Temple vs. Ball State keys to the game

INDIANAPOLIS – Temple will try to spoil Ball State’s homecoming on Saturday in a Mid-American Conference game.  The Cardinals (3-2, 1-0) will look to avenge their 2009 setback to the Owls (3-2, 1-1). Here are a few keys to the game.

For Temple:

  1. Establish the run game. The Owls would love nothing more than to run tailback Bernard Pierce until his cleats fall off.  And why not?  Ball State is giving up an average of 207 rushing yards per game. The Cardinals even yielded 402 to Army. And the Black Knights don’t have a running back of Pierce’s caliber. Temple needs to keep calling the junior’s number.
  2. Harass Keith Wenning. This is something a lot of teams haven’t had success doing. And that’s a big reason why the sophomore quarterback has only been sacked four times this season. Coming off last week’s less-than-stellar performance at Oklahoma, Wenning’s confidence might take a hit with another rough start. That’s why the Owls need to go after the quarterback.
  3. Dominate special teams.  Whether it was a long return or a blocked punt, the Owls won the special teams battle in the first four games. Temple needs to come up with a big special teams moment to set the stage and ignite the team.

For Ball State:

  1. Keep testing Temple’s cornerbacks.  The Owls are known for giving up big pass plays. Temple’s corners have given up long completions and underneath routes. The Cardinals could take advantage of that and get big plays in the pass game.
  2. Get Wenning comfortable. That means keeping Temple defensive end Adrian Robinson and linebacker Tahir Whitehead away from the signal caller. If he’s not touched, Wenning has the ability to pick the Owls apart by distributing to various difference receivers.  If he does that, Temple could be in some trouble.
  3. Get Jahwan Edwards going.  The running back was slowed a little bit at Oklahoma, but there is no question that he can help Ball State’s offense get going with his big-play ability.