Temple University was a member of the Big East Conference from 1991 to 2004 and was recently added back to the league as a result of conference instability. Temple was an emergency addition for 2012 after West Virginia accepted an invitation to the Big 12 in October of last year. Temple took some time to regroup in their 7 year absence from Big East play and really struggled to find its footing in 2005 finishing 0-11, but the program made bold progress under former Head Coach Al Golden (now HC for the Miami Hurricanes). TU went 1-11 in 2006, 4-8 in 2007, 5-7 in 2008, 9-4 in 2009, and 8-4 in 2010.
When Al Golden elected to make a move to Miami, he didn’t know about the impending investigation at the school OR the fact that Temple would get an invite out of the MAC and into the Big East. Such information might have kept Golden at the school (or gone elsewhere), and not receiving a bowl bid despite being 8-4 likely contributed to his decision. Temple then made a great another hire in Florida Offensive Coordinator Steve Addazio and in their final year in the MAC the Owls went 9-4 and won the New Mexico Bowl easily over Wyoming. In 2012, the school took a sudden leap in competition but they haven’t embarrassed themselves while currently 3-4. The Owls do have 2 conference wins over South Florida and UConn (OT).
The thing about Temple is that they really have everything in place to build a competitive football program. The Owls play in Lincoln Financial Field and practice in Edberg Olson Hall. I’m sure an indoor facility would be great this week considering Hurricane Sandy, but the facilities at Temple are more than suitable for top-level football. But the best thing Temple has going for them is their location. Philadelphia is a particularly dense city and is very similar to the recruiting advantages that Rutgers enjoys. You are talking about Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Baltimore, District of Columbia, and New York. There are more than enough players to choose from to play high level football in that area.
The Cards and Owls have met 5 times and the Owls own the series advantage 2-3. The Cards have won the two most recent match-ups in 2003 & 2006, with the Cards dropping the first three games in the series in 1980, 1982, and 1983. This year the Owls have had some relative success considering their jump in competition boasting wins over FCS Villanova and Big East foes South Florida and UConn. The 4 losses were a 9-point loss to Maryland, 11-points on the road against Penn State, 25-points against ranked Rutgers, and 30-points on the road at Pitt.
The last meeting was really a lopsided affair. In 2006 the Owls were in the middle of winning just 1 game out of 23 in a two-year span while the Louisville Cardinals were steaming towards a Big East Championship, Orange Bowl Berth, and a final ranking of 6 or better in every major college football poll. The game at Lincoln Financial Field saw the Cards roll up 671 yards of offense while allowing just 230. Many Cardinal fans likely do not remember the game as it was the second game of the season, on the road, and while the fan base was still reeling following Michael Bush’s broken leg suffered during the 2nd half of the Governor’s Cup.
In the 2006 match-up, the usual suspects from that team shined. Brian Brohm threw for 307 yards before giving way to Hunter Cantwell, while the Cards used 6 different running backs (Kolby Smith, Sergio Spencer, Stripling, Anthony Allen, Brock Bolen, and Deriontae Taylor) and an offensive lineman (Kurt Quarterman) to rush for 312 yards and 7 TDs. Mario Urrutia and Harry Douglas also had big days through the air. Will Gay came down with an INT, Abe Brown had 7 tackles, Zach Anderson, Nate Harris, LT Walker, Malik Jackson, and Latarrius Thomas all had sacks. It was a dominant performance by the Cards and was the second step of a long march towards elite football.
|Strength of Schedule (Congrove)
|Scoring Offense (ppg)
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|Passing Offense (ypg)
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|Scoring Defense (ppg)
|Total Defense (ypg)
|Passing Defense (ypg)
|Rushing Defense (ypg)
|First Downs (per game)
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|Turnover Margin (season)
|Time of Possession
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|Sacks Allowed (per game)
|Tackles for Loss (per game)
|Tackles for Loss Allowed (per game)
|Passes Defended (per game)
|Fumbles Recovered (season)
|Fumbles Forced (season)
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|3rd Down Conversions (%)
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|Punt Returns (ypr)
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|Kicks/Punts Blocked (season)
Louisville Offense vs. Temple Defense
You can’t get started talking about an offensive/defensive match-up when dealing the Louisville Cardinals without starting with Teddy Bridgewater. The Sophomore with 5 games remaining in the 2012 season is ALREADY #10 All-Time on the Louisville Career Yardage with 4385 total yards (146 rushing) in his short career. Bridgewater has thrown for 2110 yards and 13 TDs during the 2012 and has shown the past two weeks his ability to be ‘clutch’ in late-game situations despite conditions.
