Morning Six Pack: Temple Hosts Woefully Shorthanded Maryland

Morning Six Pack: Temple Hosts Woefully Shorthanded Maryland

Fresh off a 41-10 win over Villanova, Temple takes on its first FBS opponent of the season Saturday when it hosts Maryland at the Linc (Noon / ESPNU).

A win would give the Owls their third straight 2-0 start, their sixth consecutive win at home dating back to 2011, their sixth consecutive win overall and just their second-ever victory over an ACC program.

Click here for the game preview and check out these six quick-hitters to get you prepped for kickoff:

1. Immediate History
Temple's first win over an ACC opponent came against the Terps last year in the form of a 35-7 thrashing in College Park. Bernard Pierce set a single-game program record with all five touchdowns in the victory. Also of note, Chester Stewart went 9 of 9 passing.

2. Where'd Everybody Go?
Twenty-five transfers. Head coach Randy Edsall has lost 25 players to transfer since taking over the Maryland program in Jan. 2011. 

Included in that list is quarterback Danny O'Brien, who lost his job as the starter at some point last year but parlayed that into another starting gig at Wisconsin.

Anyhow, as if they weren't already a little short on experience given the departures, the Terps had 13 guys get injured in the preseason, including two who are done for the year. The other 11 missed last Saturday's 7-6 win over William & Mary. Thus, they have 27 freshman and sophomores on their current two-deep depth chart, with the 14 true freshman on that chart serving as the third most in the nation. They had a whopping 14 guys see their very first college action last week.

Maryland will have two of its defensive lineman, Keith Bowers and Isaiah Ross, back against Temple, though the rest of those who missed Week 1 remain more than likely out.

3. Running up that Hills
One of the Terps whose out for the entirety of 2012 is O'Brien's would-have-been replacement, C.J. Brown. But Brown has a torn ACL, leaving true freshman Perry Hills to run the offense.

Hills went 16 for 24 against William & Mary, throwing three interceptions and zero touchdowns. He was sacked just once.

4. Expanded Offense?
The Temple offense was pretty boring against Villanova, because running the ball over and over was really just a good option. That and it didn't show much to future opponents.

Temple coach Steve Addazio said after Tuesday's practice that he tried to open a bit more of the offense earlier that morning, but that he wasn't satisfied with the team's performance, as guys had trouble re-adjusting to sets they hadn't worked on in two weeks.

Keep an eye on whether Temple chooses or is forced to go the pass more often this week.

5. Will You Show Up?
The Mayor's Cup set its third straight attendance record last Friday night and made for the largest crowd to watch a Temple game at the Linc that did not involve Penn State.

It's not unusual for the Owls to start off strong on opening night, just like it's not unusual to see the attendance figure suffer soon thereafter. For reference, even after Temple started 3-1 last season and rolled Maryland the week before, only 21,000 showed up for Week 5 against Toledo. In 2010, only 15,000 showed up Week 2, after 31,000 had been present opening night.

6. Odds and Ends
Vegas Insider lists the Owls as a 10.5-point favorite. If you're betting the money line, you'll need to throw down $375 on the Owls to win $100 or $100 on Maryland to win $290. The over/under is set at an even 45.

Bonus Brew
We're back with the musical outros this season:

*
Follow The700Level on Facebook and Twitter.

Best of NHL: Matt Murray, Penguins cruise past Habs

Best of NHL: Matt Murray, Penguins cruise past Habs

MONTREAL -- Eric Fehr and Jake Guentzel scored in the second period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Wednesday night.

Defensemen Ian Cole and Olli Maatta also scored for Pittsburgh, which won its second game in a row after a three-game skid.

Sven Andrighetto scored for Montreal, which lost its second straight and has only two wins in its last six games. The Canadiens' offense remained in a rut coming off a 1-0 loss Monday in Detroit.

Penguins goalie Matt Murray was back in form after Monday's wild 8-7 win over Washington, making 19 saves. But Carey Price's woes continued as Pittsburgh outshot Montreal 26-20. Price allowed three or more goals for the eighth time in 10 games (see full recap).

Vanek, Nielsen lead Wings over Bruins
DETROIT -- Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen scored in a shootout, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a comeback 6-5 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

The Red Wings rallied from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits in the first period, and with 3:04 remaining in regulation, Gustav Nyquist scored to pull them into a tie.

In the shootout, Tuukka Rask and Petr Mrazek stopped the first shots they faced before Vanek scored for the Red Wings and Brad Marchand countered with a goal for the Bruins. Nielsen, who like Vanek joined the team last summer as a free agent, scored on the team's third attempt and Vatrano missed the net with a chance to extend the 1-on-1 duels.

The Bruins were dominant early before blowing a chance to keep Detroit at a distance in the Atlantic Division standings (see full recap).

