WVU - TU Game Preview

The Mountaineers travel to the 'City of Brotherly Love' to tangle with the improved Temple Owls.

Series: West Virginia leads series 21-12-0.

Common Opponents: Cincinnati, Miami, Syracuse. Temple 22 - Cincy 35, Temple 21- Miami 44, Temple 17-Syracuse 16

Hit the Road with the Mountaineers

Owls to watch:
WR Sean Dillard, DL Dan Klecko, RB Tanardo Sharps, DB Terrance Leftwich, OL Dave Yovanovits, QB Mike McGann, S Jamal Wallace, WR Zamir Cobb, RB Makonnen Fenton.

Injuries:
WVU - Ernest Hunter (Leg) Out, Darnell Glover (Knee) Out, A. J. Nastasi, (Ankle) Probable, Brian King (Thumb) Questionable, Ken Sandor (Ankle) Questionable

Temple-Lafton Thompson (Ankle) Probable. Dan Klecko (Neck) Questionable.

Game outlook:

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Game Info
WVU 2-1, 5-3
TU 1-2, 3-5
Sat. 11/2 Noon
Veterans Stadium
Series: WVU 21-12-0
TV: None
BCS: WVU-54 - TU-77
Line:WVU -6.5
Stats & Trends
WVU offense vs. Owls defense

This match up can be summarized in two words...Dan Klecko (6-1 276 lbs, Sr.). The all Big East, all America candidate has dominated opposing offenses by recording 42 tackles in 7 games including 6 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss and 15 quarterback hurries. Joining Klecko on the defensive line are rush end Tyrone Ditzel (6-4, 259 lbs,. Sr.), nose tackle Rob Sack(6-2, 260 lbs., Sr.) and defensive end Rodney Wormley(6-4, 217 lbs., Fr.). This foursome combined to hold Virginia Tech's untouchable running backs to 119 yards.

Forming the linebacking crew in Temple's 4-2-5 defense are Rian Wallace (6-4, 244 lbs., Fr.) and J.D. Nichols (6-2, 235 lbs., Sr.). Wallace and Nichols have combined for 77 tackles and are always around the ball. If WVU's tight ends and fullbacks can get a helmet on the Owl linebackers it could be another big day for the Mountaineer running attack.

Temple's secondary is lead by Yazid Jackson (5-10, 175 lbs., Jr.) who has caught 3 passes from opposing quarterbacks and has chipped in with 48 tackles, ranking him 3rd on the team. Manning the other corner will be Terrance Leftwich (6-1, 185 lbs., Sr.). Leftwich, arguably Temple's most active player, has 2 interceptions, 49 tackles and 7 pass break-ups. Rounding out the Owl's defensive backfield is Jamal Wallace (6-1, 190 lbs., Sr.) and Lafton Thompson (6-2, 195 lbs., Sr.). Thompson, a hard hitting safety, is a threat to come on a safety blitz and has recorded 1 sack and 3 tackles for losses.

By the numbers:

WVU ranks 13th in total offense (439.3 yds/game), 1st in rushing offense (305.8 yds/game) and 109th in passing offense (133.5 yds/game).

Temple ranks 47th in total defense (350.3 yds/game), 21st in rushing defense 108.9 yds/game) and 91st in passing efficiency defense (136.3 rating).

Advantage : WVU

WVU defense vs. Owls offense

With the Owls turning in a solid defensive performance against the Hokies last week it is imperative that the Mountaineer defense hold star running back Tanardo Sharps (5-11, 193 lbs., Sr.) to less than his average of 114 yards. The weather in Philadelphia may make the playing conditions a little messy, so scoring opportunities could be few and far between.

Sharps, Temple's top offensive performer, is having another outstanding year. He has gained 915 yards and scored 5 rushing TD's. Tanardo is also a receiving threat, catching 20 passes for 155 yards and 1 TD. The second leading rusher is Owl quarterback Brain McGann (6-6, 210 lbs., So.), who has rushed for 73 yards and 1 TD.

