Maryland made a statement in a blowout win over Syracuse in Week 2. Now as Week 3 approaches, they will look to avoid the same stumbling block they tripped over last season. Maryland was shocked at home by Temple in 2018. Can they repay the Owls in Philadelphia by handing them their first loss under first-year head coach Rod Carey (12 p.m., CBSSN)?
Here are five things to know for Saturday’s game.
Maryland is ranked for the first time since 2013
As Maryland heads to Philadelphia, they will do so as the No. 21 ranked team in the nation. This marks the first time the Terps have been ranked since 2013 when the school was still a member of the ACC. Maryland earned the ranking after a 4-0 start which included a 37-0 drubbing of West Virginia.
Climbing all the way to 21 is an even rarer achievement for the Terps. You have to go all the way back to November 2006 fro the last time Maryland was ranked that high.
Maryland has the top scoring offense in the nation
Mike Locksley won the Broyles Award last season given to the nation’s top college football coaching assistant as the offensive coordinator for Alabama. Locksley was the coordinator who unleashed the Tua Tagovailoa offense that captivated the nation for much of the year. It appears that offensive prowess followed Locksley to College Park as the Terps currently boast the top scoring offense in the nation and it’s not close.
It may be a small sample size of only two games, but the Terps are averaging 71 points per game which is nine points more than No. 2 Penn State. Maryland put up 79 points against Howard, but it is easy to dismiss those results given that it came against an FCS opponent. What makes it impressive is how the Terps were able to follow up that first performance with a 63-point effort against ranked Syracuse.
The Terps lost to Temple last season
If you went through Maryland’s schedule before the season, it would be easy to gloss over the Temple game as an easy win, but not so fast. Just one year ago, the Owls came into College Park and stunned the Terps with a dominant 35-24 win.
Just like this year, Maryland was 2-0. Just like this year, one of the Terps’ two wins came against a ranked team as Maryland shocked Texas in Week 1 at FedEx Field.
The loss proved to be a costly one as the Terps finished with a record of 5-7 falling just one win shy of bowl eligibility. That should emphasize the importance of this game. The Big Ten East is brutal and, with all due respect to Temple, these are the wins Maryland has to have if they hope to reach that magic number of six wins.
Josh Jackson could be the key
In last year’s game against Temple, one of the major reasons the Terps lost was because the offense had zero pass attack.
Quarterbacks Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome combined for just eight completions on 21 attempts with 63 passing yards in a dismal effort. Maryland is a team that likes to run the ball and that’s fine, but unless you are an option team it is hard to find much success when you are limited to just 63 passing yards in a game. Overall, Maryland was held to fewer than 200 yards on offense as the Temple defense put together a completely dominant performance.
Having Jackson under center, however, gives the Terps an edge they did not have last year. The Terps may still try to run the ball down the Owls throats, but Jackson gives the team a dangerous quarterback who can open up the passing game in a way Hill and Pigrome simply could not.
It’s hard to know what to expect from Temple
You never know what exactly a team is early in the season, but that is especially true of Temple. The Owls have played only one game this season, a 56-12 win over FCS Bucknell, before getting a bye in Week 2. To make Temple even more difficult to figure out, they also have a new head coach this year in Rod Carey.
One thing that will at least be the same is quarterback Anthony Russo who made his first career start last year against Maryland. In that game, he threw for 228 passing yards and one touchdown. He was fantastic against Bucknell as he threw for 409 yards and four touchdowns.