Turning the Page

That looks like double coverage on Will Fuller. Two things: Why wasn’t the primary corner closer to Fuller and why did the safety help make no attempt to jump to knock the ball down?

So close, yet so far away.

Turning the page on this one is going to be hard, because it’s quite possible that this was the best chapter in the book.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Temple players awoke this morning with many pats on the back, but I’m sure what Matt Rhule said last night is going to carry much more weight than anything written here but it needs to be repeated: There is no such thing as a moral victory.

It would have been nice to see Temple run the table, go 13-0, and leave the college football playoff committee to complete the messy task of screwing the Owls out of a Final Four playoff spot. That opportunity will not present itself because one of the best defenses in the country failed to make a play against one of the best offensives in the country in the final three minutes.

Make no mistake, the committee would have screwed Temple because the Power 5 conferences have imposed a set of standards on the Group of 5 that are impossible to achieve. A P5 officiating crew from the ACC was there, not a G5 one.bestever

I will put this Temple loss in the same box with the 10-9 loss to No. 1 Pitt in 1979 and the 10-7 loss to eventual No. 1 Penn State in 1978. Good, but not good enough. After those games, there was the feeling that Temple would come back the next year and make the next step and win one. Next year never came. Who knows when Temple will ever be placed in a position to win one of these games again?

“I thought our kids overcame a lot of things, and I’m proud of them,” Rhule said. That was the politically correct way of saying three of the four pass interference calls on Temple were completely bogus. That looked like double coverage on Will Fuller. Two things: Why wasn’t the primary corner closer to Fuller and why did the safety help make no attempt to jump to knock the ball down?

One possible conclusion is the two were spooked on Halloween by those earlier calls.

Rhule was right about everything he said last night and now it’s time to turn the page. It’s a worthwhile book that deserves a happy ending but the facts are it won’t be The Great American Novel it could have been.

How sweet would it have been to have picked up that ball out of Kizer’s hand and run it in with no time left?


49 thoughts on “Turning the Page

  1. Let a Notre Dame fan since 1969 that has watched every game this year tell you that when people tell you ND played poorly, played their worst game of the year, etc. they did niether because the Irish played well. Temple maybe caught a few breaks, but mostly the Owls played their butts off for 60 minutes. Quite possibly the best defense we have seen. (will have to watch the Clemson game again to decide). Definitely the best tackling I have ever seen, any year.

    • I thought the Irish played well. Two well-played (but not “A” games) from both teams. Two teams brought their B games. This notion that if both teams brought their A games that Notre Dame would wipe the floor with Temple was debunked.

      • Sometimes when both teams bring their ‘A’ game the result looks like a ‘B’ game because neither can play clean. But you may be right. Still, the Owls are my new second favorite team. 13-1 sounds right.

  2. You know what there are moral victories. Temple by all rights should not have been on the same field as Notre Dame. In the end, if a couple of plays went Temple’s way they would have won the game. That is what tells you how good a team really is. When you get blown out it isn’t a couple of plays one way or the other that is the difference.

    Notre Dame is team that has every advantage that Temple doesn’t. They have better facilities, they have more rich donors, they have history, they have championships, they have their own TV contract, and they have more individual talent. I decided to look at the recruits ND has gotten and the recruits that Temple has gotten over the last five years. I know these rankings aren’t perfect but there is at least some grain of truth:

    Notre Dame
    2011: #10 5*=2 4*=8 3*=12 2*=1
    2012: #20 5*=1 4*=8 3*=7 2*=1
    2013: #3 5*=4 4*=14 3*=6 2*=0
    2014: #11 5*=1 4*=10 3*=12 2*=0
    2015: #11 5*=0 4*=13 3*=11 2*=0
    Total 5*=8 4*=53 3*=48 2*=1
    Average = 3.25*

    2011: #108 5*=0 4*=0 3*=4 2*=17
    2012: #77 5*=0 4*=0 3*=5 2*=24
    2013: #85 5*=0 4*=0 3*=7 2*=14
    2014: #59 5*=0 4*=1 3*=12 2*=14
    2015: #73 5*=0 4*=2 3*=6 2*=12
    Total 5*=0 4*=3 3*=34 2*=81
    Average =2.24*

    According to Rivals

    Notre Dame should have wiped the field with Temple, but they didn’t. They needed a whole game to put Temple away. Why is that? Because Temple is the better TEAM they just aren’t as talented. Despite the talent gap, playing as a team kept them in the game and if just one or two plays would have gone their way we would be celebrating a W. This is a moral victory and the moral is that football is a team sport and the better team, not the better group of players, can win even always don’t.

