The media blitz already has begun for this game with a crowd of at least 40K expected.
“We’ve got the best kicker in the country. That was the mindset. I was tempted to go for two (at the end of regulation) but I thought, ‘Let’s go to overtime.’ In overtime, we were really starting to pound the ball in there and almost scored (a touchdown) but I had enough. I was afraid we were going to have a center/quarterback exchange problem so I was going to center the ball to the left and I thought the best kicker in college football has got to win the game for Temple right now. And that was our strategy. We’re lucky it worked out.”_ Steve Addazio
One of the requirements for a journalism degree when I was at Temple was to take Creative Writing 101.
The basic tenant of the course was that a good story always has a solid beginning, middle and end and all three are intertwined.
So it is with Temple University’s 2012 football team.
The beginning (a 41-10 beatdown of Villanova) was good. Villanova is a much better FCS team than most people give it credit for and the 5-2 Wildcats are coming off a 38-14 win at No. 3 Old Dominion in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,000. Right now, Villanova looks like it could put up about 100 on Howard and 40 on Tulane.
The Owls are 3-2 and 2-0 and that’s better than most prognosticators expected.
The middle and end of the story is yet to be determined.
The middle comes EXACTLY at halftime Saturday against Rutgers and how that plays out will go a long way toward determining what happens at the end.
No one know knows what will happen on Saturday, but the formula to beating Rutgers is pretty simple:
1) Get off to a good start. The Owls have had some trouble doing that largely due to their stubbornness about establishing the run against solid fronts. Maybe they can tweak the game plan to fix that (see No. 2).
2) Get away from the offensive philosophy of pound and ground. If you thought the Penn State and UConn defenses were good at stopping the run, Rutgers is better. The Owls can move the ball on the ground against Rutgers ONLY if they set it up with some well-designed short slant passes. They can take advantage of past tendencies by play-faking to Montel Harris to freeze the defense, particularly on first down (not third). Roll out terrific running and clutch throwing quarterback Chris Coyer, the New Mexico Bowl MVP. That moves him away from the rush and gives him an option to run (if it’s open) or pass (if the DBs) come up on run support.
|Brandon McManus kicks the game-winner against UConn.|
3) Get field goal kicker Brandon McManus, on the Lou Groza Watch list as placekicker of the year in BCS football, in field position to kick five FGs. He’s got a range of 55 yards and in, so that should not be too difficult. McManus has also kicked a 70-yarder (under a rush) in practice. Hopefully, the Owls can get him closer and more often Saturday. He is also on the Ray Guy Watch List as best punter in the nation and the Ray Guy in him will do the Lou Groza in him a favor with his normal booming punts.
“We’ve got the best kicker in the country,” Steve Addazio said. “That was the mindset. I was tempted to go for two (at the end of regulation) but I thought, ‘Let’s go to overtime.’ In overtime, we were really starting to pound the ball in there and almost scored (a touchdown) but I had enough. I was afraid we were going to have a center/quarterback exchange problem so I was going to center the ball to the left and I thought the best kicker in college football has got to win the game for Temple right now. And that was our strategy. We’re lucky it worked out.”
4) Show some “trickeration” for a change. That has not been on any past Temple game film and would probably work now. A throwback pass from Big 33 starting QB Jalen Fitzpatrick, now the Owls’ best WR, off a reverse (or double-reverse) to either Coyer, Romond Deloatch or Khalif Herbin would work against an over-pursuing defense.
That gets Temple 22 points.
Then the Temple defense just has to do about as good a job as Howard and Tulane did against RU.
Not much to ask since the Temple defense is about 100x better than Howard and Tulane.
It’s as simple as 1-2-3-4 and would be a heckuva middle to a great story, setting up a terrific ending.
It might even be a classic in the non-fiction section by New Year’s Day.
Tomorrow: Got a winner in town
Wednesday: TU-RU by the numbers
Thursday: Throwback Thursday (TU-RU theme)