Losing at UCF’s Game

At track meets, one of the most entertaining events is the “thrower’s relay” where a group of discus, javelin and shot put throwers show off their running skills on the track.

There are reasons those guys throw the discus, javelin and shot put. They are just as integral to the team’s success as the guys on the track, but that “unofficial” race is always good for laughs because those guys aren’t meant to be there.

Throwers don’t compete against runners and vice versa.

Unless you are counting Temple’s 52-40 loss at UCF.

The game was a winnable one if the Temple of 2015 and 2016 was on the field, forcing the UCF guys to play Temple’s game–run the ball with an elite tailback behind a fullback and chew up each quarter with eight-minute-type scoring drives against the 91st-ranked rushing defense in the nation and limit UCF possessions to a bare minimum.

Instead, Temple’s “throwers” tried to beat UCF’s track guys at their own game and no team in America can get in a track meet with them. Temple, rather than run the clock down to single digits before snapping on each play, snapped the ball in the high 20s almost every down.


White helmets made the record 12-12 after UCF

On a night when UCF’s longest scoring drive was 2 minutes, 55 seconds, that’s not a sound game plan.

Temple’s only chance was to use lead blockers for running backs Ryquell Armstead and Jager Gardner and chew up the clock and keep the ball out of the hands of UCF Heisman Trophy candidate Milton McKenzie.

The 2018 Owls, while setting a school record for total yards, pretty much failed to utilize the one game plan that could have won them the game. The 2016 Owls would probably would have won this game with Armstead following Nick Sharga through the hole and the punishing body blows would have had a cumulative effect later in the game.

There were no body blows because Temple fell into the trap of playing UCF’s game, which is to run a track meet. This time, Armstead got 149 yards on 27 carries while hobbled in an empty backfield, and you’ve got to wonder what he would have done if he had a caravan of blockers (H-backs, fullbacks and tight ends) in addition to offensive linemen. My strong hunch is that this Temple team would have fared much better on the scoreboard playing the 2016 version of Temple TUFF offensive football. That version chewed up clock with running plays, kept the sticks moving with play-action, and helped the defense stay fresh.

This version gave the ball to UCF and way too many snaps to Milton and did not help the Owl defense at all. It was a dark night for the tuckered Darkside Defense.

Statistics pretty much favored Temple except in the area of penalties where the Owls racked up 15 penalties for 149 yards, some undeserved, but most deserved. Matt Rhule would have gone ballistic if the 2016 Ventell Bryant spun the ball after catching it, but Geoff Collins had a few words with Ventell after he drew a 15-yard penalty for it. Ventell did the same thing after catching a touchdown pass in the end zone, but the same refs who saw fit to penalize him the first time overlooked it the second (probably because he did not do it in front of a UCF player).

Don’t know what Temple was thinking when it drew up a game plan to get in a track meet with track athletes but, last night, statistics were for losers. I would trade all of those school records for a reversal of the scoreboard in a heartbeat.

It was a valiant effort against a great team with a lot of nice stats but the only stat that matters is 52-40.

It is the only one that ever does.

Sunday: Fizzy’s Corner

Monday: The Bright Side




34 thoughts on “Losing at UCF’s Game

  1. yep, bingo, right on Mike…, so this is how it should have gone: the HC walks in the room on Sunday and says, “this is how we will beat UCF..etc.,, OC devise a game plan to maximize time of possession, limit turnovers, and score TDs in the red zone., DC devise a plan to maximize turnovers and limit the big plays”.

    This is how it probably went, “so OC what are we going to do when we get the ball?, DC, how are we going to shut them down and who are your above the line players?”

    The winning formula is top down, not bottoms up! The maturation of CC continues…, he is the star of the newest Netflix movie, “In search of TUFB”

    Now the team is fudged by key injuries.., we can’t beat Houston in Houston with our best players..,

    play as many underclassmen as you can in Houston because they might not play a better team than this Houston team during their 4 years at Temple.., get them really good game experience..,

    rest #7 and play #13 as an RB (the position he should play next year),

    and bet the house on winning at home against USF

  2. I agree with this article. You couls Tell Florida’s warmer weather was catching up to our defense by halfway through the third quarter. It was fun to see the potential that exists within Temples offense but all we were doing was giving The other team more chances to score

    That unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Armstead was the most undeserved penalty of the night in my book. Not sure what the refs saw. Even live you could see the lineman get up, think about it for a second and then put all of his weight down on Armstead after the play was already blown dead.