    I hope the players learned this lesson and keep playing as a team because they still have conference to win.

    Go Owls!

    • I respectfully disagree. Not a single Temple player, past or present, believes in a moral victory. And that’s the way it should be. You can be proud of the way the team played but still pissed off at the loss. I agree with Mike Vreeswyk here:

      Mike Vreeswyk
      14 hrs ·
      Fuck that. No moral victories
      Like Comment Share
      John C. Van Wert Sr., Matthew Maciolek and 12 others like this.
      Philip Petroski
      Philip Petroski New Year’s Day bowl out now.
      Like · Reply · 14 hrs
      Morgan Conklin
      Morgan Conklin Great Game Though, Give them credit.
      Like · Reply · 14 hrs
      Mike Olshin
      Mike Olshin NYD bowl isn’t out at all. Same path as before. They’ll be the highest ranking non-BCS team if they win the next 5. Yesterday’s game actually probably solidified that in most voters minds.
      Like · Reply · 4 hrs
      Mike Olshin
      Mike Olshin Rocky I was a moral victory also.
      Like · Reply · 4 hrs
      Mike Vreeswyk
      Mike Vreeswyk No real team believes in moral victories. And Rocky wasn’t real
      Like · Reply · 4 · 3 hrs

    • goes to show u that High school rankings mean nothing.

  3. I have a feeling that the defense got over-excited with the game on the line. On the two key pass plays there were inexplicable breakdowns especially on the touchdown. Would have had a man in Fuller’s face to impede him off the line and one over the top. If another player beats you so be it but you can’t permit the player everyone knows is getting the ball to catch it. Refereeing was horrendous. On the hands to the face call on the last drive if that wasn’t pass interference I don’t know what is especially after those clowns called interference on TU where the receiver initiated the contact. Nevertheless the Owls played well and they can’t lose focus.

    • Should have also been 9 seconds, not 7. That would have forced ND to Punt.

    • A victory would have been one for the ages. This game doesn’t hurt temple it’s gets them national respect. On to SMU all of our goals are still intact. Love this team.

    • Agree with Tractorr.., ND just has better athletes but Temple has a better TEAM and Rhule gets more out of his players than that other guy.., two plays in the second quarter highlight the state of our program and the lack of Top 10 speed…, 1. Jahad Thomas got caught from behind on the 39 yard run by a linebacker! in the open field. 2. Kizer outran our DBs on the 70 yard TD run…, our best RB should not get caught from behind by a linebacker, and Temple DBs must have the speed to catch a QB in the open field…., at the end of the night ND was just a bit bigger, stronger and faster…, the outcome would have been different if Temple had the same team speed as ND.., hats off to Temple, again I was wrong.., this isn’t the same old Temple…, and I’m going to pick Memphis to beat Temple in order to keep the streak going..,

      PJ hurt his shoulder again getting hit after a pass attempt during the second quarter.., and you can’t win big games in big time college football when your QB completes less than 50% of his passes no matter how good the defense is.., the shovel pass would have worked at least three times last night

      Temple was in the national spotlight all day and night on a Saturday.., that is really great news….

      I have never seen the K Lot like that.., ever.., the student party the w/DJ was off the chain…..,

      would love to see Temple use this season to bring in more team speed on the recruiting trail, find a real RB coach and new OC

      Navy will beat Houston or Memphis. I hope it is Memphis…., having to play Memphis twice would not be good

      • Wow you really are clueless. That’s what you took out of this game. All phases of the team played well and lost to a national power by 4 and held the lead with 4 minutes left. Yea let’s fire the running backs coach, unreal.

