Editor’s Note: Great job by Fizzy here. Made only one edit to change the name of Memphis running back Daniel Tyce to Kenny Gainwell.
By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub
Late in the first quarter, I stood and slowly looked around the stadium at the sea of over thirty thousand people wearing cherry and white. Finally, I thought, we got a perfect day for homecoming and just look at the crowd. Then, I sort of merged the vision of the acres of cars and people happily tailgating in the vast open spaces in the parking lot and laughed to think the school had considered trying to shoe-horn a small stadium with no parking into North Philadelphia. We were playing a ranked opponent, but our guys looked to be more than an even match on the field. Wow! If you couldn’t step back and smell the roses on this perfect Saturday in the fall, well, maybe you needed help.
Then I flashed back to a mere sixty years ago, 1959 to be exact, and we were getting ready to play Bucknell. We were scrimmaging under the lights in the old Temple stadium when I tore up my knee. The scrimmage couldn’t continue because I had been the twenty-second guy, and we didn’t have any more players. On the field in front of me, on Saturday, however, there were about seventy guys dressed for the game and a host of others standing by. We’ve come a long way baby!
Oh, I almost forgot. Let’s talk about the Memphis game. The wisp of nostalgia has blown away.
First, I want to congratulate the defense. Each week, they stop the opponent on third and/or fourth and short, and each week a different hero emerges. This week, it was Harrison Hand who was simply outstanding, supported by lots of other guys. Why would any coach playing Temple try to get a first down by going with a straight, up-the-gut handoff? On the downside, there were lots of missed tackles vs. outstanding Memphis running back Daniel Tyce, and some miscommunications which left Memphis receivers wide open in key situations.
“Then I flashed back
to a mere sixty years
ago, 1959 to be exact,
and we were getting
ready to play Bucknell.
We were scrimmaging under
the lights in the old Temple
stadium when I tore up my knee.
The scrimmage couldn’t continue
because I had been
the twenty-second guy, and we
didn’t have any more players”
_ Fizzy Weinraub
Correspondingly, why would Temple go straight ahead with Davis, in a fourth and short situation? Alternatives are a QB sneak with a 6-foot-4, 235-pound man: A fake dive quick slant, a fake handoff, and pitch to the outside or inside reverse, etc. etc. How about a hard count and then a play if it didn’t work. C’mon coach Uremovich, open up the playbook in those situations. However, Uremovich’s call for a pitch right – throwback left to QB Centeio, was a thing of beauty. Centeio though, took his eye off the underthrown ball which resulted in a bobble and then a strip. Also, we did a lot more pitches to the outside, some were sort of a half-reverse, and we saw Centeio playing some wide receiver which adds another offensive threat.
Next, should it be two, or not be two, that is the question. (See, I went to that English Lit class.) After Temple scored its last touchdown, they were up eight points. If Temple kicked the extra point, it would be nine points. If they were successful going for two, they’d be up 10 points. If not, they’d still be up eight.
Throughout the last quarter, I thought we were going to lose the game by one point. Memphis has an outstanding field goal kicker, and I didn’t think it was possible we’d keep him out of range. There were two times this year when we needlessly went for two (my opinion), and this time we didn’t.
I would have gone for two, to make it a 10-point spread. If we didn’t make it, Memphis would still have to make a successful two-point conversion to tie, after a TD. What I’m trying to say is a Memphis TD and field goal could only tie us, not beat us.
As it turned out, the UNCATCH saved the day. When I got home, I played the UNCATCH back ten times. I thought the view from the backside showed a lack of control and the point of the ball forcing a bounce up and to the right. So I thought the call was correct, but it could have gone either way. This time we lucked out. Remember back when Al was coaching and we scored a winning TD against Connecticut in the back of the end zone. The catch was disallowed because the replay didn’t show the receiver’s foot coming down. Gee, lucky we were still playing at the Linc and had all those NFL cameras.
Now, after the UNCATCH, I thought our play calling was chicken shit. We just ran straight ahead and tried to run the clock. All we need was one first down to seal the game, but Memphis used their timeouts to force a punt. This was the time when we needed an imaginative, but safe play to close out the game. Memphis only needed to get to kick from our 45, to have a chance for the winning field goal.
Last, let’s talk about QB Anthony Russo. I was asked before the game for a prediction. I said if Russo has a great game. we’ll win. Well, Russo had a good game, but he still missed two guys open for TD’s. He has a terrific arm but I’m still waiting for that great game. Also, I think bringing in Todd Centeio is a great changeup. But I still ask the question why Russo can’t run sneaks, keepers and bootlegs. There were times he could have scored using a walker.
Thursday: Reasons For Optimism Against SMU
Friday: Game Day Minus-1