2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 5 - Toledo at Temple
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Oct. 1 Toledo 36 … at Temple 13
CFN Analysis: Just when Toledo could've gone into the tank after tough, heartbreaking losses, it came up with a tremendous performance on both sides of the ball with a coldly efficient passing game and a tough day from the defense. The Rockets gave up yards, but they made Bernard Pierce work for everything and ended up forcing four turnovers. Austin Dantin was nearly perfect, completing 12-of-14 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, but it was the play of Morgan Williams who starred in place of Adonis Thomas with 20 carries for 121 yards and a score. This was the statement game that Toledo now might be the team to beat in the MAC, and with Eastern Michigan up next week, and with four home games in the next five, it's time to go on a run.
Just when it seemed like Temple was going to be something special, it picked the wrong time to come up with a clunker. The offense screwed up with four turnovers, the line couldn't get enough of a push against the Rocket front line and the running game didn't do enough to take control of the game. The worst part of the loss was the play of a pass defense that shut down Danny O'Brien and Maryland last week and couldn't get off the field this week. The nation's top scoring defense got picked apart, and the focus has to get back in a hurry against a decent Ball State team on the road next week. Three of the next four games are on the road.
(AP) PHILADELPHIA -- David Fluellen scored two touchdowns to help Toledo score 21 unanswered points and beat Temple 36-13 on Saturday in the Mid-American Conference opener for both teams.
After a Dwight Macon touchdown gave Toledo a 22-13 lead, Fluellen caught a 20-yard pass from Austin Dantin to put the Rockets ahead 29-13 in the third quarter. Fluellen then scored again on a 1-yard run to extend the lead to 36-16 and seal the victory for Toledo (2-3).
Fluellen finished with four catches for 67 yards and added 41 yards rushing on eight carries.
Morgan Williams, who took over for injured All-MAC running back Adonis Thomas, controlled the Toledo rushing attack, gaining 130 yards on 20 carries.
Temple (3-2) managed to gain 145 yards on the ground but the offense struggled to reach the end zone, as all seven of their second half possessions ended in either a punt or turnover.
Toledo (1-3) at Temple (3-1) Oct. 1, 12:00
Here's The Deal … In a potential preview of the MAC Championship Game, Toledo travels to Lincoln Financial Field to play Temple. These teams meet for the first time since 2009, when Owls won 40-24 in Toledo.
Even though it has a 1-3 record, Toledo has had a solid season so far. The Rockets played better than expected in losses to Ohio State and Boise, remaining in these contests until the very end. Last week, Toledo suffered a controversial loss at Syracuse in overtime, as instant replay showed (and the Big East later confirmed) that the Orangemen missed an extra point in the fourth quarter, which – if ruled correctly - would have won the game for the Rockets in regulation.
Temple might be the biggest surprise team in the MAC this season. With former head coach Al Golden moving on to the Miami Hurricanes after an 8-4 season, many expected Temple to take a step back this year. However, under Steve Addazio's leadership, the Owls continued their winning ways, jumping out to 3-1 record, with the lone loss coming in the final minutes of the game at Penn State. Temple quickly shook off this heartbreaking defeat by annihilating Maryland 38-7 last week and recording the school's first-ever win over an ACC school.
This game will set the tone for the MAC race. Toledo needs to win the game to reverse its recent string of bad luck, and get some much-needed confidence heading into a brutal October stretch against Bowling Green, Miami University, and Northern Illinois. On the other hand, Temple needs to win this game to establish itself as a contender in the East by defeating a Rocket team that went 7-1 in MAC play last season.
Why Toledo might win: The Toledo offense will shine again this week. Even when the Rockets played against top competition such as Ohio State and Boise, they still moved the ball effectively, gaining 338 and 349 yards respectively. Last week, they racked up 438 yards against Syracuse without star RB Adonis Thomas who broke his arm in the first quarter. While the loss of a player like Thomas would cripple most teams, Toledo has an embarrassment of riches at the skill positions, which will be a huge asset against Temple's physical style of defense. In addition, the Rockets' dual QB system will cause havoc for the Temple defense.
Yes, the Owls have played excellent defense this season, especially against BCS opponents Penn State and Maryland. However, they have not seen a signal caller as dynamic as the Toledo duo of Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens (if healthy), who can move the chains both through the air and on the ground if forced out of the pocket.
Why Temple might win: The Temple offense holds the key to victory this week. As the defense garners most of the headlines, the Owl offense has quietly emerged as one of the conference's elite units under Addazio's watch. The running game sets the tempo for the offense, as the Owls have rushed for 904 yards over the first four games, with an impressive 4.9 yards per carry. Temple's massive offensive line, which averages 318 pounds, dominated Maryland last week, rushing for 285 yards, while attempting (and completing) only nine passes. This stellar unit will pave the way again for the Owls this week.
Sure, the Rockets have done a decent job of slowing down the run this season. However, they could be playing without several starters this week, including last year's leading tackler LB Dan Molls. Even if these starters can return to the lineup, Temple's size in the trenches will cause problems for the smaller Rocket defense, forcing them to commit more people to stopping the run. That will allow the Owls to take advantage of one-on-one matchups with a Toledo secondary that could be without both starting corners this week.
What To Watch Out For: Toledo will get the ball to Biletnikoff Award hopeful Eric Page. While offensive coordinator Matt Campbell likes to spread the ball around to different receivers, make no mistake, the Rockets want to get the ball to Page as often as possible. Coming off consecutive 1100-yard seasons, Page already has 38 catches for 432 yards. More impressively, Page already has two games with over 150 yards receiving including a 158-yard effort against Syracuse last week. The Rockets cannot beat Temple without a big afternoon from Page.
When Temple has the ball, keep an eye out for RB Bernard Pierce. Riddled by injuries a season ago, Pierce has exploded on to the scene for Owls this year, leading the nation in scoring with 12 TDs in the first four games. Pierce also ranks in the top 10 nationally in yards per game, averaging 124 yards per contest. Temple will hand the ball to Pierce, who should have plenty of daylight to run through because of the size differential between the Owl offensive line and Rocket defensive line.
What will happen Temple will establish the running game right away, letting the offensive line open holes for Pierce. Toledo will remain in the game by hitting some big plays, but will not have any success sustaining long drives. Eventually, the Owl offensive line will wear out an injury-depleted Rocket defense, and Temple will pull away for a crucial MAC victory.
CFN Prediction: Temple 28 … Toledo 17
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