South Florida running back Marlon Mack gets away from Temple defensive back Sean Chandler (3) on a 57-yard touchdown run during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
The Temple Owls (8-1, 5-0) traveled to Tampa Fl, to face American Athletic Conference East opponent USF Bulls (5-4, 3-2), w/ visions of an AAC East Title, and a spot in the inaugural Championship Game, and a possibility of hosting the game on 12/5/15, dancing in their heads. As I noted in my Preview, Temple Senior linebacker TylerMatakevich said this week. “You really can’t start thinking about that stuff. “You just have to do what you’ve been doing since the beginning — get back to our process and that’s what coaches have been saying.” Maybe they were or maybe they weren’t but the beating they took this night makes one wonder.
It was a game of big plays for both teams leading to most of the scoring
Temple went to the trickeration bag early w/ a direct snap to LB Jarred Alwan on 4th and 1 to keep their 1st drive alive, and then after a big sack by USF, the owls went for it again, this time w/ 7 to go – a 10 yd pass from P. J. Walker to John Christopher did the trick there. The drive stalled though at the Bulls 22 where Austin Jones missed the 39 yd FG. The next Owls drive which started @ the 8, was not to be stopped. Walker mixed it up to 3 different recivers and a long run by JahadThomas for 35 yds as well as a big PI on USF, got them down to the 1 where Thomas swept it in. That 92 yds, 8 play, 3:58 drive gave Temple a 7-0 lead w/ :26 left in the 1st period.
But USF came right back on a 68 yd TD pass from Quinton Flowers to Rodney Adams on the 1st play to tie it up, which is how the 1st period ended 7-7.
On the 1st play of the ensuing possession Walker was picked off by Deatrick Nichols who returned it for 18 yds to the Temp 5, and a Flowers 5 yd run put USF into the lead for the 1st time which they never would relinquish.
Temple’s next drive started at the SFla 40 courtesy of a FR Jager Gardner return for 54 yds. They could only get a 33 Yd FG out of Jones so they still trailed 14-10 w/ 1:46 left in the half.
Yet once again USF came back w/ a big play, this time it was Marion Mack w/ a 52 yd burst to the end zone for a 21-10 lead at the 9:16 mark of the 2nd qtr. Rinse and repeat after a 3 and out by the Owls, as a Flowers run for 41 yds, and a 20 yd TD pass by Flowers on a roll out, to Mack, widened the lead to 28-10 w/ still over 6 minutes left in the half.
Temple’s offense went cold and USF managed a 48 yd FG by Emilio Nadelman to fatten their lead to 31-10 and the 1st half ended mercifully for Temple w/ that same score.
Temple started the 2nd half, scoring on their 1st 2 possessions after a fumble recovery by Praise Martin-Oguike on the 1st play from scrimmage. 5 plays later Walker found Ventell Bryant in the end zone, followed by a Jones 35 yd FG on their next drive to close the gap to 31-20 w/ 8:30 left in the 3rd. It would be the closest they would get. Nadelman’s 24 yd FG got the 3 right back @ 3:17 in the 3rd period. The 3rd came to an end w/ Temple once again outscoring the other team, but it was still a 2 score game @ 34-20.
In the 4th Temple left their 6th point off the board on Jone’s 2nd missed FG, while the Bulls’ Nadelman stayed perfect adding another 3 w/ 9:10 left to stretch it to a miracle needing 3 score game. One of those scores came on Jones 3rd FG of the night from 35 yds out. But that was all the scoring Temple could muster.
It seems that other teams have figured out Temple’s defensive scheme as they gave up big play after big play, and 44 points, on the heels of last week when SMU put up 40 points, but the offense just could not keep up in this one. Owl fans can only hope that this game gets the team to put the focus back on what they can control and bounce back w/ a win against Memphis next week
Jahad Thomas became the the 10th Temple player ever to break the 1,000 yd mark, and the 13th time this was done since 1894. He also kept his rushing TD in every game streak alive in the 1st qtr.
The Bryant TD catch helped Walker tie the team record (49)and also was his 12th completion of the game to tie him for second all-time.
W/ the loss Temple still can win the division, but even @ home for the last two games, they do not get any easier w/ Memphis (8-1,4-1) on 11/21 @ Noon, and then UConn (5-5, 3-3) to end the regular season on 11/28 TBD. USF, now one game behind the Owls, has Cincinnati (5-4,2-3) @ home on 11/20 and then travel to UCF (0-10,0-6) on Thanksgiving night. There will be little room for error now.