      • KJ, every post u write shows how clueless u are. actually i find good humor in your posts.

  4. Am I the only one who thinks that the Owls lost by about one inch?? That #6 made a fantastic play on the interception, one that athletes like that make all the time, but IF he missed or was just a fraction of a second late, Christopher has that ball and is off to the races.

    What a great game. It lived up to all of our expectations. I have no idea what this week really means for TU Football going forward, but I’ll say again, that EVERYBODY that reads this blog should just revel in the moment. No matter where we go from here, this season will never be duplicated.

    In a crude analogy, it is almost like the first time you got laid.

    • I thought the same thing. P.J. made the best throw he could as he was on the run and looking at the line of scrimmage. still, what a wonderful thing it would have been to float the ball over No. 6’s head and into No. 7’s hands. ….

  5. I’m a little concerned with Temples recruiting for next year. So far they have four 3 star recruits, two 2 star recruits and 6 players who are NotRanked and have no stars at all. With a mediocre offense and the majority of they’re star defensive players graduating, im concerned we could take a HUGE step back next year. With the national publicity we are getting right now, this is the time Rhule needs to go out and recruit a few 4 star players and a whole lot of 3 star players. These 1 and 2 star recruits just aren’t going to cut it anymore if Temple wants to be big time. Heck even Houston has eleven 3 stars and a 5 star recruit committed for next year. Matt Rhule has recruited well the last couple years but he needs to get on the ball this year. That is unless he plans on taking over one of the 9 power 5 vacancies at the end of the year!!

    • I wasn’t that worried about Rhule going anywhere. I just didn’t see any of the vacancies as being right for him. Then Frank Beamer announced his retirement. I am very scared that he could wind up at Va Tech, which seems like a very good fit for him.

      • The VaTech job isn’t what it used to be. Their grip on Tidewater isn’t nearly as strong as it used to be. The glory days there are over

      • Maybe, maybe not. They pay Beamer around 2.3 mil and they could probably go up more. Va Tech has never been a flashy program and was always based around good defense and strong special teams. That sure sounds a lot like Rhule to me. He isn’t going to Miami after what happened with Golden. I don’t think either SC would be interested. Maryland, Illinois and Minnesota are just not great jobs because they will always be second fiddle teams in the Big 10 (Illinois and Minnesota slightly better because the are in the West). Va Tech is in the fairly weak Coastal Division and in a strong recruiting area.

    • They probably will take a step back but with three of the four non-conference games almost sure wins, the Owls should again be bowl eligible.

      • Temple will be good next year also. this isn’t a one year wonder. Losing Matakevich, Young, Smith, Iannadonis, Friend will hurt but Rhule has recruited well and redshirted a lot of guys. Kareem Ali will replace Young. And don’t forget Anthony Davis who hasn’t played this year after tearing his ACL last year. Sharga will replace Matakevich. Michael Dodge, Reddick, Jacob Martin, Finch, Freddie Booth, Alwan have to step up. and the young safety Russell looks like a beast.

        the offense returns pretty much everybody except Anderson & Friend. Vented Bryant looks like a young stud. Adonis Jennings will be better. the young TE Patton looks good.

        so i think we are good moving forward.

    • its still early in the recruiting process and Rhule always signs a few studs late. don’t put too much into 5,4, or 3 stars. just look at Temple’s current team.
      Matakevich – 2 star recruit
      PJ Walker – 2 star recruit
      Jahad Thomas – 2 star recruit
      Robby Anderson – 2 star recruit
      Tavon Young – 2 star recruit
      Kyle Friend – 2 star recruit

      Temple just had a week long national commercial so the recruits will come. Rule has proven himself a great recruiter.

      • I really like the team next year. averee robinson is back in the middle and is a perfect 5-2 nose guard; dogbe, martin, great pass rushers to replace Nate D. Nate L. is back. Randall is good. Ali will replace Tavon. Sharga will be better than anyone expects at LB, not quite as good as Tyler (who is?), but Tyler Lite. He’s going to make a lot of plays. I hope Felton can be Sharga’s replacement on the other side. Champ is back. If we can get Webb eligible, that’s huge, but so is Freddie Booth-Lloyd. Defense might even be better. I did not even mention Jacob Martin and Anthony Davis. Oh wait. I just did.

