Temple’s 36-27 loss to Maryland on Sept. 8 was marred by miscues. As a result, the Owls (1-1) went from being recognized as a team on the rise to a squad with major problems.
But that was 11 days ago. After a bye week, Temple has had plenty of time to improve before facing Penn State on Saturday.
Here are five things that must happen for the Owls to beat the Nittany Lions (1-2).
1. More offensive balance: The Owls have several four- and five-receiver offensive sets. Yet, it’s hard to tell. Temple has run the ball 74.7 percent of the time through two games. That works against teams unable to stop the run. But Penn State is not one of those teams. The Owls must throw the ball.
2. Running backs need to be healthy. With the time off, word out of Edberg-Olson Hall is that Montel Harris (sore hamstring) and Matt Brown (sprained ankle) are healed. That’s a good thing. Temple needs Brown’s big-play potential and Harris’ rugged running style.
3. Defense has to limit big plays. The defense gave up big plays in a season-opening victory to Villanova, and did the same against Maryland. The Owls allowed 11 plays of 21 yards or more in the two contests. Temple must limit those gains.
4. Deon Miller has to have a bigger impact. Miller had been dealing with lingering effects of a viral infection suffered during training camp. Prior to the illness, he was expected to take some pressure of Temple’s running game. Miller hasn’t done that. In fact, the Virginia native has yet to catch his first pass of the season. If he truly is healthy, the Owls needs to get him involved in the offense.
5. Discipline must improve. The Owls were extremely undisciplined against the Terps, being called for four personal fouls. One of the penalties was extremely avoidable. Sean Daniels hit Maryland’s Stefon Diggs a few steps out of bounds on a punt return. The Owls must be more aware of their surroundings and be more disciplined.