The Temple Owls look to remain undefeated when they visit the 1-2 Buffalo Bulls on Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm ET. What are the top matchups of the game? What are the keys to victory? Check it out below! Please be sure to follow everything Cherry & White on our Twitter page @BlueRouteTPL!
It’s crazy to think that it has been over seven years since Temple University left the Mid-American Conference. In their five year stretch in the MAC, Temple won 56% (35-62) of their games and obtained their first bowl game (Eagleback Bowl, UCLA) in 30 years. While it’s fun to look back to the Al Golden era, the future of Temple football has never been brighter. Through two games in 2019, the Rod Carey era could not have started any better.
Saturday’s game is a bit of a revenge game for the Temple Owls. Last season, Buffalo came to Lincoln Financial Field and upset the more talented Temple Owls 36-29 during the second week of the season. In that game, Kevin Marks led the Bulls offense with 138 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on 25 carries. Buffalo held Temple to 3-14 on 3rd down, and the Bulls controlled the line of scrimmage the entire game. We’ll talk more about that with our keys to the game in a little bit.
Get to Know the Buffalo Bulls
Quick note: If you see the same player on offense and defense on Saturday, you’re not crazy. The Buffalo Bulls feature fraternal twins Jaret and James Patterson who are the stars of their respective ends of the field.
Buffalo is the midst of a rebuilding year and looking for some of their youth to step up. The Bulls lost 20 players to graduation, including 10 starters. During the MAC preseason poll, Buffalo was projected to finish third in the East Division behind Ohio and Miami. On offense, Buffalo is led by Preseason All-MAC running back sophomore Jaret Patterson. Prior to the season, the 5’9″ Jaret Patterson was ranked 6th best overall player in the MAC.
Buffalo is strongest on their offensive line, where they have depth and return all five starters. Buffalo features two very good offensive lineman in senior tackle Evin Kseizarczyk and junior center Jacob Gall. On defense, Buffalo is without two of their best defensive players from 2018 in LB Khalil Hodge and DB Cam Lewis. Hodge and Lewis were named all-MAC first team selections last season. This year, Buffalo is led by junior linebacker James Patterson.
After defeating Robert Morris 38-10 in the season opener, Buffalo has dropped two straight on the road vs. Penn State and Liberty. Let’s get into our top matchups and keys to victory for Saturday’s game vs Buffalo.
Here are the Top Matchups vs Buffalo
Anthony Russo vs. Buffalo’s Secondary
The nod for top quarterback in the American Athletic Conference is looking like one of the best in all of college football. Between Anthony Russo and UCF QB Dillon Gabriel, the American features an electric duo of talented quarterbacks. So far through two games, Anthony Russo and the Temple offense are soaring.
Russo’s 165 quarterback ranking is good for third best in the American Athletic Conference. Russo has the second most touchdown passes (7) and 4th most yards (686) in the American. However, Russo has played only two games compared to the three games from his competition.
On Buffalo’s end, the Bulls lost three key starters in their secondary from 2018 and were torched by Liberty’s quarterback Stephen Calvert for 4 touchdowns and 10.8 yards per pass. Against Penn State, Sean Clifford lit up the Buffalo secondary going 16/22 for 279 yards and 4 touchdowns. Through three games, Buffalo has given up over 30 points per game. Everything seems aligned for another big afternoon from Anthony Russo this Saturday.
Shaun Bradley vs. Jaret Patterson & Kevin Marks
Similar to what Temple saw with Maryland, Buffalo will have two main threats coming from the backfield on Saturday. Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks are the two lead backs for the Buffalo Bulls. Enter linebacker Shaun Bradley, who is fresh off a dominant performance vs. Maryland. Here are the best highlights from Shaun Bradley vs. the Maryland Terrapins.
While Patterson and Marks are a notch below Maryland star RB Anthony McFarland in regards to talent, Bradley must stay focused and continue to lead one of the best groups of linebackers in the American Athletic Conference. In fact, sophomore RB Kevin Marks had the most yards in his career at Buffalo vs. Temple in 2018 (138 yards). You can bet that Shaun Bradley will be studying significant amounts of game tape on Kevin Marks this week.
Ifeanyi Maijeh vs. Matt Myers
Matt Myers is the first freshman quarterback to start for Buffalo in nearly 30 years but has a ton on his plate this week. Most specifically, knowing where Ifeanyi Maijeh is on the field should be priority one for the redshirt freshman. Maijeh led a defensive line that held a potent Maryland ground game to 3.5 yards per carry, two sacks, and three tackles for loss last Saturday. Here are the best highlights from Ifeanyi Maijeh vs. the Maryland Terrapins last Saturday.
Through two games, Maijeh is tied for second most sacks in the America Athletic Conference. Maijeh left the Maryland game in the fourth quarter. From all reports, the injury is mild and Maijeh should be fine for Saturday vs. Buffalo. To say Ifeanyi Maijeh has been a playmaker for Temple’s defense would be an understatement. Maijeh’s performance through two games has been the single biggest surprise of the season for the Temple Owls.
Harrison Hand vs. Antonio Nunn
What a performance from Harrison Hand against Maryland last Saturday. Hand finished the game with an interception, 10 tackles, and a pass deflection. Hand’s dynamic performance vs. Maryland granted him AAC defensive player of the week honors.
5’11” junior Antonio Nunn is the Bulls’ top wide receiver and had a late 4th quarter touchdown vs. Temple in 2018 that gave Buffalo the lead. Harrison Hand will have his hands full (pun intended) with this speedster that can stretch the field and has a knack for the deep ball.
Quick note: Redshirt sophomore Christian Braswell will make his second career start for the Temple Owls. Linwood Crump had surgery on Friday and is recovering from a hand injury. Braswel, alongside Harrison Hand, excelled in coverage vs. Maryland last Saturday and held Maryland QB Josh Jackson in check all afternoon.
@mrcrockpot’s 3 Keys to the Game
Better on 3rd Down
Anthony Russo and the Temple offense must perform better on third downs vs. Buffalo on Saturday. They were a dreadful 3-of-14 on third downs against Maryland and didn’t convert on all three of their fourth down opportunities. A comfortable Temple victory on Saturday will likely result from more conversions on third down and limiting turnovers.
Unmask Mike err Matt Myers
It was a long day for Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson. Buffalo’s offensive line is one of the strengths of the roster, and redshirt freshman Matt Myers is a dual threat quarterback. Myers has shown to be mature beyond his age so far. He’s been a solid decision maker, and the numbers show it despite playing with a very inexperienced group of wide receivers.
The game plan shouldn’t change much for Temple. Similar to how Temple was able to contain Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson, I expect the defense to keep Matt Myers in front of him and rattle him in the pocket. Expect to hear the names Quincy Roche and Ifeanyi Maijeh a ton on Saturday afternoon.
Pedal to the Metal
Temple is 2-0, coming off a huge victory over top 25 ranked Maryland and have a revenge game on deck against ex-Temple head coach Geoff Collins (Georgia Tech) the following week. On paper, this matchup has potential to be a trap game for Temple. However, it is important to note that Buffalo gave Penn State a headache two weeks ago, leading PSU 10-7 after the first half. Rod Carey must keep the pedal to the metal and take out Buffalo quick and early on Saturday.
If you got this far, then you you’re probably assuming that this is going to be Temple rout. If so, then you’re 100% correct. I expect another huge outing from Anthony Russo, Jaden Blue, and the #TempleTUFF defense on Saturday afternoon. It won’t all be pretty, but I expect a comfortable win going into the fourth quarter.