Maryland junior DJ Turner (1) runs the ball through Texas defenders during the Terps' 34-29 win over the Longhorns on Saturday. (Sarah Sopher/ The Left Bench)

Maryland eyes 3-0 start against Temple in first game of season at Maryland Stadium

 

After two victories away from its home stadium to open the season, Maryland (2-0, 0-0) will host Temple (0-2, 0-0) in its first game at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. While the season opener against Texas counted as a “home” game, it was played at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

The Terrapins will be facing off against a Temple team that has lost its first two games of the season – both at home – by a combined nine points. The Owls’ losses came at the hands of Villanova and Buffalo. In those games, Temple has gotten off to a slow start, being outscored in the first quarter by a score of 19-6.

Temple doesn’t feature a particularly potent offense, averaging just 23 points in its first two contests. The longest offensive play the Owls have generated so far is a 35-yard run from senior running back Ryquell Armstead. When matched up against Temple’s defense, Maryland should see similar success running the ball like they did against Bowling Green last week, when the team rushed for 444 yards. Temple’s run defense is ranked 77th in the FBS, with the team giving up 151.5 yards per game.

However, the Owls still do have playmakers that Maryland has to be wary of. Junior wide receiver Isaiah Wright not only lines up out wide, but will line up in the backfield in a Wildcat formation at times. He only has recorded six receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown so far, but he does it all for the Owls, returning kicks and punts as well. Redshirt sophomore wideout Branden Mack currently leads the team with 125 receiving yards and two touchdowns, and redshirt senior Ventell Bryant is top 10 all-time in receptions and receiving yards in Temple football history.

Despite a middling defense and a lackluster offense, Temple has still found other ways to make plays and put points on the board. Against Villanova, the Owls blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown. Last week against Buffalo, Temple returned an interception for a touchdown.

“I think they do a great job, starting with their special teams, their special teams are extremely aggressive,” Maryland interim head coach Matt Canada said. “Defensively, they fly around. They’ve got multiple front packages they use and offense again, they’ve got good weapons. So talent wise, there’s a reason they’ve won ten games [in 2016].”

Another thing to watch for is the weather conditions in College Park. In its opener, Maryland had to wait through an 86-minute weather delay. Last week in Ohio, there was rain in play, which contributed to an emphasized ground attack from Maryland in the second half. The brunt of Hurricane Florence will be making an impact in the Carolinas, but there’s still a chance of rain during game day on Saturday.

“You can’t control the weather so obviously we practice. When it’s wet, we practice in that,” Canada said. “Obviously we have some wet ball drills we’ll do at times if we think that’s necessary. We’ve had two games now where it’s been extremely wet and our kids have handled it.”

A win against the Owls this Saturday would give the team its first 3-0 start since 2016 and a huge boost as it enters conference play the following week.

Kickoff is set for noon at Maryland Stadium and the game will be aired on Big Ten Network.