|A few thousand Temple fans in the crowd of 106,000 go crazy watching Bernard Pierce score twice against PSU.|
Kent State by the numbers:
1) It leads the MAC in rushing defense, allowing just 65.9 yards per game and 2.1 yards per carry.
2) Kent State and Northern Illinois are tied for the MAC lead in fewest rushing touchdowns allowed with nine.
3) Ohio, by comparison, is No. 2 in the conference against the run, allowing 115.0.
4) Senior middle linebacker and Michigan transfer Cobrani Mixon has a team-high 65 tackles, including 9.0 tackles for a loss, and 4.5 sacks.
5) Outside linebacker Dorian Wood has 60 tackles, including 10 for losses.
6) Cornerback Norman Wolfe has four interceptions.
7) Defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix has nine sacks.
From reading some of the comments about Kent State before this Saturday’s (2 p.m. start) game, you might think Temple is playing Clark Kent and not Kent State.
(Clark Kent was Superman. The Golden Flashes are no Supermen.)
This is a team that lost at Penn State, 24-0.
Temple, on the other hand, hung tough at PSU and lost, 22-13, and the Owls were leading when Bernard Pierce went down with an ankle sprain. Penn State had no shot at stopping The Franchise, but did a nice job stopping his backup, Matty Brown.
So I have a Temple game plan guaranteed to beat Clark Kent, err, Kent State.
Toss in a little more Bernard Pierce on top of the Bernard Pierce you already have.
If Penn State couldn’t stop The Franchise, Kent State sure won’t.
Ditch this stupid Matt Brown in for one series, Bernard Pierce in for the next, experiment. Matt Brown is a valuable member of the Owls. I would use him as a third-down slot back, a David Meggett-type back. To have him split carries with Pierce, I think, is foolhardy on Temple’s part and only helps the opposition.
When Gale Sayers played for the Chicago Bears, you didn’t see Rocky Bleier come in for one series and and Gale the next.
When Jim Brown played for the Cleveland Browns, you didn’t see Leroy Kelly coming in for one series and Brown the next.
When Paul Palmer played for the Temple Owls, you didn’t see Shelley Poole come in for one series and Paul come in for the next.
When you’ve got a Machine Gun in a firefight, you don’t set it aside and shoot every other guy with a pistol.
That’s what Bernard Pierce means to the Temple Owls.
Establish Pierce left, right and up the middle behind that 318-pound average offensive line and I guarantee you all sorts of good stuff off ball fakes to Pierce will open up for quarterback Mike Gerardi, who throws an exceptional play-action pass.
Once Pierce is established, Kent will crowd the line and guys like Rod Streater, Alex Jackson, Michael Campbell and Evan Rodriguez will be running so free through the secondary that Gerardi’s toughest decision will be choosing which ones to pick out.
By that time, Gerardi will have thrown at least three touchdown passes.
Then go back to more Pierce to run out the clock and put the game on ice.
That’s my game plan.
Will Temple use it?
If the Owls want to win convincingly, they will. If they want to play down to the level of competition, like they did against CMU and Bowling Green, they’ll keep ill-advised two-back shuttle system.