On a night devoted to honoring the greatest Temple football coach in history, Wayne Hardin, the real find was the acorn the blind squirrel found.
The blind squirrel in this case was offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude and the acorn he found was quarterback Frank Nutile, who completed 22 of 30 passes for four touchdowns in a 34-26 win.
After Nutile (pronounced NEW TILE), performed admirably in a loss at Army, Patenaude wasn’t ready to anoint Nutile as a starter even though just about every Temple fan felt Frank was a huge improvement over the guy, Logan Marchi, who started the first seven games.
Now, no matter what Patenaude says in the coach’s conference room, there’s no way head coach Geoff Collins is going back to Marchi now. Patenaude’s past history with Marchi–he recruited him for Coastal Carolina when Marchi was at St. Paul’s (Conn.) High–might have clouded his thinking and cost Temple at least a couple of wins given Nutile’s performances.
At the very least, a Nutile who would have started the Notre Dame game might have developed the kind of confidence needed to beat UConn and Army later on in the season.
Hindsight is 20/20, but the Owls are already behind the eight ball now having to win two of their final three games against league opponents. Patenaude still does some crazy things, like leaving the best fullback in the country on the sidelines when the Owls could have used him to jump-start the running game with 24-6 and 34-13 leads, but this was his best game as OC and that’s not saying much.
It did not have to be this hard and the acorn they were looking for all season did not have to be found in the ninth game but, better late than never.
Sunday: Fizzy’s Corner
Tuesday: Be All You Can Be
Thursday: Cincy Throwback
Friday: Cincinnati Preview
Saturday: Game Analysis