Is It Saturday Yet?


We’re from Philadelphia and we fight, or something like that.

While we do not know which team will win on Saturday, fans of both Houston and Temple have confidence in their favorite players and rightly so.

Is it Saturday yet?

A lot of things make the Saturday matchup even more compelling than it being the first-ever G5 title game that results in a NY6 Bowl reward, but it starts with the unstoppable force (Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr.) meeting the immovable object (Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich).  In games like this, it’s often the unknown guy who makes a big play or becomes the big player. File that thought away in the memory bank.

Right now, the known is Ward and Matakevich.


Official watch party at Piazza. Crowd will probably not be this large. Hopefully, the sound will be up.

Matakevich was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and, in a 27-3 win over Connecticut to clinch the AAC East title, he widened the gap between his top competition for both the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Award.

After the final game of the regular season for all of the schools, Matakevich is the clear leader from all of the available empirical evidence. One of his top competitors, Penn State end Carl Nassib, has missed the last two games with an injury.  Matakevich is up for the Bednark with Nassib and Shaq Lawson, while he is up for the Nagurski with both of those guys and two others. This is the complete list with updated stats:


Clemson DE Shaq Lawson: The 6-foot-3, 275-pound junior has 48 tackles in 12 games, 19.5 for losses with 8.5 sacks and no fumble recoveries and no interceptions. He is the best player on one of the best defenses in the nation, but doesn’t produce in the all-important turnover area.

Carl Nassib, Penn State (DE):  The walk-on from Malvern Prep in the suburbs of Philadelphia has had a superb season for the Nittany Lions. In 10 games, Nassib has 46 tackles, 19.5 for losses, including 15.5 sacks. He also has one interception and returned it for 10 yards and forced six fumbles. He played only the first three snaps on Saturday against Michigan before being removed with an undisclosed injury.

Reggie Ragland, Alabama (LB):  In 12 games, the 6-2, 252-pound Ragland has 90 tackles, 6.5 for losses with 2.5 sacks, no interceptions and two forced fumbles. He almost has no impact, though, on the opponent’s passing game as he has no interceptions this season.

Jeremy Cash, Duke (SS):  The 6-2, 210-pound is projected as a strong safety on the next level, but has played both strong and free safety for the Blue Devils. This year, in 12 games, he has 100 tackles, 18 for losses with 2.5 sacks. After recording two interceptions a year ago, he has none this season.

Tyler Matakevich, Temple (LB):  No one seems to be nearly as qualified for the Nagurski hardware as does the 6-1, 232-pound Matakevich, who is only the sixth player in FBS history to record fourth-straight 100-tackle seasons. He is also the only player in college football this season to lead his team in tackles in every game. He has 118 tackles, 14.5 for losses, 4.5 sacks and five interceptions.


11 thoughts on “Is It Saturday Yet?

  1. Game is the defense’s to win or lose. The defense has been horrendous on the road and has to show it can play as well as it does at home. By the way, just heard that ECU fired its coach. Is that good or bad for the Owls?

    • Given that ECUs starting QB will be coming back from injury, can’t see either Kemp or the running QB (forgot his name) holding onto the job. Have to think a new coach and perhaps starting line up turnover has to be good for the Owls. Think the division could be a 4 team dog fight next season. USF a given, if UConn’s offense improves they will be tougher and Cinci as usual should be in the mix.

  2. who are the voters for these awards?……, not sure if there is a defensive player in the country who has done more, or means more to his team than Matakevich, he is kind of a throwback player.., the kid has never missed a practice in four years.., the best tackler on the field from both sides in every game this year

    just landed in Houston…., going to ask about our lack of recruiting success at the booster event tonight.., we need top notch seed corn..,

    and John, respectively disagree.., the Houston offense will score on the Temple D in Texas (we don’t play well on the road, and play even worse in Texas).., our offense will have to score early and often in order for us to win

    • KJ, when u say lack of recruiting success, please explain?

      • believe this recruiting class is ranked somewhere around 78th nationally, and in the bottom half of the AAC…, is having a Top 50 recruiting class unrealistic? how does Temple compare with Houston, USF, Cincy, SMU..? if we can be a Top 25 team with better seasons than Pitt, PSU, and Rutgers then we should be able to out-recruit those schools

      • I think Houston’s offensive line could be an indication of that. We have Ruff, highly ranked, McCale and Robinson not one getting substantial playing time this year. When this is questioned you get oh it takes a couple of years to develop, boys against men, etc. Yet Houston has 3 freshmen starting on their o-line and they are manhandling us

      • The Public League is quite possibly the worst high school league in the country. Ruff”s 4* might be misleading because the guys he was blocking in high school were so bad. In the state title game, he did not distinguish himself in a 42-0 loss to South Fayette. Rather get a 4* from a great league (Philly Catholic) than a 4* from a bad one (Philly Public).

  3. tied for 92d by I understand rating services aren’t the be-all and end-all and I understand the story of Mo Wilkerson and Tyler Matakevich. But all of our players can’t be Mo and Tyler. You’ve got to at least have some that were wanted by other paid professional coaching staffs at the FBS level. Even the most objective observers will say we’re pretty thin in that regard. Now we have 9 schollies left and we could sign all 4*s and away we go. So let’s wait for that. 🙂

    • Tavon Young 2 star recruit – NFL prospect
      Tyler Matakevich 2 star recruit – NFL prospect
      Jahad Thomas 2 star recruit
      PJ Walker 2 star recruit
      Dion Dawkins 2 star recruit -NFL prospect
      Kyle Friend 2 star recruit – NFL prospect
      Robbie Anderson 2 star recruit – NFL prospect
      Sharif Finch 2 star recruit
      Matt Ioannidis 2 star recruit – NFL prospect
      Praise Martin 2 star recruit – NFL prospect
      Nate D. Smith 2 star recruit – NFL prospect

      So much for recruiting class rankings. at the end of the day they can’t ranked a players heart or how they will develop. as I stated many times b4, Temple will never get the 5 stars. Coach Rhule formula is get the 2/3 stars kids sprinkled with a few 4 stars and develop them into ballers. the Daily News had a story the other day about Coach Rhule watching Tyler in high school and just having a “gut” feeling about him. Coach Rhule came in with a reputation as a great recruiter and has lived up to that. Kareem Ali, Kip Patton, Ventell Bryant, Delvon Randall, and the young RB’s. nobody has out recruited us in the AAC no matter what some recruiting service says.

      This class will turnout fine.

      • Those guys are great. Love those guys BUT you are not always going to hit on those type of players, NOR are you always going to hit on 4*s. However, Notre Dame beat us with a 4* making a throw to a 5* on a great play that 4* and 5* guys make routinely. If we had a free safety who was a 4* with the instincts to jump for that pass and knock it down, instead of a 2*, we’d be hosting the title game today.In a 25-man class, going to get a lot of 2-3*s, and it would be nice to get a few 4* thrown in there. Burton committed the day after Penn State. We host 100 big-time guys at ND and so far none have committed. I anxiously look forward to what “Matt” is able to do with the final 9 schollies.

  4. Temple might be the “Billy Beane Moneyball” of college sports. In pro baseball, scouts relied on “gut” feelings prior to Bill James and Sabermetrics. In a 162 game season, stats tell much of story (except playoffs). In football, scouts look at stats and metrics too much and don’t use the “gut” check so much. Every college game has a playoff feel. Football involves guts and heart to a higher degree, which is harder to measure with a calculator, tape, or stopwatch.

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