Temple is coming off their second statement win of the season after taking down Gunner Kiel and the Cincinnati Bearcats last Saturday. Behind the NCAA’s third leading rusher Jahad Thomas and the stellar Temple defense, which intercepted the pro-hopeful Kiel four times, the Owls held on in Ohio.
This week, the Owls plan to keep the ball rolling by doing what they do best: defense. Tyler Matakevich has been electrifying in the first two contests, racking up 16 tackles, three for a loss, along with two interceptions. Matakevich has been all over the field for the Owls and looks to continue his performance against a not-so-proven Minutemen backfield.
The Minutemen have a duo of backs consisting of Shadrach Abrokwah and Marquis Young who had some positive flashes but overall struggled to find a rhythm versus Colorado. The two combined for 116 yards on 16 carries in their first contest.
UMass had their first look at the season this past Saturday, in a lopsided loss to the Buffaloes of Colorado, in which the Minutemen allowed close to 600 yards of total offense. UMass allowed three Colorado running backs to combine for a whopping 390 yards, and the team had no way to stop the Buffaloes offense from putting points on the board. The Minutemen allowed 48 points in the first 3 quarters alone. The Minutemen suffered a bad loss by a score of 48-14. The Minutemen did see some beam of light from this off-putting loss as senior, next level hopeful Tajae Sharpe recorded 11 catches for 138 yards. The Temple secondary, led by senior Tavon Young will have their hands full trying to stop him the 6’3 190 pounder.
Temple’s offense will look to feed sophomore halfback Jahad Thomas and exploit the shaky Minutemen run-defense who were ran into the dirt on Saturday. This will allow the Owls to control the clock while the ball is in their possession. Junior quarterback P.J. Walker will be looking to throw on the later downs and the dual-threat speedster has looked his best while throwing on the run. As for big pass plays, no Owl receiver has caught for more than 67 yards on the season. Look for the owls to lull the Minutemen defense to sleep then go over the top to senior, deep-threat receiver Robby Anderson. Anderson has yet to have his breakout game in the first two games, however all signs are pointing to week 3 being the week for number 19 to shine.
As long as Jahad Thomas can run the ball even remotely as good as he’s been running lately, there should be no worry since the Owls will be able to set the game-pace. The Owl’s defense will need to limit open looks for receiver Tajae Sharpe and continue their stout run defense. Look for Matt Rhule and the Owl’s to go into week four undefeated.