A 3-3 start for Temple isn’t exactly what was expected from this team, especially with losses coming from Villanova and Buffalo. Since then, the team has won three of their last four contests gearing up for all conference games the rest of the season. It won’t get much easier either because the Owls only have two home games left out of their remaining six games with three of those teams currently nationally ranked and are on the road for three of their last four games.
But all the Owls can worry about is the here and now. As Coach Collins loves to preach, “we want to go 1-0 each week, that’s all we care about.”
This week, the Owls will try to go 1-0 against Navy when they head down to Annapolis. The Midshipmen are coming into this contest undefeated at home and sitting at 2-3 overall and 1-1 in conference play. In their two conference games, Navy has played some very close games. In their first win of the season, they edged out Memphis 22-21, and when they took on SMU, they lost 31-30 in overtime. Their other two losses came from their season opener at Hawai’i and last week at Air Force. Their second win came from an offensive routing of Lehigh 51-21.
The combination of being undefeated at home, and playing very close conference games this season doesn’t bode well for Temple, who will need all hands on deck against the Midshipmen. To that point, Coach Collins said that RB Ryquell Armstead is 100% healthy and is good to go for game-day following a minor injury in last week’s game against ECU.
Navy is led by their junior QB Malcom Perry. The Mids aren’t known very much for passing the ball, instead, their bread and butter is the triple-option. Perry is the team’s leading rusher with 105 carries and just under 600 yards with six touchdowns. The next closest runner to Perry is Nelson Smith who has carried 32 times for only 173 yards and zero touchdowns. In fact, Navy averages 381 yards per game, 310 of those come from rushing yards and only 71 passing yards.
When Navy does throw the football, Perry splits snaps with senior QB Garret Lewis. Perry has completed seven of 22 attempts for 142 yards and one touchdown, while Lewis has completed 12 of 25 attempts for 197 yards and also one touchdown.
As for Navy’s defense, they let up 33 points per game and 391 yards per game. Their defense hasn’t given up less than 21 points all season long, while Temple’s offense has only scored under 21 once (in the season opener against Villanova-17.)
Their defense is led by senior linebackers Taylor Heflin and Hudson Sullivan. Heflin has 29 tackles, 3.5 for tackles for loss, with 3 sacks and one forced fumble and recovery, while Sullivan has 30 tackles on the year.
Navy ranks number one in the country in red-zone offense, while Temple ranks sixth in the country and first in the AAC in red-zone defense. Navy is also very disciplined as they rank fourth in the country and first in the conference at penalties per game. Given that note, it will be crucial for Temple to match their discipline and limit their penalties while being efficient on both ends of the ball.
The last time these two teams met was last season at the Linc and that game seemed to be a turnaround point for the team as they needed a crucial win to help them get to six on the year to become bowl eligible. Temple won the contest easier than the final score reads, 34-26.
This will be the 14th meeting between the teams with Temple having the edge in the series 7-6-1, and since the Mids joined the AAC, Temple is 2-0 in their games. Temple and UCF are the only two teams in the AAC that Navy hasn’t beaten as conference opponents, but they’ll get their chance this season when they take on Temple Saturday and UCF in November.
Temple’s defense will look to crack down against the triple-option and hope to get Malcom Perry tackled in the backfield quite a bit, as their defense ranks eighth in the country in sacks per game with 3.33. The Owls are 3-0 this season when holding their opponent to 18 points or fewer and 0-3 when their opponent scores more than 18 points.
The Owls have outscored the Mids 92-67 since 2014 and the last time the Owls lost on the road to Navy was in 2008, 33-27 in overtime. Temple has won 3 of their last 4 contests versus Navy and they hope to have that same winning luck this Saturday.
The game is set to kick off from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland at 3:30PM on Saturday. The game will be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network and you can listen in on 97.5 The Fanatic.
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