Never a Doubt

You kind of got the idea that this was a big game no later than the second Temple beat Navy a week ago. Temple was unbeaten in the AAC East. Cincy was ranked nationally and unbeaten overall.

What you weren’t all that sure of is how the Temple fans would embrace it until the morning of the game.

Lot K filled up by 8:30 and the adjacent lot (M)–which was almost totally empty for the last home game–was filled by 9:30.


This is the only prediction I made for the game, coming in the comments section on Friday (this is for the guy in the concourse afterward who said I predicted a loss).

Temple fans brought not only their bodies but the noise when it mattered the most. When Anthony Russo hit Branden Mack for the touchdown that tied the game with less than a minute left, the sound for the next 15 minutes was pretty much deafening:


All 33,026 fans–at least the 26,000 or so that were in the stadium at the time–were standing for the entire crunch time and the Temple kids fed off the noise.

Of course, that was when Temple was on defense for the final seconds of regulation and the entire overtime. Russo’s penchant for amnesia served him well, shaking off a bad play with making the plays when it counted in a 24-17 overtime win.


Cincy Enquirer had an inkling Temple fans would be loud and it was right.

It was a big win for Temple in a number of ways. This was the first time in Temple history that it was FAVORED over a ranked team, the first time it beat a ranked team (as a favorite) and the first overtime win in school history (losing at Cincy and twice at LFF).


Temple started the game with some pretty good runs by Jager Gardner but abandoned that approach probably too quickly. It would have been nice to see what Gardner could do following Rob Ritrovato through the hole, but Temple offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude has so many offensive weapons and so little knowledge on how best to use them (hint: run the ball with a fullback and use play-action passing as the staple) it’s beyond perplexing.

It’s something that needs to be fixed going forward, but head coach Geoff Collins seems to have a blind spot when it comes to Patenaude so maybe it will have to take some gentle persuasion from the powers-that-be in the offseason to convince Collins he needs a new OC. It seems to me that a system that worked in consecutive double-digit win seasons with a lot of these same players should never be tinkered with in the first place.

As it is, there is too much talent on the offensive side of the football for this to be the No.  89 offense in the nation.

Meanwhile, the kids on the field deserve most of the credit for this positive result with a big assist to the kids and adults in the stands who also brought their A games.

Monday: Fizzy’s Corner

Tuesday: 5 Bye Week Objectives

Thursday: Shallow Now



20 thoughts on “Never a Doubt

  1. Mike. All I have to say is how much better would Russo be with an actual running game and true play action? Wonder what happened to Raynor today who was highlighted in the Inquirer this week? Good thing Cinncy’s OC is as dumb as TU’s is. In their last 2 drives in regulation, they threw passes on 3rd down, which were incomplete and stopped the clock. That gave TU enough time to tie it. I know that TU had 3 time outs left but it was really bad clock management.

    • Yeah, if Glenn Thomas ever gets tired of WACO, he’d be a good choice to replace Patenaude. Blind spot indeed. I think even Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder can see Patenaude’s offensive philosophy is butt ugly. Collins thinks he’s the Angelina Jolie of offensive football. At some point, you’ve got to look at players like Russo, Nitro, Rock, Ventell, Wright, and Mack and come to the conclusion that they represent the most talented Temple offensive personnel of the last 15 years and should not be ranked No. 89 in total offense. Someone is to blame. It’s certainly not the kids.

    • Russo is a gamer. He reminds me a lot of Adam d in that regard

  2. at a booster dinner in DC several years ago Tre Johnson asked Glenn Thomas what’s your identity on offense? and, much to everyone’s amazement Thomas hesitated and then rambled on for a few minutes w/o ever answering the question.

    GT is a good QB coach, the fact he is just the co-OC at Baylor is telling..,

    Why is it so hard to find an OC for TUFB? Temple Tuff is the brand, right?

    hats off to the Temple D, those kids are bringing the heat

    • Implemented Rhule’s order: use fullback as a lead blocker for the tailback, establish the run to open up passing lanes using play action. Worked for 2 double digit win seasons at temple
      ..don’t mess with success

  3. I am still speechless after that game. Kudos to our defense. They were stellar. The “penchant for amnesia” line is perfect for Russo. Doesn’t seem as though the Cincy kicker suffers the same condition. Three missed field goals?? Unheard of! CC should be sending him a fruit basket today…..

  4. After watching the UCF-Memphis game last week and the highlights from UCF-ECU yesterday, It’s is clear that UCF is vulnerable to the run. If TU adopts the strategy they used against Maryland, TU will not only score enough points to win but also will deprive UCF of possessions through clock control. With 12 days to heal, Armstead should be close to 100%. The only question is Patenfraud who yesterday again showed what a bonehead he is with the double reverse pass play. The way Cinncy covered it, one would have thought that they called it.

  5. First crowd noise aided victory in Temple history.

  6. What goes through Patenaudes head? Is he trying to F with us? Love the win but im sick of watching this OC screw up time and time again. Go owls!

    • He’s Finnus. Daudes smart.

      • no, he is dumber than dirt.

        TUFB will never enjoy a double digit winning season running anything other than a pro-style, opportunistic, smash mouth offense.

        f’ the spread, it will never fit with the brand, Temple Tuff.

  7. If this team has the 7 or 8 wins it should have, we’d be talking about Glenn Thomas and other HC prospects as the rumors about CC being hired away by a P5 school would almost certainly begin.

  8. Coach hire formula: Coordinator from a high-level program WITH successful head coaching experience in 1AA or Div 2. You get a man who knows what is required to run a program without all the bells and whistles, coach and recruit a team without blue chippers yet has been exposed to the in’s-and-out’s of big time football (recruiting, boosters, tough schedules, media). During this person’s career path, he’s met and worked with coaches that have specific strengths they can bring to his staff and program.

    I’m thinking someone like Morehead at Miss St. Fordham job, then Penn St OC, And if this man is a little older, might be tired of moving and stay a while.

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