    Was quite surprised to see UFC fans booing temple players who were clearly suffering from severe leg cramp issues.

  3. Good teams have a way of making other teams look like bad teams. Temple didn’t look like a bad team rather a team that simply lost to a more talented team, which was the case.

    Anthony Russo showed all the potential that’s been touted since his stellar high school and Rock Armstead ran like a man possessed. The wide outs held up their end of the bargain but in the end we came up short due to penalties (many of them blatantly bad calls), injuries, the inability to slow down UCF’s prolific offense and the fact we were playing a (slightly) better team.

    The Owls have come a long way since our opening losses and have a strong nucleus for the future. There’s no shame in this loss but I sure would have preferred a win. Go Owls!

  4. 1. when the commentators are keeping a sidebar conversation the whole night about how bad the officiating it you can bet your bottom dollar we weren’t getting a fair shake. The AAC needs their CFP contender

    2. Not that I disagree with your hold the ball and keep it out of milton’s hands. But it was pretty obvious that if we held the ball for 8 minute drives we would be shooting ourselves in the foot bc they would just respond in 50 seconds. They still get the points, we just have less time to run our style of offense.

  5. While I do think you make valid points about trying to ply UCFs game and get into a track meet with them I still feel we were in a position to win this game. For me, the problems were an offense that did mount several long, 8,9, 10 play drives, giving the defense a rest and keeping UCFs offense off the field but came away with no points on at least 2 or more occasions. Better performance in the red zone by Temple’s offense and this game may have had a different ending. Also, defense never seemed to have a response to UCF counter run game, either too many missed tackles or linebackers that were off the line too deep or getting sealed off. While I don’t know if I want to go a far as KJ suggests for the Houston game, I do think you rest Armstead an some of the other banged up players. Focus needs to be on taking those last 2 games and finishing at least 7-5

  6. The takeaway from the game is that our feckless dumb a** coaches let the kids down again. From not challenging an out of bounds receiver to making no adjustments at half time and for all of the reasons outlined by Mike, it was another d minus performance by Collins and his staff. Scoring six points in the second half itself shows that Patenfraud just assumed that what worked in the first half would work in the second. The second half was the time to switch to the offense used at Maryland. Just like a boxer who shifts from righty to lefty, it would have befuddled USF, whose defense is atrocious. UCF knew to use its tight end as a pulling blocker and it worked almost every time. Our coaches did not do it once. In the end though, prior to the game, many on this site said that it would take a perfect game to win. Many of the penalties were well earned. I honestly don’t know whether thy would have won playing a better game or had they been coached better because UCF is that much All season long they have been able to win regardless of the circumstances.

    I’m afraid that the Owls will get beat up next week because Houston is faster than UCF and their QB is as good as Milton. The only game they lost was against Texas Tech, another game that was a track meet. Also, the Owls were beat up and even with two extra days to heal, it may not be enough to get healthy. Don’t be surprised if the Owls get blown out.

    Milton has another year left so there may be no chance to win next season either.

  7. 1st half was great. 2nd half was a WTF : ‘ Why Try the Familiar’ again, How about change tactics.

    • Exactly. At 24-14, you dust off that Maryland game plan and use the H-backs as blockers for Armstead, throw in the occasional play-action pass, milk more clock. Certainly if not then change up at halftime with a 34-28 lead and don’t allow UCF to make adjustments based on what you did in the first half. We scored 34 in the first half and six in the second. What does that tell you about each coaching staff?

  8. So we all ask, what’s worse, more annoying , more painful ?
    Is pain the lousy Temple Teams of yester-year where we won on shitluck or played a team ranked 120 ? Or is pain from watching a nice team where with promise where evidence is pilling up that big mistakes are made continuously ?

  9. I hope that Coach Collins learns something about taking care of important players. Earlier in the season, putting Armstead on defense, putting him back in a game that was completely under control after he dinged his ankle, these things have to take a toll on a player and we now see the results. Armstead may have been injured anyway, but why increase the chances of losing him, or losing him for a longer time?

    • No reason at all to put Armstead on defense. Speaking of defense, no need now to call this The Darkside Defense. No defense deserves a nickname when it gives up 45 and 52 points in two separate games. Did the Purple People Eaters or the Doomsday Defense or the Monsters of the Midway ever give up 52 points?

