Army enters the game sporting the nation’s best running offense, recording 366.1 yards on the ground per game. Three Black Knights have more rushing yards than Temple’s leading rusher, senior Montel Harris, who has 597 on the season. Army also has one of the nation’s worst passing teams, throwing for 66.1 yards a game. Temple has had shaky quarterback play all season (see below) and will rely on senior running backs Montel Harris and Matt Brown heavily. Both have been hobbled by injury, and may be limited in the contest. Expect sophomore Kenny Harper to get some touches too. Whoever ends up carrying the ball, the Owls will win, or lose, this game on the ground.
2. Front seven play
Army is one of the only teams that cannot exploit the weakest element of Temple’s defense, its secondary. The Owls got torched for passing plays of 65 and 75 yards against Cincinnati, and have blown coverage all year. With freshmen linebackers Nate D. Smith and Tyler Matakevich leading the team in tackles, they will need to be all over the field to stop Army’s offense. If the defensive line and linebackers show up to play against Army, the Black Knights will have trouble moving the ball.
3. Quarterback play
After being pulled from four straight starts, redshirt-junior quarterback Chris Coyer will most likely start on the bench in favor of junior quarterback Clinton Granger. While he did manufacture a touchdown drive in his first series at the helm last week, Granger hasn’t done much to solidify his spot as the consensus starter. If he gets pulled, it will be the fifth straight game the starting quarterback doesn’t finish the contest. Look for Coyer or junior Kevin Newsome to see some time as well as Temple looks to find its long-term answer at the position.
4. What is Temple playing for?
The potential game with Hawaii fell through, meaning the Owls will stick with their 11-game schedule and most likely not make a bowl appearance. With bowl eligibility no longer the table, the players need to prove that they are still playing for, if nothing else, pride. With many roster spots, especially in the secondary and defensive line up for grabs, Temple could be playing more for next year than this year. If they come out flat in their last two games and finish the season on a six-game skid, it will be a very disappointing end to what started out as a promising season.
5. McManus for the record?
One of the best stories of the year from Temple has been senior Brandon McManus. One of the only players in the country who handles all of his team’s kicking duties, McManus has been as consistent as they come. With four points against Army, he will take the title as Temple’s all-time scoring record, breaking the record set last year by Bernard Pierce. To break the record would be a fitting end to a historic career.