Game Day: 5 Things to Watch

Tyler Matakevich and company are going to have to buckle the chin straps tight tonight.

Tyler Matakevich and company are going to have to buckle the chin straps tight tonight.

When Temple travels to Raymond James Stadium for a game against South Florida, there is nothing on the line other than an AAC East title for the Owls and a chance for USF to stay in the AAC East race. Other than that, tonight’s 7 p.m. game (CBS Sports Network) is just your run-of-the-mill regular season game. Will the moment be too big for the Owls? Fortunately, they’ve had moments (Penn State, Cincinnati, Notre Dame) just as big and that kind of experience could serve them well tonight. Here are five keys to watch.

Brendan McGowan probably won't be carrying the ball tonight, but he will be carrying a heavy burden in replacing Kyle Friend.

Brendan McGowan probably won’t be carrying the ball tonight, but he will be carrying a heavy burden in replacing Kyle Friend.

  1. OL Cohesiveness

Center Kyle Friend figures to be out for what head coach Matt Rhule called a “long, long time.” Since there’s less than a month to a possible AAC championship game, got to figure Friend is out until then if not the bowl game. Brendan McGowan subbed and had a terrific block on the Jager Gardner 94-yard touchdown run. He needs to sustain that kind of play for four quarters.

  1. Jahad’s Health

Last week, Jahad Thomas did not look fully recovered from the pulled stomach muscle he suffered against Notre Dame. Sources inside the E-O say he is fully recovered and the Owls need him to return to the kind of form he had against both Penn State and Cincinnati. If not, establishing Jager Gardner on consecutive series probably would help him establish a rhythm better than alternating him with Ryquell Armstead on every other series.

Robby Anderson.

Robby Anderson.

  1. Big Game for Robby Anderson

All year long we’ve been waiting for the Plantation (Fla.) native to return to the kind of form he had in 2013. A number of factors stunted those expectations, the first of which was the emergence of offensive weapons all over the field. Still, Anderson had a cosmic connection with P.J. Walker in 2013 and it would help the Owls’ cause if  he had the kind of three-touchdown game he had in the final game of the 2013 season at Memphis.

  1. Pass Rush on Quinton Flowers

The Owls have have the kind of tacklers who swarm to the ball and have stopped premier running backs, so assuming they stop USF sophomore tailback Marlon Mack, they will have to redial the kind of fierce pass rush they had against Christian Hackenberg the first game of the season. If they do, Flowers has been known to put it up indiscriminately and, in Sean Chandler and Tavon Young, the Owls have a pair of ballhawking corners.

Promise keeper.

Promise keeper.

  1. Cutting Down The Nets

Whoops, wrong sport, but you get the idea. If the Owls win, it will be a milestone that will last through a very spirited rendition of T for Temple U in front of the large Temple contingent that figures to make the game and partially fulfilling a promise Matt Rhule made to Temple basketball fans here of bringing a football championship to Temple. (There are a whole lot of Philadelphians who live in the Tampa Bay area in the winter, many from Temple.) Since no AAC East Trophy will be awarded, the only reward for winning this game is a spot in the title game and that’s worth celebrating. Then it will be time to get to work to secure home-field advantage.

Once again, Temple has made no changes in its official depth chart. Move No. 68, Brendan McGowan, to first team center.

Once again, Temple has made no changes in its official depth chart. Move No. 68, Brendan McGowan, to first team center.

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61 thoughts on “Game Day: 5 Things to Watch

  1. If not, establishing Jager Gardner on consecutive series probably would help him establish a rhythm better than alternating him with Ryquell Armstead on every other series

    Mike, are you stating that Gardner works better with jahad than Armstead? or If Jahad’s still not 100%, Gardner would be betetr suited to be the primary back, with Jahad coming in little by little?

    Either way, looks like you think Garder has #1 rb potential. I’d like to see him more.

