Kent State, the RedHawks must host the Temple Owls in a crucial contest this evening at Yager Stadium.
Currently, the RedHawks are tied with Ohio in the division with a 6-1 ledger. However, Ohio defeated coach Mike Haywood's squad earlier this season, so if Miami-Ohio wins Tuesday, the team will still need Kent State to defeat Ohio on Friday.
The Owls were also in the mix for the East Division crown, before the Bobcats put an end to their chances with a 31-23 decision last week at Lincoln Financial Field. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Temple, but for coach Al Golden's squad there is still pride on the line and they will take the field Tuesday as if they still have a chance for the division title. If Temple is to claim a victory it would be the first time in the program's history that a team has won nine games in back-to-back seasons.
The RedHawks have made an impressive turnaround this season, after claiming just one win a year ago. While the RedHawks enter this matchup with a three- game winning streak, they have not made things easy for coach Haywood. After needing a last second field goal to slip past Bowling Green, the RedHawks narrowly defeated the winless Akron Zips by a 19-14 margin this past weekend, giving Miami-Ohio its fourth consecutive road victory.
There is not a deep history between these two schools, as this will be just the fifth all-time matchup. Temple has won three consecutive meetings to take a 3-1 edge over Miami-Ohio, and that includes last year's thrilling, 34-32 decision at Lincoln Financial Field.
It just was not the night for coach Golden's gang against Ohio this past Tuesday. To start off the weather was not exactly ideal, and on top of that, the Owls lost their most electrifying player on the first play of the game. Bernard Pierce, who has battled injuries this year, took a hand off 67 yards down the field on the opening play, and even though the play was called back for a penalty, the biggest loss for Temple was Pierce, who hurt his leg and did not return. Without Pierce the Owls only managed 81 rushing and had to rely on quarterback Mike Gerardi for the majority of the offense, and while the signal-caller did throw for 311 yards and two scores, he was also intercepted twice. Michael Campbell was on the receiving end of both touchdowns and finished the game with 131 yards on 11 receptions. Temple's offense is predicated around the run, as the team is averaging 157.5 ypg, so it is unlikely the team will turn away from what has worked all year. Matt Brown, who struggled against Ohio, has seen the field most of the year because of Pierce's injures and for the most part he has done a solid job, leading the team with 774 yards.
Pierce's injury was not the only big loss for Temple against Ohio, as linebacker Elijah "Peanut" Joseph was carted off the field late in the second half. Joseph, who had six tackles before exiting the game, left a gapping hole in the middle, which Ohio exploited, racking up 204 rushing yards. It was a tough showing for this defense, which for the most part this year has been solid. Defending the run has been an issue at times, and even though coach Golden's squad is allowing 129.2 ypg via the run, this unit is limiting teams to just 3.4 yards per carry. Ohio's game plan worked well against Temple, because trying to pass on this unit is no easy task. Temple comes into this game holding teams to just 180.3 ypg through the air and has surrendered just seven touchdowns, while recording eight interceptions.
It wasn't pretty, but the RedHawks were able to remain in the east division race by narrowly defeating the winless Akron Zips, 19-14. Kicker Trevor Cook, who booted the game-winning kick against Bowling Green the week before, did the most damage for Miami-Ohio, as he connected on four field goals. With quarterback Zac Dysert out, Austin Boucher was called upon to lead the team and the inexperienced signal caller managed the game well, throwing for 213 yards on 22-of-32 passing. However, without Dysert the RedHawks had to rely on their ground game, which has been terrible this year. Fortunately for coach Haywood, the team was finally able to gain some ground with the run, as Thomas Merriweather rumbled for 141 of the team's 185 rushing yards, and also found the end zone once. If Dysert, who has thrown for 2,406 yards and 13 touchdowns, is unable to go, then the RedHawks will need another strong showing from the ground game. However, getting two impressive performance in a row from a team that is averaging just 82.4 rushing yards per game might be asking too much.
What also helped Miami was the fact the defense went against Akron, which has been atrocious offensively. The RedHawks still had some minor problems, but for the most part did a solid job, keeping Akron to just 14 points. It is a bit concerning, however, that Akron was able to rack up 105 yards and two touchdowns on just 23 carries, and if not for a couple key turnovers, this outcome could have been different. Stopping the run has been a problem for this defense all year ,and that does not bode well with Temple on the docket this evening. Through 11 games opponents have churned out 128.7 ypg and have scored 25 rushing TDs against Miami-Ohio.
The RedHawks have slipped through this season by winning close games, but their luck could run out this weekend, especially if Dysert is not on the field. Temple might also be without Pierce, but Brown has played well enough to get the job done, and should be able to run Temple into its bowl game on a winning note.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Temple 27, Miami-Ohio 14