Temple football will take on Maryland in road opener

The Owls head into College Park, Maryland for their first of 19 Power Five matchups over the next 11 years.

Graduate student safety Rodney Williams tackles the University at Buffalo's graduate student wide receiver, George Rushing, in Temple's 36-29 loss on Sept. 8 at Lincoln Financial Field | GENEVA HEFFERNAN/ THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University’s football team will begin a streak of 11 consecutive seasons playing a Power Five opponent on Saturday when it faces Big Ten Conference opponent University of Maryland.

The Owls (0-2) will travel to College Park, Maryland to begin the schools’ home-and-home series. Maryland (2-0) will travel to Lincoln Financial Field next season to conclude the series.

Saturday will mark the first matchup between Temple and Maryland since 2012, when the Terrapins traveled to Philadelphia and won 36-27.

Maryland is listed as a 17-point favorite against Temple on Saturday, according to sportsline.com.

Through their first two games, the Terrapins have gained 972 total yards on offense, including 587 yards rushing. Maryland is also 11-for-27 on third downs. The Owls allowed 832 yards on defense against Villanova and the University at Buffalo and allowed those teams to convert 17-of-33 third down opportunities.

Maryland offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who is filling in as interim coach after DJ Durkin was placed on paid administrative leave by the university before the season, has Maryland off to a hot start. Through the first two games of the season, Canada’s offense was strong, scoring 34 points against the University of Texas on Sept. 1 and 45 points against Bowling Green State University on Saturday.

Against Bowling Green, Maryland ran the football for 444 yards. Senior running back Ty Johnson had 12 touches for 124 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore running back Tayon Fleet-Davis ran the ball 15 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns. The Owls will be without redshirt-junior defensive end Dana Levine and possibly redshirt sophomore Quincy Roche, whose injury status is still in question for Saturday. 

Levine started the Owls’ season-opening loss to Villanova, but he left the game with an injury that will keep him out for 4-6 weeks. He took one of the starting spots vacated by Jacob Martin and Sharif Finch, who are both on NFL rosters. Roche had 11.5 tackles for loss last season to rank second on the team behind Finch.

“[Maryland’s running backs] are very good, they are fast and quick,” senior safety Delvon Randall said. “So we have to come in a wrap-up and finish our tackles.”

Maryland’s offense has been successful in its first two games due to its complex scheme, coach Geoff Collins said.

“I have watched all of their games with [Canada] the last three years, and I don’t know if I have seen the same formation twice,” Collins said. “The second you press play on the film, there is moving, shifting and motioning and motioning again. So it is a lot of eye candy to get you distracted and get you off your keys.”

The Temple News spoke to Harrison Cann, who covers the Terrapins for Maryland’s student newspaper, The Diamondback.

“One reason Maryland was able to pull off a win against Texas was because of its flexibility on offense,” Cann said. “Canada has been aggressive and creative in his play calling, spreading the ball around multiple weapons in our offense. We have a lot of depth at running back, with Johnson and Fleet-Davis leading the way, so I’d expect Maryland to continue pounding the ball on the ground.“

Maryland’s defense has been just as strong as its offense. The Terrapins have recorded 15 tackles for loss, seven sacks and four turnovers.

Redshirt-sophomore center Matt Hennessy said it’s vital for the offensive line to protect graduate student quarterback Frank Nutile on Saturday if the Owls want to win.

“[Maryland] plays a lot of different [fronts], and a bunch of different line movement with different blitzes,” Hennessy said. “It starts with communicating and getting into the right protections. They have great pass rushers across the board, so that is something we have to focus on.”

“We know a few reversed mistakes here and there we could be easily 2-0,” Hennessy added. “So regardless we are trying to fix the mistakes of the past. Every week is its own life. We going to go into this one playing the same way and try to fix the mistakes from the previous week. We know we can have a really great team.”

Temple has eight series scheduled against Power Five schools through 2028. Two of them, a home-and-home with Maryland in 2018 and 2019 and a home-and-home with Boston College in 2018 and 2021, start this season.

In 2019, Temple will host Georgia Tech. In 2020, the Owls will travel to the University of Miami to open their season, and they’ll also start a four-year series with Rutgers University. The Owls will travel to Atlanta to face the Yellow Jackets in 2025.

The Owls will play the University of Oklahoma in 2024, 2025 and 2028, and they’ll have a home-and-home series against in-state rival Penn State in 2026 and 2027. Temple also has a series scheduled with Duke University in 2022 and 2028.

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