The old Wizard of Oz line was that there was “no place like home.”
For Idaho’s football team, that’s especially true because, for the Vandals, there is no place like dome.
The Vandals look like a Division II team outside of the Kibbie Dome. Inside the building, they play like a pretty good FBS team most of the time.
Whether it’s the familiarity with an unusual setting or the altitude, that’s something Temple’s football team will have to be aware of for tomorrow’s 5 p.m. (Philadelphia time) start (97.5 FM, DirecTV via Altitude TV on DirecTV 681 and Dish Network 410-HDTV). The game is also available on the internet via a link to VandalsXtra here.
An Idaho team that loses, 42-0, on the road to Washington State, put 35 points up on Northern Illinois in a 45-35 loss earlier this season.
This chart below shows that Idaho performs SIGNIFICANTLY better in home games than on the road:
Dome Sweet Home
|Idaho Home This Year||Idaho Away This Season|
|Northern Illinois 45, Idaho 35 (2013)||North Texas 40, Idaho 6 (2013)|
|2012 Home Games:||Wyoming 40, Idaho 17 (2013)|
|Eastern Washington 20, Idaho 3||2012 Away:|
|Wyoming 40, Idaho 37||Bowling Green 21, Idaho 12; LSU 63, Idaho 14|
|Idaho 26, New Mexico State 18||North Carolina 66, Idaho 0|
|Texas San Antonio 34, Idaho 27||Texas State 38, Idaho 7|
Meanwhile, the Owls have problems of their own, especially with defense and the kicking game. Temple defensive coordinator Phil Snow had Eastern Michigan ranked 120 out of 125 defenses in FBS football last year, giving up 478.9 yards per game in 12 games last season. His Temple defense is ranked No. 119 currently, giving up 529 yards a game.
This is the same personnel Chuck Heater had when he shut out UConn in the second half a season ago; yes, the same UConn team that beat Louisville so talent does not appear to be an issue here. Hopefully, the changes made on defense with Nate D. Smith moving to one end and Matt Ioannidis moving to one tackle will help put pressure on the quarterback and take pressure off the defensive backs.
At least that’s the theory.
Snow has not recorded a shutout against an FBS opponent since 1996 — five years before he met a 25-year-old grad assistant at UCLA named Matt Rhule. Given the fact that the Vandals scored 35 points on a pretty good Northern Illinois’ team, he’s probably not likely to get one here. The feeling is the Owls will have to win a shootout, high-20s, high-30s, type game.
Temple opened as a 10-point favorite and the line dropped to 7 1/2 in just three days. There is not a lot of national confidence out there in Temple despite the strong words this week coming from the Edberg-Olsen Complex.
For Temple, this is where the talk about winning has to stop and the winning itself has to start.
Tomorrow: Late Saturday night game analysis