Ever since Saturday’s 20-17 win over then No. 21 Maryland, the Temple football players have received plenty of back-slapping from friends and fans alike.
Junior cornerback Harrison Hand was named the American Athletic Conference defensive player of the week on Monday after recording 10 tackles and an interception.
On Tuesday, defensive tackle Ifeanyi Maijah was selected by the Maxwell Football Club as the Chuck Bednarik Award player of the week.
On Monday, Buffalo coach Lance Leipold, whose team hosts the Owls on Saturday in a nonconference matchup, said the Owls compared favorably to Penn State, a team that beat the Bulls, 45-13, on Sept. 7.
“I think those two would be a good matchup,” Leipold said during the Mid-American Conference teleconference. “As we play different teams in the year, Temple looks like a Big Ten team."
All the accolades aren’t sitting too well with Temple head coach Rod Carey. When asked what he is doing to keep his players’ heads from swelling, he said he has done two things.
“One, turn on the film of Buffalo," Carey said Tuesday during his weekly news conference. “That is what you need to be paying attention [to]. They catch your attention, especially up front.”
Then referring to last year, when Temple lost a 36-29 home decision to Buffalo, Carey made his second point.
“At Temple, we were not successful last year [against] Buffalo,” he said. “I know it is a new team and new situation, but if they don’t have your attention, they should and that is what I told them."
Of all of Temple’s opponents, Carey, who was head coach the previous six years at Northern Illinois, is probably most familiar with the Bulls. Last year Carey’s NIU team beat Buffalo, 30-29 in the Mid-American Conference championship game.
Buffalo, which is 1-2 and coming off a 35-17 loss at Liberty, had to replace most of its skill-position players, but the offensive line returned four of five starters from last season. The defensive line is also a strength, according to Carey.
After watching the Maryland tape, Carey said there were plenty of things that needed to be corrected. When asked how many of the corrections were on special teams, Carey didn’t hesitate.
“A lot,” he said.
Putting it mildly, Temple didn’t have a good day on special teams.
In the first quarter against Maryland, a Terrapins punt hit a Temple player. Maryland recovered the ball at the Temple 19. Also in the opening quarter, a bad snap in punt formation gave Maryland a safety.
The Owls missed a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter, and allowed a 55-yard punt return to the Temple 4 in the fourth. Also in the fourth quarter, the Owls shanked a 7-yard punt, giving Maryland the ball at the Temple 10.
All the mistakes aside, Temple is a two-touchdown favorite. Nobody had the heart to ask Carey about that.
This will also be the first road game for the 2-0 Owls.
“We have a lot of young guys who it will be their first experience on an away game,” quarterback Anthony Russo said. “We have to be locked in from the start and ready to go.”
Notes: Graduate student kicker Jacob LaFree, who had previously only been able to kick off due to injury, has been competing this week in practice for the place-kicking job with Will Mobley, Carey said. ... Maijeh, defensive end Quincy Roche, and guard Vincent Picozzi were held from practice due to bumps and bruises, but Carey expects them back at practice Wednesday. ... Receiver Randle Jones, who missed Saturday’s game with an injury, did some running on Tuesday. “It might go into next week," Carey said about Jones’ availability.