Temple looks to keep the momentum going against Maryland

Temple QB Chris Coyer needs to be sharp against the Terrapins.
Temple QB Chris Coyer needs to be sharp against the Terrapins. (DAVID SWANSON / /Staff)
Posted: September 09, 2012

Going in, there was thought that Byrd Stadium would be a hostile environment.

And it was on that September day last year, when Maryland players refused to give Temple its half of the field during pregame warm-ups. Atlantic Coast Conference bravado against non-BCS inferiority, right?

Then the better, tougher, and grittier squad smacked Maryland with punishing play: Owls 38, Terrapins 7.

Temple turned into a national story. Maryland turned into a national punch line.

At the time, Temple's win was being recognized as its biggest since upsetting No. 14 Virginia Tech, 28-24, in Blacksburg, Va., in 1998. Back then, the Owls and the Hokies were both in the Big East Conference.

Before the Maryland upset, Temple was believed to be no better than a "Plan B" option to get back into the league.

As it turned out, Temple officially rejoined the conference in July after spending the last five seasons as a football-only member of the Mid-American Conference.

"Maryland was a big win for us last year," said Owls quarterback Chris Coyer, whose 1-0 squad entertains the Terps (1-0) in Saturday's rematch at Lincoln Financial Field. "And it was really a marker for where we were as a program.

"Going down there was big for our program. It really got us rolling."

Actually, it got the teams rolling in opposite directions.

Several months later, Temple concluded its season with a 37-15 New Mexico Bowl victory over Wyoming, marking the team's first bowl win in 32 seasons.

Meanwhile, last season's Temple-Maryland tilt marked the first of last season's 10 consecutive losses to Football Bowl Subdivision competition for the Terps. Maryland's last win against an FBS opponent came against a shorthanded Miami squad in the 2011 season opener.

As a result, Temple is favored for Saturday's contest. Maryland, on the other hand, is the desperate team playing for respect.

And that concerns Temple coach Steve Addazio.

"Last year, they came off of a big win against Miami," he said. "Maybe they didn't realize that the MAC team that was coming in to play them would play them that hard.

"I don't think this week is the same scenario. They know we are going to come out [to play]. We know they are going to come out."

If not, there could be a repeat of last season but with the roles reversed.

Maryland at Temple

Saturday at noon, Lincoln Financial Field

TV/Radio: ESPNU; WPEN-AM (950).

Coaches: Maryland, Randy Edsall (second season, 3-10); Temple, Steve Addazio (second season, 10-4).

Series: Maryland leads, 6-1, having last won, 38-7, in 2005 at the Linc. The Owls won last season, 38-7.

Betting line: Temple by 10.

Three Things To Watch

Will Temple use running back Montel Harris, who is overcoming a sore hamstring? And if so, how effective will the Boston College transfer be against Maryland?

Addazio said the Owls will be more balanced than last week's 47-rush, 11-pass outing against Villanova. But how effective will the passing game be? After completing his first three passing attempts, Temple quarterback Chris Coyer completed just two of his last eight.

Can Maryland true freshman quarterback Perry Hills regroup from last week's dismal game? The Pittsburgh native had three interceptions in last week's 7-6 victory over William & Mary.

Three Things You Might Not Know

Owls running backs coach Tyree Forman played running back at Virginia from 1997 to 2001. During that time, Maryland running backs coach Andre Powell served as the Cavaliers running backs/special teams coach.

Temple has 12 players from the state of Maryland, while the Terrapins have nine players from Pennsylvania. Maryland freshman tight end P.J. Gallo played at Council Rock South High School.

The average margin of victory in these teams' last three meetings is 28 points. Maryland defeated Temple by 45-22 in 2004 and by 38-7 in 2005. The Owls flipped things by winning, 38-7, last season. - Keith Pompey

Contact Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939 or kpompey@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @pompeysgridlock. Read his blog, "Owls Inq," at www.philly.com/owlsinq

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