    • The best thing that “Matt” can do to help recruiting is to come out with a definitive statement: “I’m here and I’m not going anywhere. If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept.” I’ve heard a little too much “I can’t tell what the future will bring” comments for my taste.

      • Agreed! Glad you said that Mike. One of the biggest pros for Rhule in the beginning was his “here to stay” attitude. Would he still sign that 20 year contract today if they offered it?

      • This is a business for the coaches. I cannot condemn Rhule if some program offers him the moon and the stars to leave. If he floundered long enough, Temple would fire him. He owes nothing to Temple but to do the best job he can while he is here. He has done that in spades. He proved this is a good job and you can win here. I hope he stays but he has to do what is best for himself and his family. I love the guy for what he has done. I believed in him from day one but could never have imagined this success.

      • Mike agree with you and Ben S. I do remember that him being here for the long haul was one of the reasons that Rhule was ” the only choice for the job”. Don’t get me wrong you can’t fault anyone for making a move that pays better, is in a P5 conference, etc., we would all do the same in that situation. Aside from doing what is necessary to keep Rhule I do hope the administration also has contingency plans already in the works, evaluating who would be a potential good hire and fit. If we do need to be looking for a new coach in the near term future the university needs to be prepared so we don’t end up with another Dazzler

      • I said this after Golden and I said it after Daz and I will say it again after Rhule …. we’ve had three “talent-procurers” and the next person should be someone who can coach the talent. It took to year No. 3 for Rhule to learn how to coach the talent but, Thank God, he’s done so thanks to ditching the five wides for a run-oriented attack. Hopefully, Matt will stay and I think he will. However, if he leaves, need a great gameday coach, a Hardin-type, to continue that momentum. Great gameday coaching begets winning and winning begets recruiting. It’s all a cycle.

      • “I can’t tell what the future will bring” is what we call leverage. He is using it to see what Temple will do regarding tearing up his contract and giving him a new one. Smart play on his and his agents part.

  6. Tough loss, but I say that with a smirk because going in I really didn’t think Temple would keep it that close. We lost by 4 and kept it toe to toe forcing punts and turnovers against a top 10 ranked team. Vegas odds meant nothing and didn’t cover.

    We proved our defense is for real and that PJ can make very smart choices. Would he like some balls back? Yeah. So would ND’s QB. I’m proud of the way the kids played. They eliminated a lot of the sloppy plays from prior weeks and showed improvement.

    The lingering question of what might have been had they held onto the lead will last for a bit, but it’s time to start looking to the AAC championship (and beating Memphis along the way). Ending the season as a ranked team is huge, and certainly writes a new chapter in the book.

    • Exactly, ending the season ranked, with an AAC championship, and with a quality bowl win are all still achievable goals. Those things can help build Temple to a new level. The constant awareness of the ranking ticker is huge for program visibility.

  7. My answer to why Temple’s D-backs didn’t cover better on ND’s winning TD pass, 2 things: Looked like Temple’s guys were tired. Everything from not collapsing the pocket on NDs QB to looking flatfooted trying to chase down NDs guys right at the end and 2) I think they may have choked a bit after they went ahead and realized they had a real chance to win, making them to tighten up and helping to cause the same 1/2 step slower thing. Butterflies can happen in that situation, not just in the beginning of the game, and I think it maybe was a factor. But the big thing now is to feel pretty good about it, put it behind them and focus on the next game – SMU could be a “trap” game if they can’t do that. But they need to realize they have a chance to have a great season even if this means no chance at that final 4. As you said Mike, the “committee” probably would leave them out anyway and, y’know?, who realistically would ever expect Temple to get it all in one season anyway? This could be a dream season. I won’t expect the same next year with many top players leaving. So make this a season to remember, don’t let it slip away. Go Owls.

