On the first day that felt like Fall in Philadelphia, the Temple Football Owls (1-2, 0-0 AAC) welcomed the UNC Charlotte 49ers (1-2, 000 C-USA) to the Linc for the final non-conference game for both teams on Homecoming weekend. Though a double digit favorite coming in, the Owls would not take the 49ers lightly as they well remembered last year’s slip & slide 37-3 win in Charlotte, where they only led by 10-3 at the half.
This game was nowhere near as close by the end of the first half, as Temple would outscore Charlotte in the 2nd qtr alone, 28 – 0 on the way to a fairly easy 48-20 win over the 49ers.
Temple went mostly no huddle on the drive to open the game, but it stalled at the Charlotte 19 yard line, hurt by a false start on 3rd and 4, from where Austin Jones made a 36 yard FG, 12 plays, 56 Yds, 5:02 TOP. The 49ers also opened w/ a no huddle which they played the entire game, but failed to get a 1st down.
On their next possession though, Charlotte took advantage of a roughing the kicker penalty on their own 17, and some soft D, and a late hit out of bounds penalty by Temple to get to the Owls 8. A Kevin Olsen pass to Workpeh Kofa gave Charlotte a 7-3 lead w/ 0:42 left in the 1st Qtr, 16 plays, 88 yds, 6:41.
That lead was short lived as on the first play of the 2nd pd, Phillip Walker found Adonis Jennings all alone just short of the goal line to go in for the TD, 2 Plays 81 yds, 0:42.
Temple put this game pretty much out of reach scoring three times in the last seven minutes of the half. It started when Praise Martin-Oguike recovered a fumbled punt, rumbling for 20 yards, and Jahad Thomas took it the rest of the way for a 1 play 13 yd, 0:07 TD drive at the 6:53 mark. Next was a 40 yd strike to Brodrick Yancy on the 3rd play of the drive with 4:26 left in the 1st half, 3 plays, 44 yds, 1:29. Finally they had a nifty late drive, culminating in a 1 yard plunge by Ryquell Armstead with 0:40 left in the half, 6 plays, 46 yds, 2:29.
Thus the half would end 31-7 Owls.
On the fourth play of the 2nd half, Charlotte’s most dangerous player Kalif Phillips broke through the Temple line for a 66 yd jaunt to the end zone, 4 plays, 78 yds, 1:26, cutting the lead to 31-14.
This was a minor blip for Temple though as they would also score twice in the 3rd qtr, both on players getting their second rushing TDs of the game. The first was by Thomas capping off a 11 play, 74 yd, 4:48 drive w/ a 1 yd run. Armstead would match that after a 4 play, 66 yd, 2:05 drive, with still 5:14 left.
Late in the 3rd qtr Temple head coach Matt Rhule would call off the birds a bit as he inserted redshirt FR QB Logan Marchi, who would lead them on a 11 play, 71 yd, 5:22 drive that ended in a Jones 31 yd FG. with 12:52 left in regulation. This made it 48-14 Owls. He would also put Frank Nutile in midway through the 4th qtr.
Charlotte would score one TD in the 4th qtr, and were also stopped on a 4th and goal from the 9 yd line with 2:43 left as the Owls continued to give backups some reps on defense, making the final score 48-20. In response to my question about that post game Ruhle did not want to make excuses. Ruhle said “They (Charlotte) did nice plays.. and were playing hard”, “Opportunity for a lot of guys to get in the game and play.” “Even if you put the second or third group in..there’s a lot of guys you look at films and say boy this guy can play and you have a chance to see some guys.”
Final Stats: Walker ended up 15/26 268 yds, 17.87 YPC, 2 TD, long of 51. Yancy was the leading receiver with 4 catches for 70 yds, 17.5 YPC, 1 TD, long of 40. Jennings did have the one big catch (see below). Overall passing was 17/42, 198 yds. The leading rusher was Thomas with 15 attempts for 68 net yds, 4.5 YPR, 2 TDs, long of 15. The rushing total with four different guys including FR WR Isaiah Wright getting direct snaps out of the Wild Owl formation was 198 net yds net on 42 rushes, 4.71 YPR.
This and That: His 2 TD runs gave Thomas 24 moving him into 4th place Temple all time tying Anthony Anderson (’74-’77), who also played for the USFL Philadelphia Stars, while passing Bruce Francis (’05-’08). Jennings 51 yd TD catch was the longest of his career. The last time Temple scored 28 points in a qtr was on 9/20/2014 59-0 win against Delaware State. The announced attendance of 27,786 was the second biggest homecoming crowd behind last year’s 35,179 against Tulane on October 1oth. That was when Temple had won four in a row to start the season.
Next Ups: Temple (2-2, 0-0 AAC) finally start conference play here on October 1st against SMU Mustangs (2-2, 0-0) who were beaten soundly by the TCU Horned Frogs (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) 33-3 yesterday in Dallas, TX.