Last year's bad loss left lasting impression
Losing by 31 points is one thing. Getting dominated at the line of scrimmage, as Maryland did in last year's 38-7 defeat at home to Temple, is quite another. Saturday when the teams meet again in Philadelphia, the Terrapins will try to erase the memory of a humiliating beat down.
"The way they beat us last year was embarrassing," senior linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield said. "We're going to go up there to Temple with the mindset that we don't want that to happen again."
With an uptempo spread offense, the Terps were off to a promising start last September under first-year coach Randy Edsall. The Terps had beaten Miami 32-24 and fallen to West Virginia 37-31 before Temple arrived. The Owls outrushed the Terps 285-45 and completed all nine of their passes, leading 21-0 at the end of the first quarter and 31-0 at the half.
|Maryland at Temple|
|When » Saturday, noon|
|Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia|
|TV » ESPNU|
Afterward, Edsall delivered fire and brimstone, promising better effort before walking out of his news conference in a huff. But instead of motivating Maryland, the loss started a downward spiral which concluded with eight straight losses.
"They came in with a certain mindset and attitude," senior wideout Kevin Dorsey said. "I told my team, when you get hit in the mouth, you gotta hit somebody back. That's football. You gotta come out swinging every single game."
In many ways, the Temple game was a microcosm of the ills of Maryland last year. To prevent a repeat, the Terps need to hold their own in the trenches.
"We definitely gotta establish a new line of scrimmage," sophomore nose tackle Darius Kilgo said. "As a defensive line, we've got to get them in the backfield. They have a heavy offensive line, so we've gotta be physical."
Temple's offensive line averages 6-foot-5, 295 pounds. The Owls also start tight ends Alex Jackson (6-4, 250) and Cody Booth (6-5, 250). Running back Bernard Pierce, who wrecked Maryland last year for five touchdowns, was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, leaving his duties to pint-sized Mac Brown (5-5, 165), a Baltimore-product who carried 19 times for 145 yards in Temple's 41-10 win last week over Villanova. Last year's rout was such that Brown got plenty of work as a backup for Pierce, rushing 12 times for 75 yards. The tiny back made dispirited Maryland look bad on several occasions.
"He's quick. He's shifty. He's fast. He's tough. He's durable," Edsall said. "He can catch the ball. He's just a well-rounded back whose got speed and athleticism and toughness. What you gotta do is round him up."
When Maryland has the ball, it must rush better than it did last week in a 7-6 victory over William & Mary when it gained only 91 yards on 33 carries. Edsall said that the offensive line and running backs were both to blame for the lack of output.
Without an improvement, Edsall will have another horror film in his office. On Monday, his reaction to last year's tape was a decided thumbs down.
"I wasn't put in a very good mood after watching it," Edsall. "You learn things from experiences that you had. We're a different team this year. We just gotta focus on what we do well."