  2. hope Temple beats Memphis and Houston beats Navy…., Temple has a better chance against Houston at the Linc in December than it does against Navy. Navy is undefeated at the Linc (vs Temple and Army) and is a team built for December.., Houston at the Linc in December reminds me of the ECU game at the Linc last year.., we beat ECU last year in the parking lot, they couldn’t stand the cold, wind and rain…,

  3. Number 3 for Temple may be the slowest DB in ALL of college football.

  4. and the safety Wells needs to come off the field…, can’t believe it.., the Temple vaunted ‘D’ looks slow

  5. What happened to honoring defensive assignments? One guy has the qb and on the back. Stop trying to be heroes.

  6. Well it has been a good season. We still lack speed and 88 had some drops. We might not wven make it to the conference championship. Great season but still some work to do. I am proud of the team though.

  7. Making it worse is that Memphis is rolling.

    • the worst has happened.., Memphis and Navy roll.., Temple losses.., still a great turnaround from last year, disappointed with the second half of the season collapse.., UCONN will be playing to get bowl eligible, hopefully the Owls will be able to shake off back to back losses to USF and Memphis

  8. I hate to say it but Temple wont beat Memphis. It looks like if USF wins this game they will be representing the American East in the conference championship. Temple better get it together the rest of this game because if they lose they can kiss the championship game goodbye.

  9. Just not fast enough. The only hope is some big turnovers. Good job this season though.

  10. Too many drops. Win next week or hope Cincy can beat SFU.

  11. yep, the game against ND highlighted the lack of team speed especially on defense…, this USF team seems even quicker than ND.., our safeties are too slow

  12. Well if this game holds looks like for all that Rhule was able to accomplish that Golden didn’t while here, beating a ranked team, beating PSU, being ranked for several weeks he will still have one in in common with AG, lose that key late season game that cost a shot at the conference championship. Have to agree with kj, and Kevin about not getting to the championship game. Rooting for Navy now to win the AAC since that could open up the Military Bowl for us given the proximity. Otherwise off to a “MAC” caliber bowl playing some CUSA or Sun Belt team. Hey, 9-3 / 8-4 is still better than last year and a move forward but a chance to put together a double digit win season and a higher tier bowl doesn’t come around too often and it would be nice if we could take advantage just once.

  13. Temple made huge strides this season, heck think this team will set home field school attendence records…, we finally beat PSU and now I can die in peace which is all I ever wanted

  14. More than anything, what they lack on D is a guy to spy the QB. Every team with a mobile QB has eaten the D’s lunch. Matekevich is a step too slow to do that. In fact, they’ve neutralized him and taken advantage of his weaknesses on pass plays and counters. Hope they make the game respectable in the 2nd half. Reminds me of the Maryland game four or five years ago. Owls almost came all the way back in that one.

    • Wasn’t that the game at the Linc first year back in the BE? Let’s just hope we can keep this year’s second half let down to 4-2 rather that 2-4

    • Speed is an issue. This might be a blessing in disguise. Going to a lower level bowl might be better right now. Imagine a big bowl game against a speedy SEC or ACC team.

  15. . It was Daz’s first year 2012.

  16. Matt’s put on a lot of weight. Time to hit the treadmill. Will need the extra energy to hit the recruiting trail and find some speed and smarts on defense.

  17. What is starting to have me concerned more than tonight’s game is what is looking the the potential for a bad team trend. Really need to get things back on track or we could be looking at a team that went 1-5 last year and worst case 2-4 this year in the second half of the season. Not the way to build championship teams. I think Temple needs that one ranked, conference champion year to be in the best position for a move up when that next conference realignment comes around. Really that’s all Rutgers had that they parlayed into a B10 invite. Mine really good year and a bunch of 7 / 8 win seasons and second tier bowls

  18. ok, what is the need? more team speed, better defensive and offensive schemes, better athletes, or what? what is the reason this team over the last several years does not play as well in the second half of the season?

    • Speed for sure I think the ND game highlighted that and I think just continue to get better athletes that are 2 deep. Depth is better this year over last but still need to improve. I think the team is getting to where it’s more getting deeper talent over coaching. That being said Rhule needs to evaluate the performance of his staff as much as the players after each season and make adjustments if necessary

      • You are correct. I think we need faster DBs for sure. Two runs tonight where the speed differential was quite obvious.

