Even with a solid tailback in Bernard Pierce, Temple’s success depends on its passing game.
Without a passing game, the Owls (2-1) won’t win the Mid-American Conference title. Nor will they beat Maryland in College Park, Md., this upcoming Saturday.
“We are going to make sure that we are balanced,” said Temple coach Steve Addazio, whose offense struggled in Saturday’s 14-10 setback to Penn State.
“And we can play the game in balance,” Addazio added, “so the defense has to play the [whole] field.”
The Nittany Lions didn’t do that.
Instead, they stacked the line of scrimmage to take Pierce out of the game. That left several opportunities for Temple quarterbacks Mike Gerardi and Chester Stewart. However, neither one delivered.
Gerardi completed 9 of 22 passes for 95 yards. Penn State capitalized on his second interception in as many fourth-quarter drives. Twelve plays later, Mike Zordich’s 1-yard scoring drive was the Nittany Lions winning touchdown.
Stewart was 3 of 6 with 28 yards passing. Three of his last four pass attempts were incompletions.
“We needed to be able to throw the ball to win the game,” Addazio said. “We had to be able to complete some quick game drop-backs. They were sitting on us a lot.”
The Owls also needed to complete more passes down the field. And they needed to be successful with their play-action.
“And we did not execute that,” Addazio said. “That didn’t happen.
“You can pack the box so much, but at some point, you have to be able to do that. We didn’t get that done.”
They’ll need to get it done against the Terrapins in order to win Saturday.
Judging by Addazio’s comments, finding a balanced offense, and someone to lead it, are the Owls top priorities.
“We are going to find the best way for Temple,” he said. “We are going to make sure we come back out and we can play.”