Defending Their Turf

If Temple didn't lose to Toledo two weeks ago one game after scoring a big win over Maryland, there might be some concern about Saturday's game against Buffalo. If the Bulls hadn't upset MAC contender Ohio last week, there might be a chance of Temple taking its Homecoming opponent lightly. But after a 42-0 win over Ball State, the Owls insist their focus is on a dangerous Buffalo team.

If the Temple football team didn't lose to Toledo two weeks ago one game after scoring a big win over Maryland, there might be some concern about the Owls' preparedness for Saturday's Homecoming game against Buffalo.

If the Bulls hadn't just upset Mid-American Conference East Division contender Ohio last week, there might be a chance of Temple taking its Homecoming opponent lightly.

But after a 42-0 win over Ball State last week, the 4-2 Owls insist their focus is on a dangerous Buffalo team that is better than its record indicates.

"We had a big week against Maryland and had some distractions that hurt us that week against Toledo, so the coaches are making sure we're focused," said senior safety Kevin Kroboth. "You just stay hungry each and every week. Last week, we focused on the process and (went) back to the way we've been practicing and playing, back to toughness, incorporated all our core values.

"We know coming in, (Buffalo) is a good team, it's kind of a rivalry and you see they beat one of the top-notch MAC teams, it really brings your attention and makes you focus a little extra."

The Owls also want to get back on track at home after losing the last two and three of the previous four games at Lincoln Financial Field.

"We haven't talked about it much, but we want to win at home," said senior quarterback Chester Stewart. "It's not about winning at home, it's about winning the game, but understanding we haven't played well at home yet we want to do that this week."

What is scary about the 2-4 Bulls, outside of that 38-37 win over Ohio which sent tremors through the MAC East standings? Temple is 2-1 in the league, but three teams - including Buffalo - are now 1-1.

Start with linebacker Khalil Mack, who has a ridiculous 12 tackles for loss and 10 quarterback hurries.

"(Mack) is a great player, we have to game plan a little bit against him," said Stewart.

Added Temple coach Steve Addazio: "He's a completely dominant SEC-caliber player."

Stewart will make his fourth straight start at quarterback and Addazio said the coaching staff would continue to loosen the reigns on the conservative game plans occasionally and let the strong-armed senior take some shots.

"We were bound and determined we were going to throw X amount of shots last week, and we didn't take as many because of the way the game played out," said Addazio. "But it's something we need to do, and we have to take advantage."

On offense, the Bulls have a versatile quarterback in Chazz Anderson who has thrown for 679 yards and five scores and rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Branden Oliver is also a handful as he has 679 rushing yards, 16 receptions and eight touchdowns, and receiver Marcus Rivers has 31 catches for 325 yards.

"The type of offense they run, they're going to try to run the ball at you and throw it deep," said Kroboth. "You have to be able to focus on both and take them both seriously. We'll be ready for them."

The Owls have been ready for everybody, except Toledo. In addition to last week's shutout, Temple has held three other opponents under 10 points.

"The linebackers are playing their best football right now and that helps us a lot," said Kroboth. "Half the time (the secondary) is not even worried about stopping the run. They fill each gap and it helps us a lot because there's nowhere to run."

While he is happy with the way the defense is playing, Kroboth has learned — like the rest of the team — this week is all that matters.

"It doesn't matter what you've been doing, it's what you keep doing," said Kroboth. "You can't have an off day, especially during conference play."

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