Since the Pitt game, South Florida & Cincinnati decided to take away the Cardinal running game limiting Cardinal running backs to just 56 yards against the Bulls and just 110 against the Bearcats. It’s a choice that every team MUST decide to make. Teams can either A) try and take away the passing game and give more space to the run or B) bring pressure and snuff out the run and maybe hit Teddy Bridgewater. Personally I think opponent’s do have the best chance at beating UofL with option B, BUT Bridgewater is extremely effective at making subtle moves in the pocket, rolling out and stringing out plays while avoiding pressure and finding the open receiver. Bridgewater’s ability to move (not really run downfield as much) provides Louisville with an answer to really any defensive adjustments that a team could make. Personally I think the best way to beat UofL is to continually change alignments, fronts, pressures, and schemes. You simply can not allow Teddy Bridgewater to get comfortable.
The first line of defense for Temple starts at Nose Tackle, Levi Brown (6-2, 300, Jr.). Brown takes up space directly up the middle and does a nice job of holding double teams and making tackles considering his primary responsibility. At 3 technique Shahid Paulhill (6-3, 288, Jr.), should be more active, and as a result Hershey Walton (6-4, 290, R-Fr.) gets a lot of clock in what is really a 3-man rotation at DT for the Owls. None of these guys are terribly productive, BUT they do a nice job of taking up space.
At defensive end Temple uses a 3-man rotation again with Marcus Green (6-1, 240, Sr.) and John Youboty (6-4, 250, Sr.) as the starters and Sean Daniels (6-3, 230, Jr.) rotates in as needed. Green and Youboty get the most time, and make the most of it combining for 51 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and a blocked kick. The ends are much more active than the tackles who really try and spread out so that the linebackers can make plays behind them and the ends can shut down the edge and keep contain.
Middle Linebacker Nate D Smith (6-0, 230, R-Fr.) and Weakside LB Tyler Matakevich (6-1, 220, Fr.) might be freshman, but they lead the Owls in tackles, with 107 total between the two first year players. These two will be the main stoppers when Louisville tries to run the football and their production is due to the front 4 of Temple who do actually play good assignment football. The problem so far for the Owls is that they aren’t winning inside the gaps. So while the Owls don’t give up a ton of big plays (except against Pitt) they don’t get a lot of short stops either. Teams can really nickel and dime their way down the field both passing and running the ball. Pitt goes to nickel a great deal and as a result SAM linebacker Blaze Caponegro (6-1, 218, Jr.) plays only with certain personnel lineups.
Strong Safety: Justin Gildea (5-11, 190, Sr.) & Free Safety: Vaughn Carraway (6-2, 192, Sr.) have to pick up a lot of pieces that Smith and Matakevich don’t clean up themselves. 3rd & 4th on the defense in tackles these two typically are called on quite a bit to help against the run. CB Anthony Robey (5-10, 180, Soph.) is known to blitz at times and is a very good open field tackler whereas Corner Zamel Johnson (6-0, 170, Jr.) really stays on his coverage assignment more often than not. Because of Gildea and Carraway focusing on the run so much, I believe Louisville should have the deep ball when they want it on Saturday.
I am really looking for the Louisville running game to get back on track versus Temple. The Owls are 64th in rushing defense, which isn’t bad, but I don’t think Shawn Watson is going to keep Teddy Bridgewater in the pocket for very long and will try to control the game on the ground. I also think Temple will take the philosophy of USF and UC in bringing as much pressure as they possibly can to try and snuff out the run and try and force Teddy into making bad decisions.
