Greatness Straight Ahead


Well, all that talk about a 6-6 season for Temple lasted, oh, about two weeks.

For the past six months, we’ve been writing that this team was better than last year’s team and there was a lot of pushback that we were expecting too much.

Now, after a 46-30 win over a South Florida team that was the consensus favorite to win the AAC East title, all of the goals we had outlined for this team since the Cherry and White game are not only in sight but likely.

This was the step forward year, next year was the step back year. (When we say step back, we mean double digit wins to eight, not double digit wins to six.)

All the Owls have to do to step forward is to win the remaining four games on the schedule that are far inferior to South Florida. Do that, and the Owls take a nine-win season into the title game and that title game could be in Philadelphia, not Houston. Philadelphia as the title site makes 10 wins possible, and a bowl win makes 11 wins possible.

Anytime you go from 10 wins to 11 wins the program is going forward.

There is work to be done, but the heavy lifting was completed last night when fullback Nick Sharga showed why we were pleading for a fullback for the first two years of the fullback-less Matt Rhule regime. Now the fullback should be a staple of Temple football going forward. Just look at these blocks from Sharga.



After the game, Ryquell Armstead, the chief beneficiary of those blocks, said he saw USF defenders step away from the contact when they saw Sharga come after them in the second half. They wanted no parts of Sharga. It sure looked like that on the TV replay. With a torn ACL that prevents him from playing defense, Sharga is finding people to block.

Temple football is good defense, establishing the run, control the clock and a lot of that is based on the play of the fullback and Sharga was the Unsung  Hero on Friday night. Combined with the “sung” heroes, who were too many to mention, this season is coming together just at the right time.

How far the Owls take this is really up to them and no one else and, if they don’t quit, greatness is well within reach.


30 thoughts on “Greatness Straight Ahead

  1. Snow’s adjustments after the 1st quarter were impressive. Great effort all around last night. Flowers made more of the throws we were daring him to make, but he only had a couple of chunk plays. Color me impressed by the whole squad.

    • Watched the entire game live and then went home and turned on the TV and the replay just started. Mack Brown was a terrible coach at Texas but he is a GREAT announcer. Pointed out the nuances only a hardcore Temple fan should have known, like Reddick being an occasional spy on Flowers. I LOVE that Phil Snow did that. I wonder where he got that idea? 🙂

  2. I like the playcalling at the end of the first half. Getting those 3 points was huge going into the half. Those 4 plays at the end of the UCF game might be the turning point of this season. TU played with a TON of confidence last night. They made a lot of mental mistakes early, but overcame them.

    And don’t undervalue the freshman kicker. He looks great. This team could win out. I dont think there is anybody in AAC West that Temple cant beat. Have to get the championship game in Philly, though.

  3. Great win I was impressed with the good young talent at skill positions. The Owls looked fast. Solid recruiting paying off. I can’t wait to hear the insightful comments from KJ.

    • As Sal Paolantonio would say, I agree. Nobody’s happier at being wrong than KJ, though. At least I hope so.

      • I saw KJ before the game last night. He was hoping he was going to be wrong and that Owls would be victorious.

      • Great to hear, Phil. Thanks for sharing. If we had more fans like KJ, the stadium would have been built already.

      • Actually KJ was almost right, in an earlier post he said USF smelled blood in the water, they did but unfortunately it was thier blood after we punched them in the mouth.

    • apologize for the suspense…, comments are always based on high expectations.., please stop by the alumni tent next Saturday to discuss how we can work together to help fund the on-campus stadium

      the big difference between then and now is the OL.., they are jelling which has allowed Walker patience in the pocket and the run game to emerge.., the Temple O has taken control of the line of scrimmage over the last three games.., Dawkins had the best game of the season and maybe the best game of his career last night.., Sharga was the night-train

      now we have an identity.., throw the ball down the field, run the wildcat and jet sweep to force the defense to defend sideline to sideline, and run Armstead hard with zone read blocking between and off tackle…, and not necessarily in that order.., good things happen with zero turnovers

      • Marc Narducci found the real deal why Nick was NOT playing defense. They were keeping the partially torn ACL a secret until only recently. They would have played him the same way (approximately 15 plays defense, 20 plays offense) they did last year if he was fully healthy. He’s going to have to play defense next season, so time to get Rob Ritrovato up to speed in blocking.

      • I think South Florida turned out to be a finesse team and we pounded them into submission that by the end of the game their d quit. Kj the lesson we all need to learn is to not get too high when we win and not get too low when we lose. I think we have found an identity with this team and Matt Rhule continues to upgrade the talent, specifically speed at the skill positions. Next up Cincinnati and Rhule must guard against over confidence and a let down.

  4. Great game! Great win! Section 120 was on its feet!

  5. The kicker is the real deal. I was on the field for the first half and was amazed how well he strikes the ball. When his foot hits the ball the sound is that of a small explosion. The team played very well in the second half and met every challenge USF put in front of it. Got to give the coaches credit as well. The schemes employed stopped a highly explosive team and the offense just destroyed SFU’s will by simply being Temple Tuff. I would not want to play this team now.

    • Thanks for the seat upgrade. I should have waited to go in with you. I showed the Eagles’ employee the pass and he escorted me to the first row. Sat next to Joe Rettig’s kid, who played at Brown. Great kid. Met Hali Oughton (the AAC video girl) and told her she does a great job. She seemed shocked a random Temple fan would know her, but flattered nonetheless.

      • As far as the kicker, you tell him to get off the field and not get involved in the tackling like Austin Jones did. We’re flat out of kickers after him. Temple TUFF only goes so far.

  6. That was one of the most memorable wins I can recall for the owls. I’d seen what Flowers can do to defenses, and he certainly flashed some of those skills last night.

    A few observations on the game:

    1 – Temple beat USF with a solid game plan, adjustments and execution. USF actually played a pretty good game and in my opinion did not beat themselves.

    2 – PJW played up to his potential last night. He managed the game very well, found the open receivers and stayed within himself by avoiding attempted heroics. If he continues to play at this level I feel good about our chances for a conference championship.

    3 – Hats off to the coaches for devising a gameplan and making the necessary adjustments to slow down a legitimately high-octane opponent.

    4 – I was impressed with the play of our underclassmen, especially in the skill positions. This will be very important next year in the post-PJW era.

    5 – It seems like we’re solid in our kicking game, although coverage still concerns me greatly.

    6 – stop taking stupid penalties!

    Overall, great win!

    • great post, dayowl. saw the interview with Matt at halftime on the replay (props to ESPN for even showing interviews on the replays since they cut ahead a lot) and Matt said something to the effect that if we cut down on penalties we’d be a great team. No doubt we would have beat Penn State if we had just 60 yards in penalties, not 120. No doubt in my mind.

  7. Watching North Texas schooling Army. Why? Because NT’s defense is penetrating on every play and is protecting the A gaps. If TU plays Navy, they better have figured out the triple option and run an offense that doesn’t waste time/

    • I’ve changed my lens on the Army game and decided to view it as practice for Navy. If we’re fortunate enough to get to the AAC championship game and beat Navy it will make the Army loss more palatable. If we were to lose to Navy it would be a real WTF moment.

      • Yea it was a brain fart game. The coaches and players were overconfident and the players did not know what to do when they got smacked in the face. Would feel better about it if Army had not been the only victories for two teams. Was hoping they went 8-4.

  8. Loved Mack Brown’s comment about TU motion penalties Suggested the look overs to the bench in the middle of the snap count may be working against them.

  9. Great to see a lot of comments here and following one of the TU game articles appearing in (over 80 comments). And on the way home from the game listened to 97.5 FM and the guy actually took calls regarding the TU game. Some buzz is starting again in this city. (But one JO had to bang the drum about empty seats in the article.). Army loss deflated the enthusiasm there might have been during this season. Such a would of/could have season its been meaning 6 or 7 wins at this point. And I’m convinced there would have been another 8,000 to 10,000 people there last night with such a record. This program can’t afford upset losses. No more arrogant game preparations or attitudes whether its the coaches or the players. I’m watching SMU smoke Houston and that should demonstrate that point. There’s 4 more “loseable” games ahead if this staff and players doesn’t match Friday night’s effort. But what a great game, great atmosphere there was Friday.

    • Temple has to approach every game like they were playing USF. I’ve never understood the term “letdown” in a 12-game regular season. You work your ass off 353 days a year just to show your talents on 12 days/nights. Baseball, with a 162-game regular season, yes; NBA with 82 games, yes; NHL with 78 games, yes but college football? No. Four games left to leave it all on the field.

  10. Just watched two supposed bad teams-PSU and SMU-beat supposedly unbeatable opponents. TU played PSU better than OSU did and would have beaten them but for the stupid penalties. TU killed SMU. If the TU team had only recognized sooner that it was a good team and that it takes 100% all the time, they’d likely only have one loss at most and be in the Top Twenty. In any event they better recognize the opportunity they have to play again for a championship. Next week-end TU’s nemesis Gunner Kiel will be flinging the ball all over the field. He beat em with timely throws two years ago and last year almost brought them back from a multi-point deficit. TU had better put the rush on because he’s prone to forcing the ball when pressured and is one hit away from being sidelined. TU controls its own destiny and although premature, I’d have a grad assistant start breaking down Navy offense tapes now because, as a weak Air Force team showed, Navy is beatable. AF has lost three straight, the last one today to Hawaii at home.

    • i’m sure we’ll discuss more about Navy if and when the time comes.., same questions as the Army game, who has the better athletes, game schemes, or game day coaches? the team that answers ‘yes’ to two or more will win.

      not having a bye until after the UConn game hurts, no pun intended.., think we have done a great job with rotating, to include playing more freshmen.., and Jahaad is healthy

      Cincy and UConn games will be hard from a team fatigue standpoint.., I watched Auburn smoke Arkansas.., Auburn coming off a bye week played fast, Arkansas not having a bye week before that game played with tired legs..,

      #23 is the hardest hitting Temple safety since Jaiquawn Jarrett :)!

  11. If Barkley played behind Sharga he’d have 300 yards a game. Talk about running the wrong offense for a back.

  12. Sharga, Reddick, Armstead, and the Thunder Sticks were the keys to the game.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s