  10. Temple had a 16 minute TOP advantage and rushed 226/46 for a 4.9 ypc average. No, allowing UCF to run for 320 yards, mostly between the tackles, is why they lost. That, and the uneven playing field the officials provided… Bad officiating will even itself out in the end. This was something else…

    • Bob, they could have a had an even larger time advantage had Collins ordered Russo not to snap the ball with more than five seconds on the play clock. That not only would have shortened the game it would have given an obviously tired team time to recover and gain their wind. Collins, is a second level head coach at the top level. it’s a travesty.

  11. Halftime adjustments, UCF 24—TEMPLE 6. Did we do anything at halftime, or did we just think it’s working we are winning!!!!

    • we’ve been bad at halftime all year. no coincidence. Other coaches are seeing what we do and adjusting and we’re not countering that adjustment. The shame of this season is that our kids are not getting the quality of coaching that the kids on the other team’s are. If Collins leaves, Al Golden can slide right in and we would take a step forward, not backward. Al wasn’t the greatest game day coach but he looked like Vince Lombardi next to this guy and his OC.

      • I can’t say I agree with the statement that AG is a better option as a game day coach. Collins is still in his second year as a HC and has already shown signs of improvement (albeit not at the rate we’d like to see). AG hit his ceiling which was below the required level for a top-tier D1 program.

        In both cases the HC carried coordinators who weren’t up to the task (without mentioning names). Collins needs to realize he has a wealth of athletes and talent AG never enjoyed and deploy the right schemes. Matt Rhule got to this realization after a couple of seasons and Collins needs to get there soon.

    • Really every coach on his team stinks
      You score 40 points and get beat by 12 just like the basketball coach they should all be fired and get the hell out of there

  12. Temple’s hurry-up defense must improve quickly. Owls were gassed in the second half and it was not the weather. Houston will be a good test to see if the coaches and players learn how to wreak mayhem on the fly or at least improving coverage.

    Armstead re-injured his ankle. UCF fans were nice, the campus is a country club, but there were too knuckleheads taunting Rock and Ventell who were on the table.

    • Good point here, Dave. UCF was snapping the ball with 32 and 33 seconds left on the 40-second clock – that’s a really quick turnaround.

      I liked the fact that Temple showed that they could do some of that hurry-up offense as when they wanted to. But I agree with the John B’s comment that we should have slowed it down at times to give our defense a rest. I think the best strategy going forward is for us to have the ability to do both; mixing up the tempo to catch the other team off guard at times.

  13. Fair analysis, Mike and commenters. Rest Rock. Hope for the best with the Houston sprinters. I just want to take a sec here to applaud the heroics and heart of Rock Armstead, Anthony Russo, Ventell Bryant, and many who fought so valiantly. Great effort. This is a talented, powerful team. How to explain Game 1 — that will forever be a mystery to me. Anyway — coaching decisions notwithstanding — this was a spirited effort by a high-caliber team. Go Owls.

  14. The point is win by being who you are, don’t lose by trying to be what you never will be…,

    TUFB has a brand, CC must sit down and give thought. We tried to out-UCF UCF, it may have looked pretty for a while but it was all fools gold. We should have made UCF play TUFB…, there was no reason to snap the ball before 5 seconds in the first half – period.

    We have the Jimmys and the Joes to execute the brand. The coaching staff is not all in on the brand.

    Remember, the brand was established before they got here. and, when this bunch leaves someone with wisdom will re-establish it.

    • Not a Daz fan by any means.., but he took the TUFB brand to BC and re-invented that team to Top 25 status.

      He will still be a victim of his own doing but Temple clearly taught him something.

  15. Thanks, Mike, for continuing to share your thoughtful insights and for creating a space where we can have some excellent discussion.

    I attended the game and must say that, although I was disappointed in the end result, I was extremely proud of our players and coaches for their efforts. While we may have lost this battle, we continue to win the respect of our opponents, their fans and the college football world.

    I had a chance to talk to several players and coaches after the game. Each and every one of them said that they were appreciative of our support. All of them – to a T – embraced the Greatness Doesn’t Quit attitude.

    I told Coach Foley how proud I was of our players and how well they represented the university this night. I will never forget his response – beyond what we see on the field, there are so many more good things that happen off the field and behind the scenes.

