If a Temple fan had one prayer after the Army debacle, it would have gone something like this:
“God, I know that there is nothing you can do to get a crowd like 34,000 back after that game, but, please, please, have the Owls get their act together and be the kind of team they can be by the AAC part of the schedule. Please let them beat USF at home and have them at least hold the tie-breakers over the Bulls the rest of the way. Also, please don’t let the final three teams on the schedule, UConn, Tulane and ECU, be any good. Thanks, God. Oh, God, one more thing. If SEPTA goes on strike, please let it be a couple of days after the Cincy game so that the strike can go on for nearly a month without a home game. That’s it, God. I’m done.”
Temple fans must have been living right because it looks like that fervent prayer—which admittedly asked for a lot–was answered. A significant portion of the Temple fan base takes SEPTA to the games and a strike did happen two days after the Cincy game and, unless it is an all-timer, will be over long before the ECU game. If there was ever a thing like a Lucky Strike, and we’re not talking cigarettes, this was one.
In other Lucky Strike news, the way the schedule breaks for them could not have been scripted better. God has blessed the Owls, and now it is up to them to make the most of those blessings beginning tonight (7 p.m., ESPN2) at the University of Connecticut. God can take this team to the Holy Water, but He cannot make them drink it.
They must do the rest.
If they are Temple TUFF, they should be able to close this bad boy out. Of course, the ball is not round and takes funny bounces but this first part of the Trifecta should be over fairly early. Temple holds a significant advantage in speed on both sides of the ball and that speed should make the night miserable for Huskies’ quarterback Bryant Shirreffs. The Huskies rank 109th in the nation in sacks allowed with opponents racking up 25 in nine games. Temple’s defensive ends, Haason Reddick and Praise Martin-Oguike, probably will be meeting at the quarterback a lot. They have combined for 11.5 sacks and 23 tackles for a loss. Reddick has 7.5 of those sacks and is rising near the top of the NFL draft board as he is being projected as an NFL linebacker at that level.
If UConn has a chance to succeed, it is against Temple’s formidable run game because the Huskies rank No. 26 in rushing defense. None of those games, though, came against backs like Jahad Thomas and Ryquell Armstead.
Anything can happen in a football game, but the Owls are in a mighty good spot.
Tomorrow: Game Analysis