From Zero to 94 in One Play

Err, make that 2015

Err, make that 2015

Maybe the worst thing that might have happened for Temple in the short term last night against SMU was scoring on the second play of scrimmage because, maybe, the Owls thought this was going to be too easy.

It might also turn out to be the best thing in the, err, long run—the longest in Temple history by a guy who might be the single most talented back in the program. Jager Gardner went from zero to 94 yards in just one play. He had zero yards for the season before that play and finished with 116 yards on just six carries.

At that point, I thought Jagermeister might have remained in the game in order to establish a rhythm, but it became apparent that head coach Matt Rhule had a plan to rotate the running backs. It’s nice to know, though, if something happens, the Owls at at least three—maybe four—deep at an important position.



Love to see the Owls
in a 5-2 with
two-time Pennsylvania
heavyweight wrestling
champion Averee Robinson
lined up over the center
as the nose guard
and having tackles
Matt Ioannidis and
Hershey Walton flanking
him with Sharif Finch
and Praise Martin-Oguike
at the ends.

Somehow, though, I think Gardner is going to be The Guy after Jahad Thomas finishes as The Guy and he showed flashes of that ability on that play. Even though Gardner has appeared in other games, it was for a carry here and there and never enough to establish a rhythm. Maybe next week will be that week in order to give Thomas’ injury more of a rest before Memphis.

As far as the rest of the game, the Owls are going to have to tighten up on defense. Special teams, as well as they’ve played all season, deserve a mulligan for that free kick return. Great job by Tyler Mayes on the fake punt.

After watching the film, the problem on defense appears to be that the Owls had chances to knock down long passes and simply did not even attempt to do it—they allowed that play to Will Fuller to repeat itself. Also, too many three-man rushes. Love to see the Owls in a 5-2 with two-time Pennsylvania heavyweight wrestling champion Averee Robinson lined up over the center as the nose guard and having tackles Matt Ioannidis and Hershey Walton flanking him with Sharif Finch and Praise Martin-Oguike at the ends (Nate D. Smith is hurt). To me, that personnel grouping is best suited to both stop the run and cause havoc in any passing game without blitzing. We’ve seen the 5-2 before, just not enough of it.

Other than that, any time you drop 60 and some people call it escaping with a win is a good time.

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32 thoughts on “From Zero to 94 in One Play

  1. Espn has Temple playing on Christmas Eve in the Hawaii Bowl. Not a bad landing spot if we don’t make it to a NY6 bowl. It will be the only game on, and these kids deserve a trip to Hawaii for the amazing ride they took us on this year!

  2. I really enjoy watching this year’s version of the Owls but I don’t know that they’re nature has them blowing anyone out and allowing them to rest their starters. I’m concerned next week’s game could also be a trap coming just one week in advance of the Memphis game.

    I’d really like to see a steady rotation of backs and receivers without any appreciable dropoff but I’m not sure where there yet. I’m also a bit concerned that Robbie Anderson is still dropping passes this late into the season. Go owls!

  3. I’d like to see a 5-2. Lbers Marshall and Mata can hold their own in coverage

    On passing downs, I could see a nickel D, with 5 down lineman and mata or Marshall at LB.

    • especially since all 5 guys in the 5-2 are good pass rushers and run defenders. Won’t have to play prevent defense in that alignment; the quarterback being on his ass will prevent everything.

  4. Attended the game in person and watched again on ESPN. Team looked smooth and relaxed in pregame warm-ups.

    Great turnout for Temple fans. Many people who were in town to see the Eagles and Cowboys on Sunday night attended the game, so there was a bit of a party atmosphere (although pretty tame).

    The stadium music was extremely loud and pumped directly down to the field. However, the music rarely can be heard during the telecast. So even though the stadium was not full of SMU fans (pretty empty overall), I felt SMU made it a challenging environment for a road team.

    Offense had lots of problems on 3rd and 1, especially early.

    Robbie Anderson had a few great catches and a couple of tough drops.

    Loved the call and execution on the fake punt.

    PJ looked sharp and used his legs wisely.

    I love the toughness of #4, but the hold in the endzone and missed tackle on the ensuing kickoff that was returned for a touchdown almost cost us the game. The coverage on the kick return TD was terrible altogether as well. Maybe if we ran the ball a couple of more times on the “safety” series, we could have taken some time off of the clock and given the punter more room/got the ball out of the endzone to avoid risk of a safety. The game almost got away, but the Owls prevailed with grit and toughness down the stretch. #4 will be a superstar (potential to become the next Matakevich), so it’s a good learning experience.

    Credit due to SMU offense. WR pass trick play got their offense moving and opened the game up. Also SMU has some very good offensive playmakers (QB, WRs). SMU might be where we were 2 years ago and will win more regularly once it finishes games. Must applaud SMU’s tough play and unwillingness to give up.

    Very Happy for the *road* win, especially coming off of a *tough physical game* on a *short week*. Go Owls!

  5. i think Gardner’s name is pronounced Jag-ger (rhymes with dagger). As in “moves like Jagger.” or Jager put a dagger in SMU’s hopes of getting an early lead.

