Maryland seeks 3-0 start under Canada in matchup with Temple
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Matt Canada’s success as Maryland interim football coach can be attributed in part to his prowess as an offensive coordinator.
While Canada is earning high marks for bringing the players and coaching staff together under trying circumstances, his main contribution to the Terrapins‘ 2-0 start is designing an attack that’s averaging 39.5 points and 486 yards per game.
Canada began his dual role in August after coach DJ Durkin was placed on administrative leave. Durkin’s status remains in flux while the school investigates the culture of the program and the circumstances surrounding the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who died of heatstroke on June 3 after collapsing on the practice field two weeks earlier.
Through it all, Maryland is receiving votes in the Top 25 poll after stunning then-No. 23 Texas 34-29 and using a 35-point second half to beat Bowling Green 45-14 last week.
The Terrapins intend to keep the momentum going Saturday against Temple (0-2).
“They’re playing hard,” Temple coach Geoff Collins said. “Hats off to Matt Canada, He’s doing to real good job.”
Against Bowling Green, Maryland rushed for 444 yards — its most in one game since a 445-yard performance against Virginia in 1999. Twelve different players have carried the ball thus far, and five have scored.
“Our offense is built on a lot of guys touching the ball,” Canada said. “That’s something that we take a lot of pride in. It keeps our players excited and keeps our players engaged on offense.”
Some things to know about the first meeting between Temple and Maryland since 2012:
RESPECT FOR McNAIR
There will be a moment of silence before the start of Maryland’s home opener to honor Jordan, whose No. 79 has been placed within a large circle in back of the end zone by the student section. In addition, both teams will wear a No. 79 sticker on their helmets.
“We want to show our love, show our support for (McNair’s) family and the Maryland football program, what the players must have gone through and must still be going through,” Collins said.
LOOKING FOR A WIN
Temple hits the road for the first time after losing to Villanova and Buffalo at home.
The Owls gave up a fourth-quarter lead against Villanova and yielded a last-minute touchdown to the Bulls.
Regardless, Collins remains upbeat.
“I’m a pretty confident guy. I’m a pretty positive guy. It takes a lot to get me down,” he said. “Coming to work and seeing how these guys approach their business, I’m fine. We’re going to be really good.”
KING OF THE HILL
Terps quarterback Kasim Hill is the catalyst of Maryland’s potent offense. Rebounding from a torn ACL that cut short his 2017 season, the redshirt freshman has thrown for 343 yards and two touchdowns.
Hill has opened his career with 66 passes without an interception, the best start by a Maryland QB since Danny O’Brien threw 96 before picked off in 2010.
“He’s growing as a quarterback,” Canada said of Hill. “He’s very talented, but he hasn’t played a lot of football. I’m proud of where he’s at.”
BLOCK THAT KICK
Temple leads the nation with three blocked kicks. The Owls have swatted away a punt, a field goal try and a conversion.
Brandon Mack blocked a punt against Buffalo and Ty Mason recovered in the end zone for a fourth-quarter score.
“Their special teams are extremely aggressive,” Canada noted.
Maryland will be without running back Jake Funk, who broke his hand in practice last week and missed the Bowling Green game.
The 5-foot-11 junior scored five touchdowns last year and played in all 12 games.
“We’ll see down the road when he can come back,” Canada said. “He is a tremendous football player for us, not only on offense but on our special teams. So it is a significant loss, for sure.”