Bird fight looms

Adam Hritzak and Adam Hritzak

Playing their final non-conference foe of the season, the Falcon football team (1-2) heads to Temple (1-3) tomorrow.

Coming off a disappointing loss to Northern Illinois last week, BG will look to rebound at Lincoln Financial Field against an Owls team that has looked shaky to start the season.

Although they have been outscored by 50 points through four games, BG head coach Gregg Brandon is not taking Temple lightly.

“Temple is just good enough to scare you,” he said. “They don’t appear that way with their scores and their record, but they have some speed and I like their quarterback.”

The Owls quarterback is Walter Washington, who has rushed for eight touchdowns and ranks fifth nationally in scoring with a 12.5 average per game. Although Washington has only completed 51.8% of his passes, he has been hurried constantly.

“He struggles a little bit with his accuracy, but (Temple) is struggling to protect him,” Brandon said.

The Owls offense is similar to BG’s in that they run a spread set. This enables them to run quicker routes and gives Washington room to utilize his speed.

It will be key for the Falcon defense, which could not stop the run against NIU, to contain Washington and prevent him from using his legs to move the Owl offense.

“We’ve got to get back to the nuts and bolts of our defense,” said BG linebacker Teddy Piepkow. “(Temple) has a really good quarterback. He’s a threat and is able to run. We have to send a statement out.”

Defensively, Temple is led by linebacker Troy Bennet, who leads the Big East and ranks ninth nationally averaging 11 tackles per game.

Temple has had a tough time stopping the run as they allow 184 yards rushing per game. The Owls D has not been opportunistic either, having not picked off any passes this season.

Brandon spoke about possibly putting too much pressure on first-year starting quarterback Omar Jacobs and needing his veterans to step up.

Running P.J. Pope said, “I think the load is more or less on myself along with the rest of the receivers to make plays for Omar. He’s been playing well, but bigger plays (would help) and (we need) to run the ball and take time off the clock.”

The Falcons need to re-establish their high-powered offense and get back to playing sound defense. Brandon will not let his team overlook Temple and knows the importance of playing at a top level against them.

“We’ve got to make plays on them early because they are a team who has just enough fire to burn you,” he said.