Sep 30, 2011, 1:54 PM EDT
The Temple University Owls (3-1, 1-0) will play host to the Toledo Rockets (1-3, 0-0) this Saturday at noon. The game can be seen on 6ABC and heard on 610 AM WIP.
Right up front, we wish to remind you that the university is offering admission to the game for just $5 if you come prepared with literally any of the following at the Lincoln Financial Field box office:
For more on the ticket discount, click here. And now, your Temple-Toledo preview…
The Toledo Rockets
At 1-3, Toledo is a substantially better football team than its record would indicate. They are the victims of injury, a challenging non-conference schedule, incompetent officiating and some out and out tough luck.
First off, this is a team that outplayed the then-No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes in OSU’s own Horseshoe. Toledo gave Ohio State everything it had, leading on two separate occasions. They nearly snapped the Buckeyes’ 90-year undefeated streak against in-state opponents. Still, the Rockets failed to close a game OSU repeatedly tried to give away with one foolish penalty after another. Though they came up short on that day, the competitive nature of the game was hardly a fluke.
After getting stomped by No. 4 Boise State the following week (which frankly isn’t anything to get too upset about—go ask Georgia), the Rockets were robbed of a victory over the Syracuse Orange[men] last Saturday.
After a late touchdown put the Orange up 29-27, Big East officials incorrectly ruled Syracuse’s ensuing extra point as “good.” On replay, the ball is clearly shown to sail outside the left upright.
Upon review, the call was somehow upheld and Syracuse retained its 30-27 lead.
Toledo then drove the length of the field, and converted an FG attempt at the end of regulation to tie the game at 30. Had the officials correctly ruled Syracuse’s extra point “no good,” Toledo’s field goal would have won them the game by a final score of 30-29. Instead, they would lose in overtime.
Afterwards, the Big East Conference released an official statement acknowledging that the referees had made a mistake; unfortunately for Toledo, the statement also found that there was nothing that anyone could do overturn the call or final score once the game had ended.
They could be 3-1. They could even more reasonably be 2-2. But, the Toledo Rockets—rightfully projected as one of the best teams in the MAC—will start their in-conference schedule against the Temple Owls at just 1-3.
Toledo will take the field on Saturday without three key starters. Running back Adonis Thomas, linebacker Danny Molls and free safety Mark Singer will all be unavailable, and both starting corners—Taikwon Paige and Desmond Marrow—are listed as questionable.
Players to Watch: Akron
(1) QBs Austin Dantin/Terrance Owens
Without Adonis Thomas—first on the team in rushing yards and second in catches—Toledo’s two-quarterback threat of Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens will be under even more pressure to produce. Combined, the two amount for over 1,100 yards passing, 9 TDs and a completion percentage right around 60%. Dantin serves as the more traditional passer of the two, while Owens is always a threat to take off from the pocket.
(2) WR Eric Page
Page is the focal point of the passing attack and ranks ninth in the nation in receptions per game. He has 39 catches for 442 yards and 3 touchdowns on the season.
(3) WR Benard Reedy
With Thomas gone and Temple more than likely to key on Page, look for Bernard Reedy to make a possible impact. Though he has only 11 receptions this season, he is averaging 20 YAC. When put together, the Temple D will need to find a way to limit Dantin and Owens’ options by keying on Page, keeping Reedy from breaking a big one, and bottling Owens in the backfield.
Players to Watch: Temple
(1) RB Bernard Pierce
Pierce leads the nation in rushing touchdowns with 12. He sits just one touchdown away from breaking Paul Palmer’s Temple record of 39 career rushing touchdowns and two away from breaking it.
(2) QB Chester Stewart
Stewart went a perfect 9-9 against Maryland last weekend, but has been streaky throughout his entire career at Temple. While Addazio did confirm Stewart would be his starter against the Rockets, he once was careful to remind everyone that personnel decisions aren’t set in stone, and that he is always capable of changing his mind either after or even during the game.
The coach has been mindful to guard against complacency this season, especially at the quarterback position. One good game out of Stewart at Maryland will not be enough to secure his role as the starter for the rest of the season. How he follows up his success from last week will prove the real indicator of his progression over the past year.
Though injured, the Rockets are nonetheless talented and probably still pretty pissed about what happened last week at Syracuse. Potentially 1-4 through five weeks is not where they saw themselves at the beginning of the year, so this is a huge game for a Toledo team with lingering bowl aspirations.
As for the Owls, yes, their 3-1 start is about as good as anyone could have hoped for, but that doesn’t mean they can take a team like Toledo, one of their biggest in-conference threats, lightly.
As coach Addazio said immediately following the Maryland win, “We’re home next week against Toledo. It’s a conference game. And they’re a hell of a football team. And they’re not going to care much what happened here today. So we’ve got to be able to enjoy this, separate ourselves from it, and move forward.”
Saturday in South Philly
As mentioned up top, anyone with a ticket for the Phils at 5 o’clock can see the Owls at noon for just $5. With the game probably wrapping up sometime between 3 and 3:30, there should exist a nice little window for a pre/post-game tailgate.
Sometimes I post updates and random musings about the game on Twitter. Sometimes I don’t. Follow along @cnmenta.
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