KENT STATE (5-5, 4-2 MAC) @ TEMPLE (8-2, 6-0 MAC)
Saturday, November 21, 2009 | 1:00 p.m.
Lincoln Financial Field (68,523/Natural Grass) | Philadelphia, PA.
Radio: WNIR/100.1 FM (Tom Linder, Rob Polinsky & Ty Linder)
Series: Kent State will travel to Philadelphia for the third time in the last four years to face Temple. The Golden Flashes lead the brief series 2-1.
Last meeting: Kent State 41, Temple 38 | November 12, 2008
Last meeting at Temple: Temple 24, Kent State 14 | November 17, 2007
Temple recent history: Temple is 33-81 since the 2000 season. Temple is now in its seventh season playing at Lincoln Financial Field. The Owls left the Big East Conference after the 2004 season. Temple went 0-11 in 2005 as an Independent, playing nine teams that were bowl eligible. Al Golden stepped into a total rebuilding job in 2006. Golden's first recruiting class, now the seniors, have been through it all in their four years. In their first 17 games they began their collegiate careers at 1-16, losing by an average score of 14-40. In the last 31 games Temple is 19-12. Four of those losses came on the last play of the game and six were by a total of 12 points in regulation. Temple is 10-2 in their last 12 games and in position for a MAC East title.
KENT STATE Quick Facts
- Kent State can become bowl eligible with a win for the first time since 2006.
- Kent State can still match the school record for conference victories with two games remaining. The 1976 squad set the mark with six MAC wins.
- A win over Temple would give Kent State three road conference victories in a season for the first time since the 1977 team was 4-0 on the road.
- QB Spencer Keith has completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,915 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
- RB Jacquise Terry, who is expected to play after coming off the injury at Akron, has rushed for 590 yards on 4.8 yards per carry and four touchdowns.
- WR Tyshon Goode leads the Flashes with 48 catches for 685 yards and five touchdowns.
- MLB Cobrani Mixon leads KSU with 92 tackles while DE Monte Simmons leads the team with 7.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss.
- FS Brian Lainhart leads the team with five interceptions.
- Kent State's defense is averaging 8.3 tackles for loss per game which is first in the MAC and fifth nationally. KSU leads the MAC in and is tenth in the country with 3.0 sacks per game. The Flashes have forced 21 takeaways which ranks third in the MAC and tied for 28th in the nation.
- Freddy Cortez is 9/10 on field goals in MAC play.
- Kent State's non-conference opponents this season are a combined 21-20 this season.
TEMPLE Quick Facts
- Temple has won eight consecutive games to take a one game lead over Ohio in the MAC East. The last time Temple won eight games in a row was in 1973 under coach Wayne Hardin.
- It is the most wins in a season since 1979 when the Owls finished 10-2 with a trip to the Garden State Bowl.
- Temple is guaranteed its first winning season since 1990. They were also last bowl eligible in 1990.
- Temple is second in the MAC in rushing offense at 177.8 yards per game, while leading the conference in rushing defense, allowing just 107.2 yards on the ground.
- Temple leads the MAC in kickoff returns at 25.3 yards per return. The Owls are second in the MAC behind Kent State with 20 sacks.
- Temple is number 25th nationally in turnover margin, number 26th in rushing defense and number 28th in total defense.
- Sophomore QB Chester Stewart has started the last two games for Temple, completing 12-22 attempts for 288 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
- Freshman RB Bernard Pierce is fourth in the country and leads the MAC with 130.8 yards per game to go along with 15 touchdowns.
- Junior defensive back Jaiquawn Jarrett leads the defense with 61 tackles, three interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries. Alex Joseph has 56 tackles while DE Adrian Robinson leads the MAC and is tied for eighth nationally with 10 sacks.
- The Senior Class, Al Golden's first recruiting class, will be honored during a pregame ceremony.
- This is Temple's 1,000 football game in school history.
KEYS TO THE GAME FOR KENT STATE
CONTAIN RUNNING GAME, MAKE TEMPLE THROW THE FOOTBALL - Kent State's defense is going to have to find a way to at least contain Temple's running attack but it won't be easy. Led by freshman phenom Bernard Pierce, Temple's rushing attack ranks 37th in the country at about 178 yards per game. Kent State can't let Pierce rip off huge gains in the running game, especially on first down. And if they do, it could be a long day for the Flashes. “We need to make Temple throw the ball," head coach Doug Martin said. "If they can beat us throwing the football, then we have to tip our hat to them and go on. You can’t let them just run the ball up and down the field because if they do that opens up the play action pass, and that’s what happened to Akron last week. They were able to hit some huge explosion plays on them. You’ve got to contain the run and then you can’t give them the deep ball, because that’s really all their trying to throw.” Since making the quarterback switch to Chester Stewart, Temple's offensive has been more efficient and productive. “They’ve gotten better offensively, since they made the quarterback change, two games ago I believe it was," Martin said. "They’ve really gotten more balance in their offense. That’s really helped them immensely.”
OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION - Kent State is going to have put up multiple touchdowns in this game to be in it. The Golden Flashes are going to have to throw the football most likely to move the ball up and down the field. Temple's front seven is their strength, as the Owls are 26th in the nation in rush defense, allowing only 107 yards a game. “I think the big thing with Temple is their defensive front seven," Martin said. "They’re really big and strong. They’ve done a great job defending against the run all year." As always, turnovers could play a big part in the game and Kent State will need to force some defensively, and protect the football offensively to win the game. “As long as we take care of the football, the turnover margin goes in our favor, and then our offense has got to go out and score points," Martin said. "Right now Temple is leading the conference in scoring offense on the East side, so we’ve got to keep pace.”
SPECIAL TEAMS - Kent State feels they have the advantage on special teams. KSU leads the MAC in net punting while Temple is 11th in the conference. The Owls do lead the MAC in kickoff return yardage while Kent State leads the nation in kickoff coverage. Hopefully Kent State can take advantage of their strengths and limit what Temple does best on special teams. Freddy Cortez is 9/10 on field goals in MAC play while Temple's Brandon McManus is 9/15 in conference play. This game is similar to the Ohio game, and if Kent State wants to win they will need all units to play well. After the Ohio win Martin said, "Just like I told them, I'm not sure we're great in any area, but we're really good together, and we're playing really good team football right now in all phases." Kent State will need a performance and an effort that reflects that statement to beat Temple on Saturday.