Temple Football: A Win Against Pittsburgh Is Crucial

Manny GeraldoCorrespondent IOctober 24, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 20: Cody Booth #38, Brandon McManus #19 and Kenneth Harper #20 of the Temple Owls react as a filed goal attempt by kicker Colby Perry (not pictured) is good during the first half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 20, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rutgers defeated Temple 35-10. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

There are five games remaining in the regular season schedule and the Owls are restlessly sitting at an underachieving 3-3. Temple must win three out of the next five games to be bowl-eligible. Three of the final five games are on the road, including undefeated and top-25 ranked Louisville and a Cincinnati (5-1) team that is only one game away from bowl eligibility.

Needless to say, the road to a bowl game is rough and rocky. Temple's next game at Pittsburgh is an absolute must-win and would serve as a huge boost for morale down the season's stretch.

The Panthers are only 3-4 overall but have played well at home where they upset Virginia Tech and battled Louisville valiantly. They have a strong rushing attack behind senior Ray Graham, and with only five games remaining, they must also treat the Temple matchup as a must-win if they hope to play in a bowl game.

Montel Harris has played exceptionally the last three games, and he must be the focal point against a mediocre Pittsburgh rush defense that is allowing nearly 143 rush yards per game.

Temple's passing attack continues to be its Achilles' heel. The passing offense ranks in the bottom five in the nation, and junior Chris Coyer has yet to pass for more than 200 yards in a single game. He has not managed to pass for over 100 yards twice.

An offense that is so obviously one-dimensional makes the play-calling much too easy for the opposing team's defensive coordinators. Head coach Steve Addazio must find some creative ways to get the passing game going, even if that means playing backup quarterback Clinton Granger more.

Matt Brown's limited play due to injury has taken one of the offense's most elusive players away. He returned kicks against Rutgers, so hopefully he is able to take snaps in Saturday's game.

Temple's inaugural season has been, as expected, one of ups and downs. However, there if they can steel themselves to winning three of the next five games, then it will have been a season that exceeded expectations. Their season begins anew at Pitt and, victory there is crucial to extending their regular season.