    Both Sam Franklin and Ventel Bryant were generous with taking some extended time to speak with me and other fans. These two guys, along with several other teammates, made quite an impression on me. They were both thoughtful and respectful and clearly are the kind of men who bring a lot more to this team than just athletic talent.

    I waited for Coach Patenaude to greet his family and had a few minutes to chat with him. Here is a link to that interview: http://tiny.cc/pgi001
    (I apologize for the poor audio/video quality.) I appreciated the time he gave me, but I was a little less than satisfied with his non-answer to my last question. But, hey, at least I got a plug in for Temple Football Forever!

    Overall, this was a great effort on the part of our team – players and coaches. It was a breakout game for our offense – showing what they are capable of. We need to figure out a way for our defense to make stops in a game like this and we need to come up with better halftime adjustments than the opponent.

  16. One more thing . . .

    Can we all work on trying to be a little more respectful? I think that there is a way to continue the healthy dialog without the personal criticisms and name-calling that has crept into the comments over time.

    While I have no problem with us questioning strategies, decisions and execution, I think that we sometimes end up being too negative and forgetting to celebrate all of the good things that these men (players and coaches) are doing to elevate the Temple football program to where it is today.

    Remember, we all want the same thing. If we can follow the example of our team in the way we write by lifting our dialogue to a higher level, we will more effectively represent our university to those who are reading.

    Go Owls!

    • How cool is that? It took a freaking fan to ask about using the fullback and the tight ends to block for the tailbacks when not a single reporter brought it up. Good job by you, Bob. Bad answer by Patenaude when he said about the total number of yards. Most important thing was offense crapped the bed when they needed points in the second half. Thirty-four points in the first half followed by only six in the second meant they were badly outcoached in the second half—UCF defensive coaches vs. Temple offensive coaches.

      • *not a single reporter brought it up ALL YEAR … not just after that game. Patenaude seems like a nice guy, though. You know what Leo Durocher said about nice guys.

      • Looking at today’s AAC games with our next 2 opponents you can’t tell me Temple doesn’t have the talent to beat Houston and USF. Our huge weakness in each game will be a couple of mediocre, at best, coordinators who just don’t seem to have what it takes at this level

  17. Good article about TU in Philly Magazine. As I suspected about the stadium, the author points out that the university went about getting approval the wrong way, Instead of seeking community and political support first, they simply announced that one was going to be built. You would think that someone there would have said that such an approach in Philly is doomed to fail. They first should have gone to the heads of the trades unions and got their support, then to the community, and then to the politicians after gaining the support of the unions and the community. That way, the hands of the politicians would have been tied. What a bunch of rubes. No wonder the place has the reputation it has despite its many positive attributes. By the way, love seeing Bobby Petrino and Louisville getting killed. Will never forget when Petrino called a time out with about a minute left in the first half up 35-0 so he could go for another score. Someone on TU’s defense got mad and almost broke the qb’s leg.

  18. Coffee talk: Hurry-Up Defense? Is mayhem the answer? Would a plethora defensive looks, shifts, and blitzes…? Can Dr. Mayhem implement a scheme to manage the hurry-up offense? Who has hd success?

    • Don’t think the tone is all that disrespectful here compared to the two major message board sites. Don’t see any criticism of the kids here, just the coaches. They are big boys and can take it.

      • Well said apollo their big boys they can take it the coaches that’s another story it was a rough game to watch 670 total yards by temple they score 40 points to a team that was allowing 18 points a game 149 yards in penalties that should not happen this time of the season and no sacks

  19. Usf was losing to Tulane 34-3 before I tuned out. Temple better have the talent to beat usf.

    • Mike, with Tulane pounding USF and the way SMU looked against Houston I believe Remple has the talent to replicate the same results against both of those team, coupled wiith how absolutely dreadful UCONN looked against Tulsa, the talent is there to win the next 3. The big question isn’t the talent on the field but the “talent” wearing the headsets on the sidelines and up in the booth. Just don’t feel warm and fuzzy that these coordinators can come up with game plans and in game adjustments to get the job done. Both are in over their heads at this level. Part of me hopes the rumor that Shawn Pastor posted over on Owlsdaily is true in that Collins is expressing interest in the Maryland job through back channels. I don’t believe he is here for the long haul anyway and what I’ve seen so far in his 2 seasons here is a middle of the road HC, so-so recruiter and mediocre at best coordinators.

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