Temple's passing game has struggled at times and has seen two quarterbacks split time. McGann has been inconsistent and has had trouble reading defenses. He has thrown 14 interceptions while completing only 48.5% of his passes, which compiles into a efficiency rating of 98.04. In six of Temple's games, Coach Bobby Wallace has brought in senior quarterback Mike Frost (6-2, 240 lbs., Sr.) to try and right the ship. Frost has completed 9-15 passes for 137 yards, 2 TD's and 0 INT's.

The Owl receivers are lead by speedy Zamir Cobb (6-1, 180 lbs., Jr.). Cobb has hauled in 34 passes for 386 yards and 5 touchdowns. Joining Cobb is former walk-on Sean Dillard (5-10, 180 lbs., Sr.). Dillard is a hard worker that has earned a scholarship by having soft hands and showing the toughness to catch passes over the middle. He has caught 17 balls for 243 yards, reaching pay dirt once. Temple's big play threat is Makonne Fenton (5-10, 200 lbs., Jr.) Fenton has only caught 10 passes but has made the most of his opportunities by averaging 20.3 yards per reception.

By the numbers:

WVU ranks 18th in total defense (314.3 yds/game), 14th in rushing defense (102.4 yds/game) and 45th in passing efficiency defense (114.8 rating).

Temple ranks 105th in total offense (327.0 yds/game), 65th in rushing offense (143.5 yds/game) and 86th in (183.5 yds/game).

Advantage: WVU

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WVU special teams vs. Owls special teams

This week, the improving Mountaineer special teams will try to make some big plays against the Owls. Temple's place kicker Cap Poklemba (5-11, 180 lbs., Sr.) has struggled this year. Poklemba has connected on 7-12 field goals, with his long being from 42 yards and has missed 3 of 20 extra point attempts. Handling the punting duties will be Gar Ringwelski (6-5, 224 lbs., Jr.). Ringwelski has averaged 39.5 yards on 35 attempts including 1 block and 8 punts inside the 20 yard line.

Returning kickoffs will be Mokonne Fenton and Lawrence Wade (6-0, 195 lbs., So.). The speedy Fenton has returned 7 kicks for 225 yards and 1 touchdown. Wade has also had a solid year averaging 20.8 yards on 6 returns. Temple's top punt returner has been Zamir Cobb. Cobb has averaged over 10 yards per return which ranks 55th in the nation.

By the numbers:

WVU ranks 100th in net punting (31.6 yds/punt), 18th in kick returns (23.4 yds/return) and 99th in punt returns (7.2 yds/return).

The Owls rank 83rd in net punting (32.5 yds/punt), 43rd in kick returns (21.3 yds/return) and 70th in punt returns (9.5 yds/return)

Advantage : WVU

Picks to Click:

On Offense: Rasheed Marshall
On Defense: Jahmile Addae

Useless Stats:

* Temple players are on average 1 inch and 8 pounds bigger than the average Mountaineer player.

* WVU's record on November 2nd is 6-5. The Owls are 1-10 on November 2nd with the win coming over Bucknell.

* The Mountaineers are 14-5 as a road favorite in the last 8 years. Temple is 4-23 as a home underdog is the same time span.

* Percent of Temple players from Pennsylvania is 32%. Percent of Mountaineers from West Virginia is 23%.

* Currently, the Temple Owls have 11 former players in the NFL. The Mountaineers have 20 players in the NFL.

Stats & Trends

Prediction:
Temple hasn't seen the Top 25 since 1979 but they definitely make the Top 5 in All-Name teams. With Makonne, Zamir, Gar, Cap, Jairo, Jace, Taso, Satyen, Ikey, Umar, Yazid, Emeka, Yohance, Tariq and Tanardo, Mountaineer broadcasters Tony, Dwight, and Woody have their work cut out for them on Saturday.

This is a must win for the Mountaineers. Considering that the Blue and Gold's remaining schedule includes Boston College, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh, Temple is WVU's best chance to become bowl eligible. The Owls field a solid team and will be no pushover but revenge and a bowl game will be on the mind of Mountaineer players.

WVU - 17 Temple - 13


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