Throwback Thursday: Temple-Houston


When the Temple Owls land in the Wild Wild West today, they would be wise to take a page out of a long-forgotten Western called “Temple Houston” when they put the finishing touches on a game plan.


Common scores indicate this is going to be close.

The Western lasted only two years on NBC television and it was about the son of Sam Houston, a lawyer named Temple.  It was a “Who Done It” on horseback, with Temple delving into clues and solving cases without the benefit of modern tools like video and DNA.

The Owls do not need video or DNA to know how to solve this case. The bad guy is Greg Ward Jr. and they know they have to arrest his  development. They also know that they have had a tough job with similarly mobile quarterbacks in the past and, if they expect to stop Ward, they cannot do the same thing they did against Quinton Flowers of USF and DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame.

They played both of those guys like pocket quarterbacks, often rushing three. What happened more often than not was the three-man rush was not getting to either guy and they were able to make plays downfield with their arms.

Even Temple Houston, played by Jeffrey Hunter, in his day would be able to solve this problem. The Owls need to utilize a 5-2.  Rotate the speedy Haason Reddick and Nate D. Smith at left end and do the same with Sharif Finch and Praise Martin-Oguike at right end. Put two-time Pennsylvania heavyweight wrestling champion Averee Robinson at nose guard where his gap leverage skills would cause a nightmare for the Houston center and flank him with Hershey Walton and Matt Ioannidis as the tackles.


Those guys alone have the physical talent to overwhelm the Houston offensive line and disrupt things while in the backfield but, just in case, use one of the safeties as a spy in case Ward tries to escape the inevitable problems.

Temple Houston struggled in the TV ratings back in 1964 because it went opposite The Flintstones on ABC and Rawhide (Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates) on CBS. This Temple-Houston figures to have no such ratings’ problems because it is the nationally featured noon game on ABC and Philadelphia is the 4th-largest TV market. Houston is the 10th-largest TV market and there is plenty of interest in this game in the other AAC markets, all in the top 36.

While Temple has prided itself on doing what it does to get to this point, it will have to swallow some of that pride and tweak some things on defense to stop this quarterback. You don’t have to be a 19th-century sleuth to figure that out.  If you see a three-man rush, time to change the channel to something like reruns of Rawhide or The Flintstones.


17 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Temple-Houston

  1. which defense can register more sacks and tackle for losses? I think Houston wins easily if they win that battle, and I don’t think Temple can win if they don’t win that battle.., also Houston is #3 in the entire nation is turnover margin

    as such, their average starting field position is off the charts, we can’t give these guys a short field and expect to win. PJ and Jahaad must protect the football, no ints and no fumbles

  2. Early in the Navy-Houston game, Navy’s problem was that they were scoring too quickly, which put their defense back out there without sufficient rest. Houston had really long drives and the commentator noted that the teams seemed to have traded places. That was evident as the game progressed because of the size differential between Navy’s d-linemen and Houston’s O-line. After Houston stopped Navy a couple of times, the rout was on. Tu will not have a match-up problem. Moreover, Houston should have lost to Memphis and Cincy both of which imploded and cost themselves the respective games. The fact that Houston lost to UConn itself shows that they aren’t all that good. I know Ward didn’t play in the UConn game but I don’t think anyone would say that TU would have lost to UConn if Nutile played.

  3. Mike, great site. I have been following you for a few years, but have never commented, however, I love the dialog. I just saw your post on the Fox site regarding the comment from former Miami OL Seantrel Henderson, perfect come back (game, set, match…).
    My one question for you is this – why does it seem on “most” third down situations, our receivers never go past the first down marker? They always seem to be a yard or two short everytime. That kills me to see it, since it such a basic concept. Go past the first down marker and give yourself some room to come back and make the catch. I know it can’t be done each time, circumstances may be different, however, it seems like our receivers are always short, so even if they make the catch its fourth down.
    Anyhow, I really enjoy the discussions on this site. I started following temple football 4 years ago when my daughter started at Temple, she just graduate this year, and I am now hooked. Keep up the awesome work my friend! Plus I enjoy your writing on Rantsports as well.

  4. as been previously noted on this site, there is something in the Texas water.., Temple has surrendered 130 points in the last three games they have played in Texas (all in the Snow era).., Houston will ring up points and the Temple offense will have to win the game

  5. Apparently Rhule went on WIP today and said he would rather coach Temple kids than sell his soul for $4 million dollars.

    Now Temple needs to pony up $2.5 million/year and include a huge buyout in the contract. I think that is fair.

    • Pay the man. Then strongly advise him that the answer to any future job question is: “Temple showed me a lot of loyalty when nobody wanted to hire me as a head coach and I’m going to reward that by honoring my contract with Temple.” Period, end of story. No “I’m not talking about jobs” .. no “who knows what the future holds?”

    • MD, I would agree, $2.5 seems like a good number and hopefully the admin can warp this up either after Saturday or by the end of bowl season. I also agree with Mike if that does in fact play out

    • Hopefully Snow time is flexible enough to know you’ve got to rush and spy these mobile guys. Our last two mobile guys we rushed three and they had all day to pick open receivers, leading to 40 and 44 points, respectively. They are going to expect that look. Time to change it up.

      • Throw everything at Ward: different looks, formations, blitzes, and personnel. A confused, hesitant mobile QB is easier to handle.

  6. Three man rush again snatches defeat from the jaws of victory in Detroit-GB game. Three man rushes should be outlawed.

  7. And any coach who uses it should be fired.

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