Temple Offense vs. Louisville Defense
Louisville’s defense has had to account for a dual-threat QB in their last 5 games. On Saturday they will get another in Chris Coyer (6-3, 230, Jr.), and the final 3 games will be QBs of the statue variety. But when thinking of Temple the Owls and Steve Addazio like to run the ball. Thus far TU has run 296 run plays, 206 passing with 95 rushes from their QB (13.57 per game). Fortunately though, the passing game isn’t as much of a threat with Coyer as it was with Munchie Legaux or BJ Daniels. Coyer is hitting on just 55% of his passes for just 870 yards through 7 games. He has thrown for 8 TDs, but just two receivers have more than 10 catches. Wide Receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick (5-11, 180, So.) leads the team with 22 catches for 291 yards. Tight End Cody Booth (6-5, 250, Jr.) is 2nd with just 12 catches for 108 yards and 3 TDs. Booth will be a key on 3rd down and inside the redzone and MUST be accounted for.
The Owls are currently 121st in Total Offense (out of 124). The Cards are 30th in Total Defense. I expect that trend to continue this week. Louisville will likely be able to play a lot of base 4-3 defense and shouldn’t need to account for the Temple passing game very much. Outside of Coyer, the Cards will need to focus on Montel Harris (5-10, 207, Sr.) and Matt Brown (5-5, 165, Sr.). Both of these guys COULD get the ball in the passing game, but more than likely they will be running the football for most of the afternoon. With the way the Cards can stop the run when not focused on the pass I really think this is bad recipe in terms of match-ups for Temple.
The Temple O-line does have good size: LT, Zach Hooks (6-6, 280, r-FR.); LG, Jeff Whittingham (6-2, 305, Jr.); C, Sean Boyle (6-5, 300, Sr.); RG Kyle Friend (6-2, 300, Fr.); RT, Martin Wallace (6-6, 300, Sr.). But they are going to need to be more than just big. Louisville’s defensive line should excel as should the linebacking corps of Durant, K. Brown, and P. Brown who really all have a great nose for the run game. Personally I’ll be surprised if Temple can get 12 or more 1st downs.
I personally think we’ll see a lot of base defense in a 4-3 alignment with both Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor playing much closer to the line of scrimmage than we’ve seen all year. My thought is that Charlie Strong and Vance Bedford are going to make Coyer beat them through the air and give the Owls very little running room. Rutgers allowed Temple to gain just 191 yards, the Scarlet Knights are the best defense in the Big East in 2012, and the Cards need to make a similar statement to go 9-0.
Temple isn’t an opponent Louisville can take lightly. I’m not sure if any opponent during 2012 can be taken lightly for the Louisville Cardinals. The Owls are competitive, but they are a few seasons away from being able to compete at the top of the Big East in my opinion. Al Golden and Steve Addazio have done a great job of building the roster and now that they are out of the MAC and at a higher level they can begin recruiting at a higher level as well.
One thing though, Temple’s offense being one-dimensional will hurt the Owls against Temple. Sure Coyer CAN throw, but it’s just not a huge part of the offense. Having just two receiving threats to worry about for a defense like Louisville’s (see Rutgers results) is a recipe for defeat. Throw in the fact that Temple really isn’t stopping many people through the air or on the ground and I have to see a big win for the Cards. Temple MIGHT be able to get on the practice field on Wednesday, but this late in the season that could actually be a blessing in disguise.
I see Louisville winning this one pretty easily. Cards 38 Owls 6
Attending, Watching, Listening
-There are about 50 tickets available on Ticketmaster at the moment, and there are others on StubHub that are available as well.
-The game will be broadcast at noon on ABC. Coverage Map & personalities have yet to be revealed.
-Over the radio waves the game will be broadcast on 840 WHAS in Louisville or Sirius Channel 92, or XM Channel 194 with Paul Rogers, Doug Ormay and Joe Tronzo.
-In Philadelphia the game will be broadcast on 1210 AM WPHT with Harry Donahue & Steve Joachim.
-With a win the Cards would have their first 9-0 start in school history.
-Temple has two wins against ranked teams in its history.