Owls start MAC play against defending champs

The Buffalo Bulls, who defeated the Owls last season on a Hail Mary, visit the Linc Saturday.

The Buffalo Bulls, who defeated the Owls last season on a Hail Mary, visit the Linc Saturday.

After a crushing season-opening loss to Villanova and domination by Penn State, the Owls return to Lincoln Financial Field Saturday, Sept. 26, in pursuit of their first win of the season against Mid-American Conference rival Buffalo. Here are three things to watch from each team as the Owls look for win No. 1 this season.

Will revenge be served?: Last season produced a number of painful losses, highlighted by a last-second loss at Buffalo. Then senior quarterback Drew Willy completed a 35-yard touchdown pass around a number of Temple defenders as time expired. Temple lost, 30-28, on its way to a three-game losing streak.

While the numbers from Saturday weren’t that impressive, redshirt junior quarterback Vaughn Charlton showed his character. After three interceptions to open the season, Charlton did not turn over the ball. He also had sophomore wide receiver James Nixon open on a long touchdown pass, but Nixon could not corral the ball.

While five turnovers cost the Owls against Villanova, it was the yellow flags that hurt them Saturday, Sept. 19 at Penn State. Temple was called for eight penalties for 65 yards. Two penalties on the Owls’ first scoring drive hurt their touchdown chances, and two more, including a roughing the punter penalty on a fourth-and-16 play, prolonged a Penn State scoring drive that ultimately put the game out of reach at 31-6.

Looking to repeat: Buffalo ended its 2008 season on a 5-1 streak, which earned the Bulls a trip to Detroit. There, they beat Ball State in the MAC Championship. That victory put them in the International Bowl, where they lost to Connecticut. The Bulls visit the Linc with a 1-2 record, with a win against the University of Texas-El Paso and losses to Pittsburgh and Central Florida.

New arm under center:
Willy’s graduation leaves sophomore Zach Maynard as the man at quarterback for the Bulls. Maynard is a dual threat who can beat a team through the air and on the ground. In three games this season, Maynard has thrown six touchdowns, including four in the loss to Pittsburgh.

Senior wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt broke school records and Owl fans’ hearts last season. Roosevelt set Buffalo records with 104 catches, 1,402 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also caught the 35-yard touchdown pass as time expired to shock Temple. Roosevelt is off to a strong start in 2009 with 325 yards and three touchdowns in three games.

Pete Dorchak can be reached at pdorchak@temple.edu.

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