Ty Johnson and the Terrapins look to move to 3-0 when they host the struggling Owls
The 2018 season could have gone south rather quickly for Maryland, but the Terrapins host the Temple Owls this weekend in a non-conference matchup that could send Maryland into Big Ten play in good position to reach a bowl game at the end of the season.
Maryland and Temple last played in 2012, when Maryland was playing their next-to-last season in the ACC and Temple was still a part of the Big East before it became the AAC. A lot has changed since their last meeting with coaching changes, conference changes, and more. But when these two programs meet on Saturday, the odds look pretty good the result will stay in line with the trend in this series. Maryland leads the all-time series, which stems back to 1997, by a 7-1 margin. If all goes according to plan for the Terps, that should improve to 8-1 as the Owls continue to struggle early in the year.
Temple at Maryland
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 15 at 12 p.m. ET
TV: Big Ten Network
Spread: Maryland -15.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Maryland pounding the ball on the ground
It has been only two games, but Maryland’s running game has been tough to slow down in the early going. The Terrapins have already accumulated 587 rushing yards and are averaging a robust 5.93 yards per carry. Senior Ty Johnson and sophomore Tayon Fleet-Davis have led the ground attack, and Fleet-Davis already has three rushing touchdowns this season. Temple has given up 151 and 152 rushing yards, respectively, in its first two games, so Maryland should be able to take advantage on the ground once again.
2. The turnover game
Maryland and Temple are polar opposites right now when it comes to ball control. Maryland enters this game with a plus-three turnover margin, while the Owls swoop in with a lowly minus-three. Maryland has lost the football just once, and Temple has given the football away five times already this season. Last week against Buffalo, Temple had two interceptions that led to 14 points for Buffalo. Maryland hasn’t always capitalized on possessions after turnovers, but Temple may give them some chances to correct that.
3. Freshman playmaker Jeshaun Jones
After a historic debut two weeks ago, Jeshaun Jones saw his production take a dip in Week 2. Jones scored touchdowns three different ways in Maryland's season-opening win against Texas but had just one catch for 12 yards and one 11-yard carry last weekend against Bowling Green. Maryland may not have needed him to sizzle in Week 2, but he is certainly capable of doing just that. How many chances he’ll get to make plays against Temple remains to be seen.
Maryland should be in a prime position to get through non-conference play without a blemish before jumping into Big Ten play, which puts the Terrapins in a terrific spot for bowl eligibility. Still playing under interim head coach Matt Canada, Maryland has established a healthy offense thanks to the running game. On the other side of the field, Temple is already desperate for a win. Its bowl hopes have faded quickly at the start of the season with two losses at home and some challenging obstacles to come in conference play. But the Owls have a shaky offense that may not have enough in the tank to give Maryland a run. Maryland should win this one fairly easily.
Prediction: Maryland 33, Temple 14
— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and The Comeback as well as hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.