  19. the Stanford loss just screwed ND, they won’t stay in the playoff final four…, Navy and Houston are the only teams from the AAC in next the Top 25.., Memphis and Temple drop out

  20. To what KJ asked about what is the need and the other folks who post here as well is what I think may be a broader question. Do you think we are building the right kind of team for this conference? In a certain respect we almost seem to be repeating the same “pattern” we did during our MAC tenure. Temple never seemed to match the template if the pass happy, high scoring top teams there. Our teams were built on defense and running. Seem to be going the same route in the American. Not saying you can’t have winning seasons and build a solid program but us it enough to make to the top of this conference? We certainly need to get more speed on defense, as good as our defense has been mobile QBs and outside speed continue to hurt us

  21. I”m incredibly angry right now. Won’t post any more than this. Our great defensive coordinator,who allowed 38 ppg a game over his last 2 years at EMU, had to only game plan to stop 2 plays against this team: 1) the straight handoff to Marlon Mack and 2) the read-option run to Quinton Flowers and he failed miserably at both. The long pass play for a TD was an outlier and I would have sold out to give that up in order to stop the other 2 plays. Meanwhile, the only DC we’ve had to post 2 shutouts in a row posted another shutout today and the only reason Matt told me he didn’t keep him was because he didn’t want to keep his son-in-law.

    • Check your facts Mike. Snow’s defense gave up 30.9 ppg his last two seasons at Eastern Michigan, NOT 38 ppg. Our ex-DC’s defense gave up 31.2 ppg his last season at TU. Yes, the ex-DC shut out those football powerhouses Buffalo and Ball State. His TU defensive also blew a 10-0 halftime lead to Rutgers and lost 35-10. And gave up 36 points to Toledo and 35 to Ohio. It also gave up 35, 47, 45 and 34 in four consecutive games. Yes, today he shut out FIU; the same FIU that lost to UMass earlier this season. And, if I’m not mistaken, our great defensive coordinator also held Notre Dame to the second lowest point total of any game this season. Yeah, he failed miserably, as did the PLAYERS! Oh, but I forgot, it’s NEVER the players who fail to make plays…

      • It’s never the kids’ fault; it’s always the paid professionals. Sorry. 38 points a game his last season. 451 points in 12 games is rounded off to 38 ppg. Not the God of defense he’s been made out to be.

      • Go back and read what you wrote: “Our great defensive coordinator,who allowed 38 ppg a game over his last 2 years at EMU…” That, dear Mike, is 30.9 ppg.

    • Mike, say what you want about the d coordinator but the interior line in the middle got manhandled. What usf did was spread us out with 4 wide receivers thus taking the safeties out of the middle of the field and ran Mack and flowers at will on read option. Lbs were terrible too. This game was lost by front seven.

  22. It’s not team speed as much as discipline on defense. if you have the dive back, then stick with him. Same goes for QB. Second, SFU may have changed their blocking schemes to take advantage of our pursuing defense. Matekevich was out of position more tonight than in any other game. Third, not his fault for the loss but the kicker missed two makeable kicks. Fourth, had Owls scored on the first drive, it would have taken some wind out of their sails. Fifth, two many drops and inaccurate passes. Sixth, losing Kip for disciplinary reasons hurt. Seventh, the Owls fade because they don’t have credible back-ups. In other words they run out of gas as the season progresses. Finally, eighth, Owls will be facing an angry and wounded Memphis team especially how they blew tonight’s game. Hope being home helps or Memphis packs it in for the season. Although their qb can run he’s not like the qbs that give the Owls fits.

  23. got to make it a 16-13 game this year and win it this time. Love the Memphis and Cincy kickers. Would take both over Sturgis of the Eagles. Cincy will beat USF. It’s up to us to beat memphis and uconn. If we can’t do both at home, we don’t deserve to be champions.

