The Temple Owls are in search of their first win of the 2013 season and likely a sack of potatoes:
Temple (0-2, 0-1 American) at Idaho (0-4)
Kibbie Dome - Moscow, Idaho
Saturday, 5 p.m., Altitude TV (Direct TV 681)
Temple (-7.5). The Owls are 1-2 against the spread this season, 0-1 as a favorite.
Temple had a bye week to try to forget its miserable loss to FCS Fordham two Saturdays ago. The Owls went through three quarterbacks and two kickers and still managed to take the lead twice in the fourth quarter. But the defense gave up a 29-yard touchdown pass with four seconds remaining, coughing up the lead for good.
Over the bye week, head coach Matt Rhule has made several changes to his depth chart.
Starting at quarterback, Connor Reilly remains under center, but true freshman P.J. Walker, who burned his redshirt against Fordham, is now the No. 2. He moved ahead of senior Clinton Granger, who went 6-for-15 for 58 yards and two turnovers in the first half of that contest.
Changes along the line protecting Reilly include sophomore Zach Hooks, who's back at right tackle ahead of senior Sean Boyle, freshman Dion Dawkins, starting at right guard over senior Pete White, and redshirt freshman Brendan McGowan, at left guard ahead of senior Jeff Whittingham. Call it a youth movement. Cody Booth, by the way, is back at left tackle.
At tight end, Chris Coyer is now No. 1, as Romond Deloatch is potentially done for the season with an ankle injury.
Switching to the other side of the ball, sophomore middle linebacker Nate D. Smith appears to have made a permanent change to defensive end. Smith, a promising recruit, was stuck behind Jarred Alwan and Rob Dvoracek at MLB, before vacating the pass rushing role of Sean Daniels, who recently underwent season-ending hernia surgery.
The only other change includes sophomore Matt Ioannidis starting at defensive tackle over senior Kamal Johnson.
It's a team without a conference -- or much talent.
Idaho has lost its four games this season by a combined 169-51. The Vandals have let up at least 40 points in each of their losses. Their margin of defeat has been by at least 32 points in three of those four losses. Their best performance came on Sept. 14 in a 45-35 loss to Northern Illinois, which is actually astounding.
But for all of Idaho's defensive issues, it's actually one spot ahead of Temple in yards given up this season. The Owls' 529 per game ranks 119th in the nation (see story), and the Vandals' 520 come in at 118.
As far as scoring goes, Idaho (again, astoundingly) hung 35 on Northern Illinois. Otherwise, the Vandals have put up totals of six, 10 and zero.
This isn't Russia, is it, Danny?
The Owls left for Idaho late Friday morning and flew into Lewistown, about 30 miles from Moscow.
Temple hasn't played a game this far west since the 2011 New Mexico Bowl. Otherwise, the Owls once opened the season at Arizona State in 2005. I'll spare you the details.
This particular trip spans 2,595 miles. The next longest trip Temple will take this year is to SMU in Dallas, 1,463 miles. Trips like this would have potentially been the norm had Boise State and San Diego State opted to join the American.
Some other travels notes: This is the first meeting between the two programs and will be the first game Temple has ever played in the state of Idaho, making it the 36th state the Owls have played in in the last 115 seasons. The 14 remaining states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Oregon, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont.