The 2017 NCAA football season got underway as the Temple Owls traveled to South Bend, IN, to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
It turned out to be a no contest as Notre Dame outplayed Temple on both sides of the ball on the way to an easier than I expected 49-16 victory.
The start of the game was all Irish as they got the ball first and scored on their second play from scrimmage after a 33 yd pass on the first. The TD was a 37 yd rush by Josh Adams. 2 plays, 70 yds 0:33 sec.
As the Owls came out for their first series the suspense was ended as Logan Marchi came out as the starting QB and he stayed in. Temple got 20 yds on their first play on a run by Ryquell Armstead. They got one more 1st down, but were stymied after that.
ND’s QB Brandon Winbush rushed 8 yards untouched, to finish off their next drive. 7 Plays, 59 yds, 2:44.
Temple finally got on the board with a 36 Yd FG by the returning Austin Jones. The drive featured the first nice completion downfield to Isaiah Wright, 25 yds to the ND 39. 9 Plays, 57 Yds, 3:27
No SDI for the Owls D as Notre Dame’s Adams got loose again on the second play of the drive for 60 Yds with only DB Sean Chandler saving a TD. The next play was a 12 yd TD pass to a well covered Nic Weishar. 3 Plays, 72 yds, 1:10, 1:13 still left in 1st Qtr. The 1st Qtr would end with Notre Dame up 21-3 over Temple.
Notre Dame would keep the pressure on as a TD pass to Equanimeous St. Brown capped off an 8 Play, 76 yds 3:40 ND drive, to make it 28-3 with still 11:09 ’til halftime.
The momentum then shifted a bit to Temple as a nifty 19 yd rush for a 1st down by Armstead mixed with some smaller runs by him and Jager Gardner, eventually led to the first Owls touchdown. The final play of the drive was a 12 yd pass from Marchi to Keith Kirkwood. 11 Plays, 75 Yds, 5:00, 28 – 10 6:09 left in 2nd Qtr.
The Owls D followed that up with a 3 and out SDI.
As the half waned another good punt by the returning Alex Starzyk pinned the Irish at their 11, 1:11 left in half. But the Temple Defense let Notre Dame march down to the 27, where ND missed a 44 Y FG, #Doink off the uprights, to end the half – Notre Dame 28 – Temple 10.
Temple at least found a way to score and pretty much stop Notre Dame after the TD early in the 2nd Qtr.
The teams traded series until an INT by Temple’s DB Mike Jones was returned for 39 yds to the ND 14 6:47 left in 3rd. On 3rd and 5 though Marchi was sacked for 10 yds, and Austin Jones missed a 36 yd FG. A HUGE missed opportunity.
On the ensuing possession, a Dexter Williams run for 40 yds to the Temple 7, put Tony Jones Jr. in position for a 7 yd TD run to extend the lead to 35-10 ND. 8 Plays, 80 Yds, 3:03, 1:22 remaining in the 3rd pd.
Temple TE Kenny Yeboah missed an easy catch in the endzone. Fortunately Brodrick Yancey caught the next one for 11 yds. 35-16 after a missed 2 Pt Conversion. 11 plays, 70 yds, 4:17. That missed two pointer meant they were still behind 19 pts, a tougher 3 scores behind with 12:05 left in regulation.
After a turnover on downs by Notre Dame with 9:36 left, Temple was moving the ball. They converted one 4th down on a penalty, but did not make the second try at their 41 with 8:11 left and that was pretty much the ballgame.
ND would add two more short garbage time tds after long runs, that had to embarrass the Temple run defense, to ice this one.
Your final blow-out score 49-16.
We have to say “nice try” to Temple Head Coach Geoff Collins for his “multiple QB” gambit the last few weeks. Marchi started and played throughout, not always effectively. Judging by the score, the Irish were not fooled one bit and most of the time seemed to know what was coming.
Temple used Aaron Boumerhi on kickoffs and Jones on FG’s, so not only did they keep both on the roster, it appears as if they will use both kickers.
Marchi wound up 19 for 35, 245 Yds, 7.0 Avg. 2 TDs. The leading receiver was Wright, 4 catches for 79 yds, 19.8 Avg, 0 TD, longest catch of 29 yds. Marchi did hit 9 different guys. The leading rusher was not surprisingly Armstead, who had 19 rushes for 67 yds, 3.5 Avg, 0 TD’s, 17 yds longest run. Overall the owls ran 37 times for 85 yds, 2.3 avg. 0 TDs and that rush by Ryquell was the longest.
While the offense was mediocre at best, the defense was downright embarrassing, giving up 606 total yds, 184 passing and an astounding 422 rushing. This is hardly the “Mayhem” Coach Collins was supposed to bring to Temple from Florida.
While I would not say that Temple was unprepared for this game, I will say they do not appear yet to have the same overall talent level as Notre Dame. It could be that this team will take a while to gel as a unit, and we may not know that even after next week’s game against an FCS opponent as noted below. Temple can take some solace as they mostly stopped ND on defense the second half, and the offense showed some running ability. Marchi does not quite seem in synch with his receivers yet, though. There will be plenty to work on in practice this week.
Temple starts a two game homestand welcoming in the FCS Villanova Wildcats (1-0,0-0 Colonial) for the Mayor’s Cup on Saturday 9/9/17 at 3:30 PM. ESPN3. I will have a preview of this matchup on Friday, and a recap to follow on Sunday as we will not be covering the game itself on Saturday.