Temple 42 … at Ball State 0

Posted Oct 8, 2011

Week 6 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Temple at Ball State

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 6 - Temple at Ball State

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Oct. 8 Temple 42 … at Ball State 0
CFN Analysis: That's the Temple that's supposed to be in the mix for the MAC title. Toledo is good, but that was an aberration; the Owls didn't play well. This was a stomping against a surprising Ball State team with just enough talent and just enough of a passing game to be dangerous. Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown combined for 235 yards and four scores, and Chester Stewart was flawless completing 10-of-13 passes for 160 yards and a score. The defense shut down the Ball State air show, but this was all about the offense; it was razor sharp. There won't be any problems the rest of the way in MAC play of the Owls play like this.

The Cardinals ran into a buzzsaw. The run defense that's been such a big problem all season long got ripped to shreds, Keith Wenning couldn't get the passing game going, and the game got ugly fast and never got better. Over the last two games Ball State has lost 104-6, but Ohio isn't Oklahoma or Temple. With four road games in the next five, the passing game needs to get revved up again or the great start to the season will quickly be forgotten.

(AP) MUNCIE, Ind. -- Bernard Pierce ran for three scores to become Temple's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, helping the Owls spoil Ball State's homecoming game with a dominating 42-0 win Saturday.

Pierce totaled 121 yards rushing on 30 carries. His second touchdown, a 4-yarder with 8:05 left in the first half, was the 40th of his career. Paul Palmer had 39 touchdowns for the Owls from 1983-86.

Matt Brown added 15 carries for 114 yards and a score, and Chris Coyer had a 74-yard touchdown run on his only carry for Temple (4-2, 2-1 Mid-American Conference), which was playing its first-ever game in Muncie. Chester Stewart threw for 160 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown to Joe Jones for the Owls' first score.

Ball State (3-3, 1-1) could manage nothing offensively. Keith Wenning threw for 155 yards but was intercepted twice and lost a fumble. Jahwan Edwards led the Cardinals with 66 yards rushing.
Temple (3-2) at Ball State (3-2) Oct. 8, 2:00

Here's The Deal … Temple was considered one of the favorites in the MAC coming into the season, and certainly lived up to the billing early on with Penn State needing a fourth-down conversion for the win, before bludgeoning Maryland the following week.

Then, apparently, the MAC happened.

Toledo rubbed the Owls' noses in it last week, making them a quick 0-1 making this week's game against a hot Ball State a near must-win. For Cardinals, a pole axing by Oklahoma doesn't taint good wins over Army and Indiana, not to mention a 1-0 start in the league after a win against Buffalo. This isn't necessarily a MAC conference-title eliminator, but it's not far off. Both teams need this win with the Cardinals going to Ohio next week, while Temple has to go on the road to face Bowling Green in two weeks and Ohio two weeks later.

Why Ball State Might Win: It's weakness vs. weakness. Temple is ranked an abysmal 85th in total offense and 109th throwing the ball, and while the air attack has had a few moments, it's not up to snuff considering head coach Steve Addazio is a high-end offensive mind. Ball State's offense has been able to keep up the pace with everyone its own said, and most importantly, the defense has been just good enough to get by. Army might have run for 402 yards and three touchdowns against the Cardinals, but Ball State answered with 383 passing yards of its own. Temple should be able to run the ball without a problem, but the Cardinals are going to bomb away. However …

Why Temple Might Win: The Temple secondary has been a plus. The D broke down against Temple last week, but it shut down Maryland's attack, including quarterback Danny O'Brien, and is doing a great job of getting into the backfield on a regular basis. The Owls bring the pressure from all angles on the defensive front, and any pressure on BSU QB Keith Wenning will slow down if he has to hurry his throws. The Cardinal receiving corps isn't strong enough to make plays unless Wenning gets time to work. That's not going to happen.

What To Watch Out For: Temple defensive end Adrian Robinson has four sacks this year, as well as a blocked kick, rebounding from an inconsistent year and showing he might be ready to come up with MAC Defensive Player of the Year type of campaign. Offensively, as Bernard Pierce goes, apparently, so goes the Owl attack. Three 100-yard games, three wins. Two games under 100 yards, two losses. Temple is 12-0 over the last three years when he hits the 100-yard mark.

Wenning was held to 84 yards and three interceptions completing 12-of-31 passes against Oklahoma, but that was against Oklahoma. The sophomore was terrific the week before against Army, throwing for 324 yards and three scores, and the three picks against OU were his first interceptions this year. He has to be nearly perfect for the Cardinals to come up with the win.

What Will Happen: For the Cardinals, the onus will be on their offensive line to hold up against what's been an extremely solid Temple defense thus far. Temple will rebound from the Toledo fiasco with a balanced offense and an improved day from the defense. Ball State will play well for a half, but it doesn't have the talent to hold up.

CFN Prediction: Temple 34 ... Ball State 15
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