Posted by Jerry Hinnen
TEMPLE WON: Not only did the Owls win their first road game over a BCS-conference school since 2002 (Rutgers), they won it in shockingly dominant fashion over the woeful Terps. Bernard Pierce ran for 108 yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone, powering the Owls to a 31-0 halftime lead. Meanwhile, Chuck Heater's defense held Gary Crowton's offense to just 240 total yards and zero points through the game's first 55 minutes.
WHY TEMPLE WON: The team from the MAC is not supposed to be able to go into the stadium of the team from the ACC and flat manhandle their hosts up front, right? But that's exactly what the Owls did, riding Pierce and their veteran offensive line to first-half touchdown drives of 57, 76, and 93 yards. It's not like the Terps didn't know what was coming--they were so focused on the Owl running game they allowed quarterback Chester Stewart (with all due respect, not a player known for his accuracy) to complete all nine of his passes. When you run the ball 59 times and still average a healthy 4.8 yards on those 59 attempts, you have officially bulldozed your opponent into submission.
But it wasn't just the Owl offense. The Temple defensive front held Maryland to a miserable 45 yards on the ground on 23 attempts--just 2.0 yards per-carry, and most of that coming well after the game had been decided.
The game's defining play took place halfway through the second quarter, when eight straight Danny O'Brien passes took the Terps from their own 16 to a 4th-and-2 at the Temple 9. Randy Edsall elected to go, handing off to D.J. Adams, but the Terp front was overwhelmed and sophomore tackle Levi Brown stuffed Adams for a loss of 1. MAC or not, ACC or not, there was no questioning which was the more physical team after that.
WHEN TEMPLE WON: The above stop -- even coming with 37 minutes left in the game -- effectively sealed it. But whatever dying embers of hope Maryland had were officially extinguished when the Owls took 12 plays -- 11 rushes, one pass -- to run off the final 7 minutes of the half, kick a 41-yard field goal as time expired, and take an insurmountable 31-point lead into the locker room.
WHAT TEMPLE WON: Even with several MAC teams putting together impressive performances Saturday (and throughout the season), a 31-point clubbing of an ACC team on the road is far and away the conference's best result of the season--and maybe the best result from any non-AQ conference team, Boise State excluded. Until further notice, Temple is your MAC favorite, and it's not even close.
WHAT MARYLAND LOST: Their manhood? Their dignity? Every bit of shine the Edsall hire gained in the win over Miami? A home victory that might have proven essential along the potentially tricky path to a bowl game? Any and all respect for their chances of an ACC divisional title?
The answer is: all of the above. Maryland was humiliated. Putting it any other way is being too generous.