The MAC takes center stage Tuesday night with a nationally telecast game on ESPN2 featuring an East Divison battle with the Ohio Bobcats visiting the Temple Owls. Here is our look at how the teams match up and our fearless prediction.
Ohio QB Boo Jackson / Photo: Deb Ruthenberg
Ohio (2-5, 1-2 MAC) at Temple (2-5, 1-3 MAC), 8:00 pm
Site: Lincoln Financial Field
Series: Ohio leads 1-0. Last meeting: Ohio 23, Temple 7.
Outlook: Both teams have struggled through their first seven games but remain in contention in the volatile MAC East where only division leader Akron sits without a losing record at 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference so there is plenty on the line in this divisional tilt.
Scouting the Bobcats:
Ohio arrives in Philadelphia off the bye week and following a 26-19 win on the road at Kent State in its last game October 11. The Bobcats will be playing their third straight road game and their sixth road contest in their first eight games, having tasted home cooking on game-day only twice so far this season. The Bobcats lost starting QB Theo Scott early in the season and JUCO junior transfer QB Boo Jackson has been handling the reigns of the Ohio offense since taking over for injured starter Scott during the Bobcats' week two 26-14 loss to Ohio State. Jackson has been improving each week as he gains experience and has passed for nine touchdowns on the season against eight interceptions. Jackson currently ranks sixth in the MAC averaging 228.2 yards passing per game. Meanwhile Donte Harden has provided an explosive edge to the Bobcats' ground attack. Harden is averaging 5.2 yards per carry and is coming off a 115-yard effort in the Bobcats' win over
Kent State (update: subsequent to posting this preview, we have been informed that Harden will be unavailable after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery). But the Bobcats have had difficulty finding the end-zone this season, crossing the goal line only eight times this season in 22 red-zone opportunitiesOn the other side of the ball, Ohio's pass defense has recorded a MAC-best (tied with Ball State) ten interceptions but their rushing defense has been allowing 175 yards per game. LB Lee Renfro tops the Bobcats, averaging 7.7 tackles per game and was named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week following Ohio's win over Kent State after Renfro recorded 11 tackles and was credited with a forced fumble and fumble recoveryThe Bobcats though have been their own worst enemy this season and have turned the ball over nineteen times already while being whistled for an average of 69.3 yards in penalties per game - placing them at the bottom of the MAC in both categories.
Scouting the Owls:
Temple is also entering the game on ten days rest following a 24-14 loss to Central Michigan on October 11. Like Ohio, the Owls have been dealing with injury issues at quarterback. Starter Adam DiMichele suffered a separated shoulder in the Owls' 48-7 loss to Penn State in week four. DiMichele though has returned to practice and has been taking reps this past week. Head coach Al Golden indicates t
|Temple QB Adam DiMichele - Back in the lineup?
hat whether DiMichele starts against Ohio Tuesday night will be a game-time decision. Prior to being injured, DiMichele was averaging 155 yards passing per game. In DiMichele's absence redshirt freshman Chester Stewart has assumed the starting QB's role with mixed results. Stewart is averaging less than 75 yards passing per game, has thrown seven picks and only four touchdowns, with two of those coming against Central Michigan in the first half. WR Bruce Francis has six of the Owls' nine receiving touchdowns this season. The Owls' ground game has also been rather listless this season as the Owls search for a regular, consistent threat out of the backfield. Freshman Kee-ayre Griffin appears to be the latest to take a shot at the role after rushing for 76 yards against CMU. The Owls rank 108th nationally in rushing (103.1 yards per game) without a single backfield performer averaging more than 25 yards per game. Temple also ranks 115th in total offense (266.6 yards per game) and 110th in scoring offense (17.1 points per game)Defensively the Owls are fifth overall in the MAC, giving up 363.7 yards per game and are third in scoring defense, giving up only 19.3 points per game. Temple has also been stingy in the defensive red-zone this season, with teams crossing the goal line only 12 times in 24 opportunities, good for second in the MAC (tied with Ball State). DE Junior Galette is among the conference leaders with 5.5 QB sacks and 8 tackles for lossLike Ohio the Owls have had issues with penalties, averaging 65.6 yards per game, just ahead of Ohio in bringing up the bottom of the ranks in the MAC in that categorySpecial teams however have been the Owls' bread and butter this season. The Owls lead the nation averaging 29.9 yards on kick returns, led by Travis Shelton who ranks eighth nationally, averaging 29.7 yards per return.
Points will be at a premium in a contest between two squads that have struggled with offensive consistency. A key will be whether QB Adam DiMichele is back in the starting lineup for the Owls. With DiMichele the Owls could have a clear edge in offense, without him, that edge becomes considerably smaller. Temple 20, Ohio 16.