Everyone will always talk about “The Call” in the 32-17 loss to Toledo, but there was also “the call” and that was a tipped interception that Tyler Matakevich appeared to control earlier in the game. You could see Tyler frantically waving his wrist for the Temple sideline to throw a challenge flag, but the challenge never came. I just watched the DVR, hit rewind three times and it showed Matakevich controlling the ball before it hit the ground.
Had those two plays gone the other way, who knows what would have happened? The Owls scored to make it 25-17, and Tyler Mayes recovered an onsides’ kick, but the Sun Belt officials blew that one and here is the visual evidence, courtesy of Coach and Player Magazine photographer Zamani Feelings, who looked like he was close enough to it to fall on the ball himself.
These two photos show Mayes on top of the ball and the ball on the ground and, at that point, the whistle should have blown and the ball should have been called dead. Who knows what would have happened after that? Sure, the Owls played like crap for most of the game but it still would have been fun if Mayes was rewarded for his great play. People say the Owls had trouble scoring, but maybe momentum would have allowed them to tie it at 25-25 in the last two minutes. People also say that since Kareem Hunt scored, he would have scored again. I don’t buy that either, because the Owls were going for the ball and not the tackle at that point.
We will never know.
What we do know is that the team will need a new slogan. Leave No Doubt was a great slogan, but it was all because the 6-6 Owls were bowl eligible a year ago and the “leave no doubt” referred to getting a bowl bid, not winning one.
Matakevich himself suggested one in an emotional post-game interview where he said he mentioned to the juniors: “Don’t Let This Happen Again.” It might be tough to fit on a Tifo.
Until someone comes up with a more concise version, I like it because we play to win championships or at least hoist bowl trophies at Temple and, because of a 3-4 finish, neither one of those things happened.
So “don’t let this happen again” will stand until a better 2016 slogan comes along.