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Temple-Bowling Green: Smiths Edition

Oct 22, 2011, 11:25 AM EDT

The Owls (5-2, 3-1) will look to put together their first three-game winning streak of the season when they take on the Bowling Green Falcons (3-4, 1-2) this afternoon on the Turf of Doyt Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The Owls (5-2, 3-1) will look to put together their first three-game winning streak of the season when they take on the Bowling Green Falcons (3-4, 1-2) this afternoon on the Turf of Doyt Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Kick-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN3.com, or, if you’re reading this from the great state of Ohio, the Buckeye Cable Sports Network. As always, you can listen to Harry and Steve on 1210 AM.

Temple is favored by 13 1/2 today over a Bowling Green team that has lost its last three straight, dropping games to West Virginia, Western Michigan and MAC West leader Toledo. The over/under varies between 48 and 48 1/2.

As RB Bernard Pierce is certainly a key figure in every game, it will be the Falcon run defense who could play the biggest role on Saturday. Having given up a combined 629 yards on the ground in just the last two weeks, the unit will no doubt have it hands full.

And Pierce won’t be their only problem, either. Second-string rusher Matt Brown has been looking stronger and stronger as the season has progressed. After a tumultuous offseason that resulted in two separate suspensions and a rumored near-dismissal from the team, Brown appears to have his head on straight and his legs fully under him. He and Pierce have both rushed for more than 100-yards each in the last two weeks.

Successfully running the ball will allow Temple QB Chester Stewart to continue his recent history of completing check downs, quick crossing patterns and play-action roll outs. Though he’s had some trouble throwing down field nearly his entire Temple career, he’s been quite good this season staying within himself.

Stopping this Temple offense involves forcing Stewart to consistently throw the ball down the field. But if Pierce and Brown cannot be stopped, and Stewart is allowed to chip away on screen passes to the tight ends, then then Falcons will, more or less, be sunk.

An already immensely talented Temple defense only benefits further from its offense controlling the time of possession. The Buffalo game was a textbook exercise in how coach Steve Addazio and the Owls would like to play every week.

Run the football. Control the clock. Wear down the opposition. Keep the defense fresh. Prevent their offense from ever getting into a rhythm.

There are teams in the MAC strong enough to stop the Owls from executing that plan. Just review the Toledo game tape for a perfect example. But fortunately for the Owls, and unfortunately for the Falcons, Bowling Green doesn’t seem like the squad to do it.