  8. Rhule has talked about the process since day one. Saturday nights game was a manifestation of the process maturing. Yes we came up short but the development of the team and the coach’s has been unreal. I didn’t see any decisions made by the coach’s that I questioned. The team was tough, they had a good game plan and were two to three plays away from a win against a really good Notre Dame squad.

    • Pretty much agree with you, I think Saturday highlighted what probably needs to be a recruiting focus going forward and that is getting more team speed.

      • team speed is one of the priorities, and improving the offense is the other must.., everyone talks about how great the defense is for good reason.., imagine if the offense was just as good, or even just a top 40 offense in terms of production? wow…,

  9. I don’t think he wants the extra money to hire a new RB coach. 🙂 If you are going to talk about 100 mil for a new stadium (and that’s a joke of an estimate to be discussed another day), throwing in an extra 5 mil to keep a coach is mere peanuts (and that’s more important than a stadium).

    • I agree kj more team speed. I felt Anderson with a step and half lead should have scored on that pass play.

    • Rhule is neither stubborn or stupid.., Temple will have a new RB coach and OC next year.., and the recruiting focus on the skill positions and DBs will be on speed and height respectively

      • Satterfield isn’t going anywhere but hopefully u will!

      • Yea, let’s get a new running backs coach that will make us a playoff team. You really are clueless or a troll! I’d like to hear why you think we need a new running backs coach…….You do know that Thomas is a running back and is having a great season! If anything, I think this team needs to get more physical on the offensive line if they want to run the ball effectively between the tackles. This is an area where the offense has not done well. Too many negative yards on first down which puts the QB and the team at a real disadvantage converting.

  10. yep, Golden said the same thing about Mark D’Onofrio…, now they are both on the couch on Saturdays…,, I’ll stay on the high ground

    • and what does Golden/D’Onofrio have to do with 2015 Temple?

    • Please tell me why the running backs coach should be fired? You my friend have a serious thinking disorder.

      • Who is the RB coach anyway? I thought Satterfield was handling that. Also, how much coaching does an RB need compared to some of the other skill positions? Not saying any player can’t benefit from good coaching but RB seems to be one position where natural ability can take over during a game.

  11. I think our RBs are fine, therefore I don’t think we need a new running backs’ coach. I am much more concerned with having 6 or 7 of those 100 recruits who attended Saturday night’s game flip from Michigan and Rutgers to Temple. Do not know why Anthony Russo hasn’t already done this. He’s got a clear shot to compete with 1 other guy to be Temple quarterback in 2017 and Rutgers is a complete joke.

  12. what accounts for the disparity in performance? the defense is playing lights out and is ranked in the top 10 in many categories.., the offense is ranked in the bottom half of all college football in every category.., does the defense have superior athletes? i don’t think so.., can you imagine how good this team would be if the offense matched the performance of the defense? the offense is mediocre, and based on the talent we should expect better outcomes. Maybe it’s all part of the process, lay the foundation with a great defense, and then build the offense?

    • Most teams outside the top ten have some weaknesses. Temple has a superior defense and a little better than average offense with a great running back who has the capacity to hit a home run. The Temples philosophy is play conservative, don’t beat yourself with mistakes and play great defense on the other side of the ball. It worked successfully in all 8 games. The d had a shot to keep it going Saturday and just fell short. I’d like to think a superior team like ND has the capacity to make plays, they did. There is no glaring weaknesses on Temple. Stop trying to find fault. Temple lost a hard fought game to a good opponent, sometimes you have to give the other team credit.

  13. We are # 22 in first playoff poll. Who’d thunk it!

    • Rhule mentioned the “hands to the face” call on 3d and 1 late in the fourth quarter. He was not a happy camper. Nobody makes that call in that situation. Hard to beat the No. 9 team in the country when they are making calls like that. We’ll have the full video up on Thursday. Proud of Matt Rhule, the team and the great Temple fans. jt is right; got to give credit to the other team … 5-star guys making 5-star plays. Love our team and the way it has been built. Defense, special teams, running game, play action. That’s the Temple football I’ve been screaming for the last 2 years.

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