  24. Memphis kid missed a 48 yarder at end of game tonight.

    • still would take him. sturgis missed an extra point and 2 33-yard fgs,although he hit a clutch 54-yarder against the cowboys. don’t know why i’m talking about the Eagles. I like them 1/100th as much as I do the Owls. Despite Austin Jones missing 2 tonight, I love what that kid has done for the Owls this season.

  25. Defense was bad. But I cant take all of the drops. For as good as Robbie Anderson is, he has way too many drops. It is so frustrating to see him make amazing catches, then drop the easy ones. That will likely keep him off an NFL roster. (He needs to get off of the kickoff return team, too. He is lost back there.). Beat Memphis and all is well.

    • Put Jahad an Jager on the kickoff return teams. Robby is our only reliable receiver. His drops do not seem to matter as much as the drops of Jennings and Bryant. I will take Robby over any receiver we have. Too bad we are going to lose him to the NFL on an eligibility appeal. And I guarantee you Robby will make an NFL roster. If that stiff Riley Cooper can make one, Robby can, too.

      • too many drops and I agree, the lack of overall depth and team quickness causes this type of team to wear down in the second halfs of the season…,

        so much for “a great practice” last Tuesday.., practice.., not a game.., don’t talk about practice..,

        we’ll find out how good Rhule and the coordinators are the next two weeks as adversity has reared its ugly face.., and I don’t understand why this team keeps dropping punts and kick- offs…, and yes it is all about the coaches, they get hired, paid and fired, and are accountable for how the team plays on game day.

        USF has out-recruited Templle the last two years and it showed tonight..,, and we have to play these guys again next year .., we must man-up and beat Memphis to avoid the ‘same old Temple” syndrome

  26. USF has out-rrecuited Temple the last 2 years??? please explain how u came to this conclusion??

  27. Well, after the high we’ve been (albeit, I’ve been holding my breath) I think last night showed where Temple is at. The D has been allowing a lot of yards and points and USF wasn’t going to let the Owls into the game. That last TD run showed the speed differential between these 2 teams. Mack is an NFL back. But it was the line play that really was the difference. USFs line opened up huge holes all night up the middle for the speedy Mack to run thru. Other games weren’t so obvious. And Temple’s O line struggled to keep USFs guys out of the backfield – Temple didn’t do well, especially Thomas (they keyed on him) on runs. But the bottom line is Temple is who they are and it may not get better then that. Remember, we all thought a 7-8 win season might be all we could realistically expect. We’ll be going to a bowl no matter how we finish. It would be great to beat UConn and end up 9-3. That’s a great season for Temple – admit it you all. All the hype about winning the AAC championship, going to a NYs bowl, banking this season on a new stadium, etc., etc. always seemed a bit exaggerated to me.

  28. 9-3 (hopefully), bowl game, beating PSU, all those school records, top 25 ranking, national exposure, giving ND a heart attack, etc. has made this a special season for Temple. It probably won’t be this good next year with so many key players leaving, so let’s enjoy it and hope for 7 wins next year. And I agree, the recruiting seems disappointing considering this season’s success and Rhule’s recruiting record. Oh and in my first post, I didn’t mention joining a P5 conference as an exaggerated expectation. I’ve said several times here that this season isn’t over and anything can happen, meaning it could go downhill from here. Being realistic is healthy but I’m very disappointed after last night.

  29. Well, kj, I gave 2 reasons why we got whipped: 1) UCF was a much quicker, faster team and 2) they also beat us at the line on both sides of the ball. I saw a lack of extra push – I think the players are, tired both physically and emotionally and there are some injuries too. Mike’s right, they need to get the swagger back but Memphis will be a tall order no matter what. Another thing is that the second half of the season is proving to be very tough with better teams to play. As I said, Temple is only so good, their not great, let’s face it. Hopefully they can pull it together for UConn. Beat them and we go 9-3, play in the championship game, have a chance for a better bowl – a very nice season. There’s still a lot to fight for. Go Owls.

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