I had relatively high hopes for Temple Football this season. 8-4? 9-3? I thought we’d see a significant step forward in year two of the Geoff Collins era.
They’ve actually gone in the opposite direction, starting out 0-2 with home losses to Villanova and Buffalo.
Now they head to Maryland to play an unbeaten Terrapins team that knocked off Texas and clobbered Bowling Green on the road. Some of us identified this week three game as a chance for Temple to maybe steal a road win against a power five team dealing with an offseason scandal, but that doesn’t look likely. It looks like the Owls are going to be 0-3 out of the gates.
The offensive shortcomings are disappointing. Temple couldn’t run the ball against Villanova. Frank Nutile threw a pair of interceptions while being outplayed by Zach Bednarcyzk, the FCS quarterback on the other sideline. And the 19-17 scoreline is flattering, made possible by a blocked field goal that was returned 74 yards for a touchdown.
Here’s your story right here:
It was a lot of the same against Buffalo in week two.
Nutile was a bit better, throwing for three touchdowns but also tossing a pair of interceptions and losing a fumble. Ryquell Armstead topped 100 yards on the ground on the strength of a 50 yard run. Kicker Aaron Boumerhi missed a field goal. The defense gave up 36 points at home while spending almost two-thirds of the game on the field and missed three tackles on Buffalo’s game-winning touchdown.
It was a second quarter Hail Mary touchdown toss that again made the game feel closer than it really was:
Nutile has more turnovers than touchdowns this year through the easiest two games of the Temple schedule.
But Collins is sticking with his starting quarterback for week three, telling reporters the following during his midweek availability:
“He’s getting us in the right fronts, the right protections, the right run game,” Collins said. “Just throwing the ball, we had seven drops on Saturday, so that has been a big emphasis this week. When we get the ball on time (and) in the right location, we’ve got to catch the ball.”
“We have complete faith in Frank,” Collins added. “Excited to see him keep getting better every single week.”
Of course they have complete faith. Not sure if they’re ready to hand over the keys to redshirt sophomore Anthony Russo or redshirt freshman Todd Centeio after two games, but:
Is Collins serious? Ridiculous. The kid has 6 turnovers in 2 games, can't read defenses, moves like he has cement in his cleats. Russo/Centenio looked more confident.
— Brian Dawkins (@20Chruiz) September 9, 2018
Collins said that he doesn’t want this to turn into a pity party. Of course not. He praised his team and said they’re looking to get better and blah blah blah. He spent something like nine minutes of his press conference delivering an enthusiastically positive opening statement filled with meandering coach speak.
But the reality is that this team is staring at 0-3 or maybe even 0-5 to start the year.
After Maryland, Temple comes home to play a 1-1 Tulsa team that only lost by a touchdown at Texas. After Tulsa, the Owls go on the road to play Boston College. That’s 1-4 or 0-5. Then you come home to play an ECU team that somehow lost to North Carolina A&T but knocked off UNC.
And that’s the easier part of the conference slate, Tulsa and ECU. The road trips to Navy, Houston, and UCF are in the back-half of the schedule.
If you’re looking for a silver lining here, I guess it can’t be much worse than weeks one and two. And Temple started out slow last year before ripping off a bunch of late wins to become bowl eligible and ultimately finish 7-6.
Take it away, Tyler Slanovec:
Temple Football will probably go out and beat Maryland, then magically go 6-6 but miss a bowl game because of the two miserable losses, in the most typical Temple fashion possible. @OwlScoop_com
— Tyler Slanovec (@TylerSlanovec) September 12, 2018