The most experienced unit on the Temple football team is the secondary, so it was especially discouraging on Saturday in a 36-27 loss to Maryland that the Owls gave up several big pass plays against Maryland freshman quarterback Perry Hills.
Hills finished 11-for-21 for 190 yards and two touchdowns and was not intercepted a week after throwing three picks without a score in a 7-6 win over FCS William and Mary.
He made many of his key throws, including a 38-yarder on third-and-11 near midfield with the Terrapins leading by two in the final minutes, to his right side which was usually manned by corner Zamel Johnson and safety Justin Gildea.
"We couldn't be in a better defense," said Temple head coach Steve Addazio on Monday's Big East Confrence call. "In Cover-2, the corner should carry the receiver more and there should be an overlap 2-on-1 and we didn't execute that a few times.
"The pass was good, the catch was great, but that's a play that should be defended. I said earlier in the week their strength was their wide receivers. They're legit players and the quarterback. … They made a play and it comes down to making a play. On third-and-11, there's a thrown-up ball to Cover-2 and we have to make that play and get off the field and give ourselves a chance to go down the field and win."
After having a few days to think about it, Addazio didn't want to criticize his defense too much for the three personal foul penalties that all came during Maryland scoring drives.
"It's a couple deals, guys just playing hard, to be honest with you, and those things will happen," said Addazio. "You don't want three 15-yard-penalties, but Nate Smith was coming on the one play and just got to the quarterback a little late, but it was great effort, The other is a horse-collar tackle, and that's just guys straining to make a play. The late hit out of bounds. …You don't want that all, but there was no intent of anything in any negative way on those plays."
Addazio remained proud of how the Owls battled back from a 26-3 halftime deficit to make it a game.
"We came out in the first half or rather didn't come out in the first half, put the ball on the ground, had two bad snaps, three sacks, dropped the ball six times, no explosives in our running game," said Addazio. "We fought our way back into that game and got it to 29-27 and couldn't get off the field and weren't able to finish that comeback. We (usually) run the ball well and don't turn the ball over and make silly mistakes, so it was a little uncharacteristic of our team."
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