It is very solid. They are 5-2, with a loss against Penn State and Toledo. They have a BCS road win against Maryland (38-7, in fact) and their 3 MAC wins were by a score of 117-3. The blemish, and the mystery, is losing by 23 to Toledo in Philly.
How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?
29 which is a pretty high number. They start 8 seniors on offense and 6 on offense.
Pierce is 8th in the nation in rushing and 2nd in scoring. Matt Brown is 15th in kickoff returns. Brown is 3rd in the MAC in punt returns as well, and Whitehead and Robinson are tied for third in the MAC in sacks. Justin Gildea is tied for first in the MAC in INTs. As a team, they are first or second in 11 MAC statistical categories.
What is their turnover ratio?
Temple is +4 which is second in the MAC. They have only 9 turnovers in 7 games.
How is their QB Play?
I think it is good for the roles they call on them for. Chester Stewart is their primary starter and is 3rd in the MAC in passing efficiency. However, he has passed the ball only 61 times this year, however, that is for a 65% completion rate and 14 yards per completion. Gerardi is the other QB, he got most of the snaps in last year's game. Stewart can take off and run.
What is their scoring and yards per play?
They are 3rd in the MAC in scoring at 31 points per game, and tied for 4th in yards per play (5.8).
Can they run the ball?
They have the 8th best running attack in the country, on a yards per game basis. They lead the MAC on that basis, but are third in yards per carry. Pierce averages 5.1 yards per carry and Brown averages 6.2 yards per carry. They have to be licking their chops heading into this week and it will be up to our defense to come up with a performance we have not seen from them yet.
They can. They are committed to the run, but they are good enough to torch you if you put too many guys in the box----which you will.
How is their run/pass balance?
They run on 72% of their plays....an incredible proportion.
Do they convert on 3rd Down?
2nd in the MAC at exactly 50%.
Do they score in the red zone?
They are earning 3.7 red zone trips per game, which is just slightly above average. They score 4.7 points per trip, which is a little above average. They have 5 trips with no points, including 3 missed FGs.
Do they protect the quarterback?
They've only been sacked 10 times, but given how often they pass, that's actually a lot: 7.7% of passing attempts.
Topline: Scoring and yards per play.
They are 2nd in the country in scoring defense and lead the MAC allowing 4.2 yards per play. There's no national ranking for that, but I'm guessing there aren't too many higher.
They lead the MAC allowing only 2.9 yards per carry, which is a HALF-YARD better than the next team. They are 10th in the nation in rush defense.
Could they be passed on?
They also lead the MAC in pass efficiency defense. They allow 54% completions at 10.5 yards per completion.
They lead the MAC, allowing on 31.6% conversion. That is 15th in FBS.
Do they defend in the red zone?
First, they have allowed only 11 red zone trips in 7 games, which is mind-boggling. The next lowest number in the MAC is OU with 19. They have allowed only 7 scores but they are all TDs, so they average out at 4.5 points per trip, which is just OK. In their case, the defend the red zone by keeping you out.
They lead the MAC with 20 sacks...which is 8.7% of overall passing attempts which is very high.
They lead the MAC in punting and are second in net punting.
They are 2nd in the MAC in punt returns.
McManus is 8 of 12 and 6-7 inside 40. His long is 41, no blocks. Very solid.
They are 3rd in the MAC, with an average starting point of the 23. They have 9 touchbacks and no TD returns.
They lead the MAC in this too, averaging a start on their own 36, which is amazing. Brown has a 78 yard return but no TD.
Temple is a 14 point favorite. Very hard to argue with that. They are a very solid team, and, to make matters worse, BG seems to match up very poorly against them. What they do well, we do poorly.
I think Addazio was a great hire for that team. He picked up right where they left off, and has not tried to reinvent the team with his own system. He brought a lot of Gator-trained coaches with him, and it is showing.
Honestly, it isn't that I'm surprised Toledo beat them, just can't see how they did it by 23.
This is an experienced and skilled Temple team. Clearly, if BG is going to compete on Saturday, it will take the best performance they are capable of, especially up front.
If not, it could be a rainy night in Lyndhurst.