Georgia Tech opened this week as underdogs to the American Athletic Conference’s Temple Owls but the Buffalo Bulls in week four provided an example of how the Jackets can take down the Owls in week four.
1) Run, run, run, run
In Buffalo’s win over Temple, the Bulls didn’t pass the ball all that much. The Bulls threw the ball just 15 passes in the game but completed nine passes for just 62-yards including one interception. Instead, Buffalo ran the ball an astounding 58 times in the game for 217-yards. They only averaged 3.7 yards per game, but their run game was able to dictate the time of possession, 37:09 to 22:51. This is great news for the Yellow Jackets as the Jackets have only had success running the ball this season. Through three games this season, the Jackets are averaging 173.7 yards. The Yellow Jackets offensive line, however, will have to hold up against a strong Temple defensive line. The offensive line has struggled for most of the year but perhaps a week off and the ability to have a week just to work on their craft will help their performance going forward.
2) Force turnovers
In their 36-29 loss to the Bulls last Saturday, the Owls turned the ball over four times including three interceptions from quarterback Anthony Russo. They also saw a Russo fumble the ball once and it resulted in a Buffalo turnover. It’s safe to say that Russo is a turnover prone quarterback and that’s something the Jackets will need to take advantage of if they hope to pull off an upset.
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Russo this season is averaging one interception, every 25.8 passing attempts, which is on par with his career average of 24.9. With that, the Jackets secondary is almost guaranteed to have an interception on Saturday and it would be shocking if they didn’t. After all through his first 16 career games, Russo has thrown at least one interception in 14 of those and has thrown multiple interceptions in five of those games.
As a team, the Owls are not prone to putting the ball on the ground either, with six fumbles in their first three games. Out of those six fumbles, they’ve lost three.
Overall, if the Jackets are going to beat Temple on Saturday, they need to force turnovers. The Owls in three games, already have eight turnovers and if it wasn’t for a poor showing from quarterback Josh Jackson, the Maryland Terrapins most likely would’ve handed the Owls a loss as well.
Geoff Collins’s defenses historically have been known for creating chaos, they’ll need to create that chaos on Saturday.
3) Make Temple one dimensional
Against Buffalo, the Owls became extremely one dimensional, thanks to Buffalo completely shutting down Temple’s run game. The Owls ran the ball 23 times but for just 31-yards, an average of 1.3 yards per game. That forced the Owls quarterback Anthony Russo to throw the ball 51 times, the most he’s thrown in a single game this season.The 6-foot-4, 235-pound quarterback has thrown five interceptions already this season including the three against Buffalo that we mentioned above.
History has shown that when Russo is forced to throw the ball, 40+ times, he has 12 interceptions in just six games. In those six games, the Owls are 2-4 If the Jackets can shut down the Temple run game and force them to throw the ball and make Temple a one-dimensional team, they’ll be able to put themselves in a good spot to win and also increase their chances of forcing turnovers.
Additionally, forcing a team to throw more also means the chance for more sacks, a place that the Jackets have struggled in so far this season. Through three games, the Owls offensive line has been strong, allowing just four sacks in their first three games.
The Jackets will look to upset Temple on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm on Saturday and the Jackets are an early double-digit underdog to the Owls.