Temple (3-2) at Ball State (3-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 8th, 2:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Scheumann Stadium (25,400) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: Temple 1-2, Ball State 2-0. Away Record: Temple 2-0, Ball State 0-2. Neutral Record: Temple 0-0, Ball State 1-0. Conference Record: Temple 1-1, Ball State 1-0. Series Record: Temple leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Temple will try to remain perfect on the road when the Owls head to Muncie this weekend to battle the Ball State Cardinals in a Mid-American Conference bout at Scheumann Stadium.
This will be the first trip to Muncie for the Owls, and only their second meeting against Ball State. The only other matchup took place in 2009, as Temple won, 24-19.
The Owls will be looking to get back on track this weekend after being throttled at home by Toledo, 36-13. It was the second loss in three weeks for Temple, which also fell to Penn State at home. Fortunately the Owls have played better away from Lincoln Financial Field, winning both of their road contests against Akron and Maryland by a combined score of 79-10.
Ball State is also coming off a forgettable contest, but the Cardinals' loss came against much stiffer competition, as they were downed by the Oklahoma Sooners, 62-6. Now the Cardinals return home where they are 2-0 on the season, posting victories over Buffalo (28-25) and Army (48-21).
The Owls bounced back from a pedestrian outing against Penn State by dropping 38 on Maryland in College Park. However, coach Steve Addazio's team could not continue that type of success against Toledo this past weekend.
The Owls have relied heavily on the run throughout the season and while the team finished with 145 yards against Toledo, the team only posted 3.2 yards per attempt. Bernard Pierce had been an unstoppable force through four games, but the Rockets were able to shut down the star tailback, limiting him to only 75 yards on 24 totes.
Despite the lackluster showing against Toledo, Pierce has been one of the best backs in the conference and already has 571 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season. However, Pierce will continue to see more eight man fronts unless the passing attack is able to find its identity.
Mike Gerardi and Chester Stewart have both seen time as the team's starter, but neither player has performed well enough to make this a balanced attack. After struggling in a loss to Penn State Gerardi found himself on the bench for Stewart, but so far Stewart has only one touchdown against two interceptions.
The touchdown and two picks came in the team's loss to Toledo, as the quarterback finished with 173 yards, but completed just 10-of-20 passes.
Temple's inability to score was a bit surprising, but the shock factor was nothing compared to the performance put forth by the defense. This unit allowed just 31 total points through four games, but against the Rockets the Owls were picked apart for 36 points.
Temple simply had no answer for Toledo's ground attack, as the Rockets scored three times via the run and finished with 157 yards. Those three scores equaled the total allowed by this unit through the first four games, and even with the bad effort, Temple is still limiting the opposition to just 91.6 ypg on the ground.
Look for this defense to bounce back and put forth another stellar effort, especially behind the leadership of the defensive end tandem of Tahir Whitehead and Adrian Robinson. Whitehead and Robinson have combined for seven of the team's 15 sacks on the year.
Nothing went right for Ball State this past weekend, but that is to be expected since the team took on Oklahoma, which is an elite program.
Keith Wenning had without question his worst effort on the year, as the quarterback finished with only 84 yards and was intercepted three times, while completing just 12-of-31 passes.
Those were the first three interceptions on the year for Wenning, who has completed 66.5 percent of his passes thus far and comes into this weekend with 955 yards and seven touchdowns.
Ball State did not see much success on the ground either, as the team finished with 119 yards, but averaged only 3.4 yards per attempt. Jahwan Edwards, who is leading the team with 354 yards and six touchdowns, totaled just 53 yards on 16 carries.
The defense also had to taker on Oklahoma's offense, and just like Wenning and company, this unit was clearly overmatched. Ball State could not do a thing against Landry Jones and the Sooners, allowing 655 total yards and seven touchdowns.
Jones torched the secondary for Ball State, as the Heisman hopeful threw for 425 yards and five touchdowns. Oklahoma also took advantage of Ball State's inability to stop the run.
Ball State, which is being gashed for 207.4 yards per game, surrendered 208 yards on 5.5 yards per attempt. Oklahoma also found the end zone twice on the ground.
Clearly the Cardinals have a problem stopping the run, and that does not bode well for Ball State since the Owls are coming into Muncie in a foul mood after getting clobbered on their home field. Look for Pierce to run wild on Ball State, as he leads Temple back to the win column.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Temple 38, Ball State 20
10/05 10:45:08 ET