Maryland at Temple
Mopping Up: When the Owls visited College Park last September, Maryland had a four-touchdown lead by halftime, and the Terps are four-touchdown favorites today. An early lead would allow Coach Ralph Friedgen to work in several of the younger players he has raved about in recent weeks, which could have long-term benefits for his team.
Last year, for example, safety Milton Harris got his most extensive work in the second half of the Temple game, making a career-high seven tackles. Harris is now Maryland's starting strong safety.
"It wasn't just four plays here at the end of the game, four plays there," Harris said of that game. "It was actually playing time, getting used to the speed on this level, [being] able to go out there and make plays against another Division I-A school."
If the game turns into a rout, expect to see plenty of freshman wide receivers Isaiah Williams and Danny Oquendo, freshman cornerback Kevin Barnes, sophomore defensive backs J.J. Justice and Isaiah Gardner, and a host of young linemen on both sides of the ball. Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson missed practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a leg injury; if he is kept out, sophomore Wesley Jefferson and freshman Chase Bullock will see more time.
Loose Balls: There were plenty of Maryland highlights in last week's win over Virginia, but none came on turnovers. The Terps forfeited the ball twice -- one interception killed a promising drive, another was returned for a touchdown -- and again failed to force a single turnover. They remain last in the ACC in turnover margin, and only five teams in the country have forced fewer turnovers than Maryland's four.
And if there were ever a game to feast on mistakes, this is it. Temple has lost 15 turnovers; only New Mexico State has lost more. Quarterback Mike McGann has thrown nine interceptions and one touchdown; he is completing just 42 percent of his passes.
Pity the Owls: It doesn't get easier for winless Temple after today; the Owls face Miami next week and still have road games at Clemson, Virginia and Navy. If there's been an offensive standout so far, it's been running back Umar Ferguson (Einstein High), who has surpassed 100 yards in two straight games.
-- Dan Steinberg