Stop Run for Win No. 1

For the Temple football team to pick up its first win of the season Saturday, it will begin and end with stopping the Army rushing attack. The Black Knights and their triple-option are first in the country with 352 yards per game — though the other side of the coin is a 123rd-ranked passing offense that is throwing for just 66.7 yards per game.

For the Temple football team to pick up its first win of the season Saturday, it will begin and end with stopping the Army rushing attack.

The Black Knights and their triple-option are first in the country with 352 yards per game — though the other side of the coin is a 123rd-ranked passing offense that is throwing for just 66.7 yards per game.

Army's strength could play into the Owls' hands as they have struggled in the secondary and shouldn't be threatened too much through the air.

So if Temple can stop the run, it should win the game. But as many teams have found — most recently Eastern Michigan, which allowed 304 rushing yards and four touchdowns to Terry Baggett — it is easier said than done.

And the Owls will be doing it without defensive tackle Levi Brown and middle linebacker Rob Dvoracek, who are both sidelined.

Defensive end Nate Smith will move back to middle linebacker — where he started all last year — to replace Dvoracek. Hershey Walton and Averee Robinson will play more with Brown out.

"We have to find a way to slow down their rushing attack, which has been impressive," said Temple coach Matt Rhule. "You have to have discipline and real toughness, because it is hard to simulate. You just hope (the defensive awareness) gets better as the game goes on, because it can overwhelm you."

Senior safety Abdul Smith knows the Owls need to play team defense with everybody sticking to their responsibilities to have success against the Black Knights (3-4).

"You have to have great eyes and everybody has to do their jobs," said Smith. "If you don't stick to your keys and do your responsibility, a play can break like that. Last week, Eastern Michigan had a lot of guys doing their job and it just took one guy being out of place and they break one for 70 yards."

The Owls (0-6) have been simulating the offense using redshirting running back Khalif Herbin in the quarterback role.

"He's doing what he does best, plays with the ball in his hands," said Rhule. "He's given a great look."

Temple is hoping to build off last week's first-half offensive effort when true freshman P.J. Walker led the Owls to 20 first-half points — though was shut out in the second half of a 38-20 loss at Cincinnati.

"We have to get a fast start and not waste it," said Walker. "We have to try to score points and keep their offense off the field. I know I have to protect the football, because you can't win if you don't protect the football."

The Owls feel if they can pull out the win on Homecoming, it could spark a resurgence in the second half. Last year, the Owls went into West Point and Montel Harris ran for 351 yards and seven touchdowns in a 63-32 victory.

"They've probably thought of that game all year," said Rhule. "We have to handle their best shot and their best shot this year has been pretty good.

"Once we get a win, we'll get wins — it won't just be one. It's not like we're getting blown out, they've shown they can compete."

Added senior H-back Chris Coyer: "We're real hungry for a win, We've seen glimpses, moments of brilliance. We know we can get a win, we know we will. We hope it's this week."

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