Perhaps no score in college football surprised the so-called experts more than Maryland’s 63-20 win over Syracuse on Saturday.
Sure, Maryland was a 2-point favorite at home against the No. 21-ranked Orange but Hurricane Dorian-type level of devastation was the thing that opened some eyes.
One thing the Terrapins established is they are a quick-strike team with plenty of speed on offense.
While Maryland has revenge
motivation that can’t be
discounted, Carey has all
the cards in his pocket in
terms of strategy. As a head
coach on the FBS level,
Carey is 53-30; as a head
coach on the FBS level,
Maryland coach Mike
Locksley is 5-31
Those three hours gave Temple head coach Rod Carey a pretty good template for devising a game plan to beat the Terrapins.
Like the old Dean Smith four-corners pre-clock era basketball offense of North Carolina, play keep-away.
The way to control a big-strike type team, as Maryland is, is to run the ball, control the clock, bring the safeties and the linebackers up to the line of scrimmage, and hit some key third-down plays in the play-action passing game. Keep the ball for at least eight minutes of each quarter and score some points and that limits the opportunities Maryland has to touch it.
While Maryland has revenge motivation that can’t be discounted, Carey has all the cards in his pocket in terms of strategy. As a head coach on the FBS level, Carey is 53-30; as a head coach on the FBS level, Maryland coach Mike Locksley is 5-31. Plus, the Owls had an extra week to prepare so Carey knows what the deal is. Last year, the Owls put their tight ends in motion as blockers for NFL fifth-round pick Ryquell Armstead, got some turnovers on defense, and came away with a 35-14 win.
All Locksley has to go by on Temple is a game film that showed a spread offense without a fullback or two tight ends and that’s pretty much what he’s planning to stop.
If Carey came out in two tight ends, and a fullback, pounded the ball behind running backs Jager Gardner and Re’Mahn Davis (with a healthy dose of Isaiah Wright misdirection), that’s something Maryland coaches would definitely not be prepared to face.
Running the ball behind extra blockers was also that strategy that Steve Addazio employed to beat Maryland, 38-7, in 2011:
As a bonus, it is also the best strategy for Temple in that the Owls’ strengths as a team are their offensive line, quarterbacks and linebackers. If Wright is the full-time running back, you could also say that position would be a strength of the team as well.
With Josh Jackson instead of turnover-prone Kasim Hunt at quarterback, this is not the same Maryland team that lost to Temple 35-14 a year ago in College Park, Md.
This isn’t the same Temple team, either.
It’s better-coached than it was a year behind a guy who is 4-2 against the Big 10.
Whether he goes 5-2 will be determined by his willingness to adjust his scheme to exploit the weakness of his opponent.
We will find that out in six days.
Tuesday: Owl Nation
Saturday: Game Day