Fall finally came to Philadelphia (62 degrees and breezy), as did the Houston Cougars (2-1, 0-0, AAC West) to face the Temple Owls (2-2, 0-1, Tie for 4th Place AAC East) in an inter-divisional matchup.
The 24,024 Cherry and White clad fans would see a late rally fall short, as Temple suffered their first home loss, and second AAC loss, 20-13.
Even though Temple started their first two drives at their 50 and 42, the offense was halting , following any good play with a penalty, or a poorly conceived play. Early on they still could not get a run game going. The defense was pretty much the same.
The first half was all Houston as far as the scoring goes getting the only TD on a 13 Yd run by Houston’s D’Eriq King, listed as their 3rd string QB but played as RB and WR in this game, 8 plays, 80 yds, 2:54, 4:18 left in the first Qtr.
Houston would put up two FG’s as well in the second qtr. Some of that was due to Temple’s D stiffening at the right time, but just as much from Houston’s mistakes, and some terrible refereeing with bad and unnecessary calls on both teams. The venerable Harry Mayes put it this way:
12 rushes for -8 yards, and 122 passing yds on 23 attempts in the first half, tells you all you need to know about this sad Temple offense
Houston took the opening drive way too easily, abetted by more Temple penalties and missed tackles, 9 plays 85 yds, 3:26, ending in a wide open 9 yd TD pass, to put Temple down 20-0.
Temple finally got on the board on a 35 Yd FG by Aaron Boumerhi, 8 Plays 41 yds, 2:32, 8:56 left in the 3rd pd. Even then they had gotten their running game going and inexplicably threw three incompletions deep in Cougar territory, to settle for the three points.
The Owls next drive saw the further return of the rushing attack, going 10 plays, 84 yds with only two of those being passes, for 20 and 3 yds, which got them to 4th and inches…
… where David Hood scored on a 1 yard reception from Logan Marchi the next play, culminating the 11 play, 85 Yd 4:37 wrap-around drive. 20-10 Houston.
Another Boumerhi FG this time from 25 yds out, got Temple within 7, ending a 11 play, 50 yd 4:21 drive with 8:47 left in regulation. Marchi was lucky, as he forced a few passes, having one interception negated by a Cougars holding penalty, and another dropped.
Temple held once again but had to go 92 yds with 5:15 left to tie the game, but they only got as far as the Houston 42, when an incomplete pass on 4th and 10 well short of the sticks and over Ryquell Armstead‘s head. One last shot with 0:30 left and two timeouts failed as well, making the final score Houston 20 – Temple 13.
Logan Marchi was ineffective at best in this game, going 20/41 for 182 yards, with three interceptions, and one TD. He easily could have had at least two to three more ints. Marchi often forced the ball to well covered receivers, and seemed to be looking at the same guys over and over only connecting with four different players. Isaiah Wright was the leading receiver with 5 catches for 53 yards. Wright was also used well in the “WildOwl” in short yardage situations, and some end arounds.
On the positive side though somewhere late in the 3rd pd, they seemed to find the rushing attack, if only to get away from it at strange times. Considering they were at -8 yards the first half, the eventual total of 142 yards on 27 attempts was not bad. Armstead was the leading rusher with 63 yards on 14 carries. They also mixed in Hood eight times for 53 yds.
Despite the final deficit of only seven points, and seemingly finding their running game late, the Owls still have a long way to go to be even an average football team at this point. There is no consistency on offense, and the defense is still too undisciplined, giving up too many big plays, and dumb penalties after big stops. The jury is leaning towards conviction, but still out on whether Head Coach Geoff Collins and OC Dave Patenaude are in over their heads on offense, and the defense is far from the “Mayhem” promised to us.
Temple Next Ups:
The Owls go back on the road to Greensville, NC to face the ECU Pirates (1-4,1-1,) on 10/7/17 12:00 Noon on ESPNU. This is an important game for Temple if they want to continue their bowl game string. These are the kind of teams that they have to beat to have any kind of succesful season.