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Temple Digs Too Deep a Hole, Rally Falls Short Against Maryland

Sep 8, 2012, 6:25 PM EDT

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This isn’t the first time Temple’s had a letdown after a big win the week prior. In fact, one week after rolling Maryland 35-7 last season, the Owls were rolled themselves, 36-13, by Toledo at home.

On Tuesday, Chris Coyer pointed to that game as an example of what Temple couldn’t afford to have happen on Saturday against Maryland.

Four days later, after the Owls’ 36-27 loss to the Terrapins, Coyer said postgame, while receiving IV fluids : “We were playing very sloppy [in the first half] and we didn’t come out as fired up as we should have been. We came out very slow.”

Very slow was understatement. So just how bad was Temple in the first half?

- 25 plays, 34 yards. An average of 1.36 yards per play.

- 25 plays, three passing attempts.

- Four fumbles, two lost. One by Matt Brown on the Owls’ first play from the scrimmage.

- Score at the break: Maryland 26, Temple 3.

From there, Temple came out passing and won the second half 24-10, but it wasn’t enough.

Senior kicker Brandon McManus, who at least did his share on Saturday, echoed Coyer after the game:

“We just came out and played lazy. I don’t know why that is the case, but we knew they were coming up here for a revenge game … They just played harder than us.

Laziness was one reason for the loss. A running game that barely got out of the backfield was another. By game’s end, Temple had run the ball 39 times on 57 plays. Those 39 carries went for 52 total yards.

Asked after the game to explain his strategy in the first half, Steve Addazio pointed to his team’s fumbles and emphasized that his receivers had to catch the ball. They were targeted three times in the first half.

“Everyone wants to talk about throwing the ball,” he said. “That’s great and terrific but you have to catch the ball, or it is 2nd and 10 and you don’t have a rhythm going. We didn’t have a rhythm going for a lot of reasons.”

“You need to first establish who you are.”

Temple, obviously, is a team who runs the football. But on a day when they couldn’t establish the run, it didn’t make much sense to continue trying. Sadly, that’s the way the first half went.

When Temple balanced the offense in the second half (15 passes, 14 rushes), they gained 194 yards, as compared to their 34 in the first half. Coyer, who woke up with a 101-degree favor, set a new personal record for passing yards in a game with 178 on 7 of 18 attempts.

In fairness to Addazio, the Temple wideouts did have a number of drops in the second half that kept Coyer’s completion percentage down, including one (pictured below) that went off C.J. Hammond’s hands and was grabbed by Maryland defensive back before it hit the ground.

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Still, the tale of two halves, and tale of two play-calling schemes, presented a stark difference in terms of success for Temple.

When it came time to do something else on Saturday, Temple didn’t. By the time it finally did, it was too late.

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