Burns, Pavelski push Sharks past Kings
LOS ANGELES -- Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels scored in the San Jose Sharks' seventh win at Staples Center in their last eight trips, 3-2 over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.

Joe Thornton had two assists and Martin Jones made 22 saves for the defending Western Conference champion Sharks, who wrapped up their regular-season series against their biggest rivals with three victories in five games.

After Burns scored his 19th goal in the opening minutes, San Jose hung on through a scoreless third period to continue its recent domination in downtown Los Angeles, including three victories in last season's first-round playoff series.

Tanner Pearson and Marian Gaborik scored for the Kings, who ended a seven-game homestand with four defeats (see full recap).

McDavid scores in OT, Oilers edge Panthers
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Connor McDavid scored the winning goal in overtime as the Edmonton Oilers won their fourth game in a row, 4-3 over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.

McDavid, who also had two assists in the game, got a breakaway late in overtime and got the puck away with 2.6 seconds left. Florida's James Reimer made the glove save, but the puck was ruled to be across the line via video review.

Zack Kassian, Mark Letestu and Jordan Eberle also scored for the Oilers, who have their longest winning streak since December 2015.

Vincent Trocheck, Michael Sgarbossa and Greg McKegg had goals for the Panthers, who have lost two straight (see full recap).

Joel Embiid, Sixers prove plenty with benchmark win over Raptors

Joel Embiid, Sixers prove plenty with benchmark win over Raptors

BOX SCORE

The Sixers weren’t supposed to beat the Raptors, were they? This was going to be an “easy” game for the visiting team, which was coming to Philadelphia on a back-to-back that started in Brooklyn. The Raptors are a playoff team, and second in the Eastern Conference at that. Not to mention, they had defeated the Sixers in their last 14 meetings.

Maybe easy would have been the case the last time the two teams played back in mid-December. For the Sixers, though, things have changed since then and a 94-89 win over the Raptors on Wednesday proved this recent success is not fleeting (see Instant Replay).

“I don’t think it’s a fluke,” Joel Embiid said. “We’re competing. We’re winning games. We’re playing great defense. We finally found what we’ve been looking for.”

The Sixers had been missing clearly-defined roles and a defensive identity (see story). Now that Brett Brown has whittled down his roster to 10 players and laid out a starting five and second unit, the team has been gelling in those two aspects. The Sixers have won seven out of their last nine games, with the Raptors being the highest caliber of competition.

The Raptors entered the game averaging 111.5 points per game, first in the East and third in the NBA behind only the Warriors and Rockets. They had scored less than 100 points in just seven games this season. Additionally, the Raptors had been held to under 90 points by a single opponent: the Spurs. Not bad company to be in. 

Embiid led all players with 26 points (including 12 for 14 from the free throw line) to go with nine rebounds (see highlights). The Sixers staved off 25 points (11 for 21 from the field), six assists and three rebounds from DeMar DeRozan and 24 points (11 for 16 from the line), four rebounds, four assists and five steals from Kyle Lowry, who fouled out. The Raptors shot 25 percent from three and 65.2 percent at the free throw line.  

“We’re playing with a spirit, we’re playing with a defensive mindset,” Brown said. “There is a belief within each other amongst the team that is the best that it’s been since I’ve been here.”

The Sixers' winning stretch began against subpar teams, opponents who earlier in the season some would look at the schedule and say, the Sixers could probably take that one, as they tried to project a batch of victories. The Sixers turned those wins over the Nuggets, Timberwolves and Nets into momentum and carried it into a matchup against the Knicks.

Even though the Knicks are looking lost this season, they still have veteran offensive firepower that can take over a game against a struggling opponent. The Sixers made noise by beating them at the buzzer, then escalated their performance against the postseason-hungry Hornets and Bucks. 

The Raptors are different, though. There is no questioning their success and potential to make a deep playoff run … again. Nonetheless, the Sixers handled this well-seasoned opponent with composure and confidence down the stretch. 

They stayed together when DeRozan hit a jumper with 1:53 to play to give the Raptors their first lead since the second quarter. The Sixers responded to the one-point deficit with a 7-0 run to push the edge up to six points with 20.7 seconds to go.

“I think it says we’re for real. It shows our consistency that we’ve built throughout the year,” Nerlens Noel said. “We’re relentless. We have a young group of guys that know how to play the game and play it the right way and will come out there and compete against anybody in this league. I think the perception should be a whole different one now.”

The Sixers showed they can compete with top talent. Their wins aren't just coming from teams at the bottom of the standings. 

"That gives us a lot of confidence," Embiid said. "Coming into the game, we had a lot of confidence. Winning against the second-best team in the East is just amazing. We’re going to keep on working."