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Unfamiliar foes: Temple

6/25/2013

Our series taking a team-by-team look at the marquee nonconference faces the future American Athletic Conference will see in the fall continues today with Temple.

To read previous entries, click here.

Offensive opponent to watch: Army RB Raymond Maples

Owls fans may remember Maples from their matchup a year ago, when he ran for 94 yards on 15 carries, en route to 1,215 total yards rushing on the season -- the fifth-highest single-season total in program history. Maples will be the unquestioned star on this triple-option offense, especially with quarterback Trent Steelman gone. Just look at some of his credentials -- Maples is just the third Army player to post at least two 1,000-yard rushing seasons, joining Mike Mayweather (1988-90) and Carlton Jones (2004-05). He ranks fifth on Army's career list with 10 100-yard rushing games, and is currently sixth all-time with 2,489 yards rushing. There's no doubt he's in line for another huge season.

Defensive opponent to watch: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

Toss up here between Tuitt and defensive tackle Louis Nix III, who are projected to be early first-round picks in 2014. Tuitt is rated behind Jadeveon Clowney in Mel Kiper's early rankings at the defensive end position, while Kiper has Nix rated the No. 1 defensive tackle. Both are going to be a handful for the Owls to stop, regardless of returning starter. This will be the best defensive front the Owls will face all season, and the challenge comes in the season opener, on the road. The concern with Tuitt is his presence on the edge, and his ability to get in the backfield, quickly. Tuitt led his team with 12 sacks last season -- No. 2 all-time on the team's single-season sack list. He also had nine quarterback hurries and forced three fumbles. Temple is going to need to know where he is at all times.