    As a side note, I invented the pants-halfway-down-the-ass look while on the fanavision at a CFL game while drinking Jaegermeister and carrying two beers to my seat after losing a few pounds. It sneaks up on you.

  6. Exciting game. had me on the edge of my couch. i’m not worried about the our team. we knew they were gonna have a ND hangover and we knew that SMU can score. The defense has been holding down games all season so they allowed one where the offense hols them down. these are the games Temple would lose in the past. Gardner is gonna be a beast. so is Ventell. next week will be a better effort.

  7. Navy is killing Memphis. Would love to play Navy on 12/5. Kids will not forget how Navy embarrassed them last year. ECU would really help Owls if they hold on and win and Cincy should have won today but made what seemed like dozens of errors. Not so worried about Houston after seeing how Cincy handled them even tho they didn’t win.

    • The trick is winning out and get the championship in Philly. If that happens I think we can beat any of those teams. The team would be so amped and the Linc would be packed for a championship.

      • after seeing ND destroy Navy and Cincy screwed at Houston, I like our chances for a NY6 bowl. …got to play the way we played PSU and ND, though, and not UMass. I have a feeling that our offense is peaking right now. Hopefully, our defense is not like the fall leaves–past their peak. We shall find out on Saturday. Need a big defensive effort at USF.

      • I don’t think Temple can’t do it but I like the odds a lot better with the Championship in Philly especially in December. Neither Houston or Memphis is going to like playing a game in Philly in December (hope it isn’t Navy)

    • Agree with that. Snow has generally put together defensive schemes that handle the triple option and for this whole attitude that the Navy triple option is “unstoppable” Temple had opportunities to win that game last year. Memphis defense not in Temple’s class and the offense showed against SMU that the weapons are there to “light it up”.

      • The last time we played Navy, Snow did not have schemes to stop their triple option. Navy really scares me. We would only have a week to get ready for them. Plus, if Navy runs the table, where is the game played?

  8. Temple will be in the Top 20…, Navy should crack the Top 25 if they hang-on.., the AAC could have 4 teams in the Top 25…, that would be huge

    • Not necessarily, It is possible that Memphis drops out of the top 25. Ole Miss just lost again today so Memphis’s win might not look as great to voters. Unfortunately, many voters still think of Navy as just another service academy. Heck, even some P5 teams get screwed by voters. UNC lost by 4 to SC in the first game of the season, won the next 8 and are still not ranked.

      • maybe, but think Navy will slip in.., Navy’s only loss is to ND, just like Temple; but unlike Temple they have a win over a Top 25.., that would be a long hard fall for Memphis.., the AAC is gaining respect and will have as many as six teams bowl eligible.., this coming week could have four teams in the Top 25, and no fewer than two.., huge for recruiting and the TV eyes.., the AAC is doing a good job marketing the brand with the media

      • Yes, that is absolutely possible. I just never put anything past the voters.

  9. Notre Dame will wind up with one of the four playoff spots if they beat Stanford…..

  10. So the season now rests on a successful trip to SFU, a very hot team right now. It is imperative that the Owls win with Memphis looming. If Memphis is a loss as well, the Owls will have to hope that Cincy beats SFU. Do not want to have to rely on such a mistake prone team to make the championship game.

    • Daz and AG must be going crazy….., Daz is not a program builder, BC will let him go after next season

    • South Florida has a good d but offensively they are poor. They are the opposite of SMU. If our O led by PJ can throw it some without making mistakes we will beat USF. I worry more about wide open offenses, we match up well with smashmouth teams. The team needs to get healthy and play with a higher level of intensity. I would give Chandler more help over the top, teams are picking on him with success.

  11. USF is good. They lost to Navy because of missed field goals. One game at a time. Beat USF.

  12. They lost to Navy by 12 and only had 9 first downs the entire game.

    • True. Navy made three FG and USF missed two. It seemed that one missed FG took the wind out of the Bulls’ sails. Navy scored right after one of the missed kicks and took the lead for good. Temple has an edge in the kicking game. USF kicker is inconsistent (57%), and Jones is an 80% kicker. It will be a great game.

  13. I’d like to know if the folks that vote for the top 25 even watch the games. How could Houston jump nine spots after they played a game they should have lost. But for Cincy self-destructing. (numerous bad penalties, interceptions, and a fumble on Houston’s five) Houston would have lost by double digits. The whole thing is a joke.

    • I don’t know how they could move Houston over Temple. That said, if these P5 people are going to talk about an “eye test” then how about this one: Houston beats Vandy one week, 34-0, then Florida beats Vandy, 9-7, the next one. Florida has losses; Houston doesn’t and Florida is ranked No. 11 and Houston 16. If you are going to have an eye test, it should work both ways.

    • Houston is undefeated and has won 9 in a row. I like they moved up, shows lots of respect for AAC which has 4 teams in top twenty five. Temple struggled against a really bad SMU team and went down to 21. The voters are respecting the conference and Temple.

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