Did anyone notice that 1 of the 17 guys stopping Lynch on the sneak was Freddy Booth-Lloyd? The Owls’ future is bright along the DL.
One of the nation’s top quarterbacks was on display at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday afternoon.
Paxton Lynch was also there.
If a random fan not following college football was told one of the two quarterbacks had six NFL scouts watching him, they could have only assumed one thing after three hours of play: It had to be the Temple guy, P.J. Walker.
In reality, Lynch, of Memphis, was the guy all of the NFL scouts came to see, but he was clearly outplayed by Walker, who just might have punched Temple’s ticket to a New Year’s Six game. Walker completed 14 of 26 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Lynch was 25 of 34 for 156 yards, but no touchdowns. Credit that to a spectacular performance by the defense, led by Tyler Matakevich, who, with 11 tackles, recorded his fourth-straight 100-tackle season. Lynch will probably be either the first or second QB drafted in the first round, but he was the No. 2 quarterback on the field on Saturday or, from Temple’s standpoint, that’s all that mattered.
While Lynch will be headed to the pros next year, in all probably Walker will return to Temple and that will suit the Owls just fine. They need only to beat UConn on Saturday night at home to clinch the AAC East title. While the Huskies have played better of late, Temple beat UConn last year, 36-10, and the Owls are a much better team this season.
Stylistically, Walker’s game is very reminiscent of current Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He can make all of the throws Bridgewater makes, and might be a little more elusive in the open field.
The Owls dominated a team that had been dominated only once before—in a 45-20 home loss to Navy—because Walker was better than the more hyped quarterback on this day. The Owls streamlined their offense down from the trendy multiple wide receiver formations most of the Power 5 conference teams use and the style seems to suit Walker well. They establish the run, pass off play action, and use the speedy Walker to get to the edge on read-option plays. It’s a style that helps them run the clock, keep opposing offenses off the field and their defense fresh. It suits the Temple TUFF brand.
It is a no-nonsense style of throwback offense derided by some, but if it helps the Owls hoist that AAC trophy on Dec. 5, it will be both wacky and wonderful. Just the kind of team that Harry Kalas would have loved. We all should.