Under the Friday night lights, real football was back at The Linc as the Temple Owls hosted the Army West Point Black Knights to start the 2016 College Football season. As I mentioned in my preview, this could be a real test of what Temple had on its team this season. Army did indeed give Temple all they could handle, and more, in all aspects of the game, as they ran all over the Owls on offense, and stifled them on defense, winning going away, 28-13.
Temple took the opening drive down to the Army 28, on a nice mix of run and pass, but then a ball maybe thrown a bit too hard by Owls SR. QB Phillip Walker, defected off of Brodrick Yancy, right into the hands of Army’s Marcus Hyatt who returned 26 yards to the Army 42. It turned out to be a harbinger of this night as Army marched down the field, even though they would eventually miss the FG.
Temple then took it right back to Army on a long drive featuring a nice pass to, and run by Colin Thompson for 32 yards to the Army 18. A nine yd rush by Ryquell Armstead (starting instead of Jahad Thomas who had a dislocated thumb) took Temple to the Army 9 as the 1st qtr. ended.
On the of the second play of the 2nd qtr, Armstead ran it 6 Yds, to make it 7-0 Temple with 14:32 left, 8 plays, 80 yds, 3:31. On the ensuing drive though Army mostly ran right through the Temple D with a variety of options, ending with a Bradshaw scamper for 10 yds, 12 plays, 75 yds, 5:32.
Army changed QB’s their next drive, for some reason, which did not fool the Owls at all. They then blocked the punt – Temple lead the Nation last year in that category with five – and took over at the Army 23. Temple had to settle though, for a 41 yd FG by the reliable Austin Jones (23 last season) to give Temple a three point lead at the 2:51 mark of the first half. This would be the last lead they would have in this game as the half came to an end
Army got their running game back on track – abetted by a PI call on the only pass of the drive, and amazingly their last pass of the game – taking the opening drive of the second half 77 yds, 14 plays, 6:42, to put Army on top 14-10 with 8:18 to play in the 3rd qtr. Temple stormed right back, but once again had to settle for a FG, this one from 27 yds out, to cut the lead to one point with 1.29 left in the third period. Army started driving once again and was just inside Temple territory as the 3rd Qtr came to and end.
The Black Knights continued that drive, again without a passing attempt, chewing up 5:22 of the 4th qtr, ending with another TD to increase their lead to 21-13 w/ 9:38 left in regulation. Temple had a few more chances to send the game to overtime, but they were not able to get anything going, and Army added their last score, to put this one out of reach 28-13 with 2:28 left.
End Notes: Temple gave up an astounding 329 yds rushing, 4.8 per attempt as eight different players carried the ball, out of the 344 total by Army, while themselves only gaining 83, 4.6, running only 54 plays vs Army’s 72. Walker did throw for 168 yds, 12/26, but also had 3 ints. In the 3rd quarter Walker passed 7,497 career passing yds, a Temple record. Armstead was Temple’s leading rusher with 77 yds on 16 attempts. None on these #s is going to get it done when they get into the meat of the schedule with Penn State and then the all important conference play.
Next Ups: Head Coach Matt Rhule and the rest of the staff will have a lot of work to do this week to get this team up for their next game against Stony Brook next Saturday afternoon at The Linc 1:00 PM.