Temple football’s game at Orange Bowl Stadium against Miami, the top-ranked team in the nation, Saturday will be the closest they will get to a bowl game this season.
On paper and statistically, the Owls (2-5, 1-3 Big East) don’t have a shot. In reality, they still don’t stand a chance against a team that is on a national best 16-game winning streak.
The Hurricane (6-0, 3-0) team features one of the nation’s best quarterbacks in junior Heisman candidate Ken Dorsey.
Dorsey is the offensive leader of the team and has thrown for nearly 500 yards and six touchdowns against Temple in his career. He carries a school record streak of 22 consecutive games with a touchdown pass.
Dorsey gets all of his receivers, backs and ends involved in the game. Tight end Jeremy Shockey has 22 receptions and wide receiver Andre Johnson has a team-high 36 catches and six touchdowns.
The Hurricanes also have a solid running game with Clinton Portis who averages 93.7 yards a game.
What is impressive about Miami isn’t just offense. The Miami defense also reveals an opposing team’s weaknesses.
They have a solid defensive front line and a fast and punishing secondary, which is probably the nation’s best.
The secondary is anchored by strong safety Edward Reed, free safety James Lewis and cornerback Phillip Buchanon, who have a combined 11 interceptions amongst them.
Temple Head Coach Bobby Wallace knows the task at hand will be tough, but wants his players to go out and play their hardest.
“I don’t even care who wins,” Wallace said. “When we walk into the dressing room after the game all I care is if we played as hard as we could play, as smart as we could play and as good as we could play.”
He wants them to give it their best shot, give it all they got. Besides, it’s not like they have anything to lose.
“I’m not mad at this football team,” Wallace said. “There’s no way to be mad at a bunch of guys who are going out and playing their hearts out.”
But he has to be frustrated.
This is a very talented football team that has the second best rushing defense in the conference and 20th in the nation surrendering 107.4 yards a game.
Defensive tackle Dan Klecko headlines the defense after coming off solid performances against Syracuse and Pitt, and has already been named Big East Defensive Player of the Week.
The Owls will also rely on specialist Chonn Lacey who has seen time on both sides of the ball as well as special teams.
If you’re a Temple fan, quit complaining about how the game isn’t worth seeing and pay close attention to all of the featured match-ups: Quarterback Mike McGann against one of the nation’s top defenses; wide receiver Sean Dillard lining up against the ‘Cane’s outstanding secondary; Klecko and Raheem Brock trying to get past Miami’s offensive line (one of the best in the nation); and if Tanardo Sharps can gain some yards against a defensive line that has allowed only 65 points this season.
The scoreboard might be ugly, but as long as the team works their hardest and lays it all on the line, then there is nothing to be ashamed of, according to Wallace.