People of a certain age remember the Rice A Roni jingle “the San Francisco treat” but few people ever remember a player from San Francisco making an impact as a football player at Temple.
Re’Mahn Davis is that one and only player.
The Frisco native had 90 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns in a 56-12 win over Bucknell in the opener and may just be the running back who allows Isaiah Wright to concentrate on his wide receiver and special teams duties.
We shall see.
To me, there were a lot of impressive first-timers out there getting extensive action for the Owls but none more than a color (Jadan Blue), a jump shot pronounced MY JAY and a treat from San Francisco named Davis.
What we do know is that he was the most talked-about freshman by his older teammates since Bernard Pierce lugged the pigskin before the 2009 season. Pierce had a pretty good year then, rushing for 1,361 yards and 16 touchdowns. Still, Davis had the better opener this time because Pierce’s debut against Villanova was six carries for 44 yards.
Going into the season, Temple coach Rod Carey pretty much indicated that Davis and veteran senior Jager Gardner were on the same level. Since Gardner scored a pair of touchdowns as well, that equality was borne out during the game.
There is still time for one to separate himself from the other and, in order to beat Maryland, one will have to.
Gardner was always seen as someone with enormous potential–he still holds the longest run from scrimmage (94 yards) in the Temple football history playbook–but has been never above pedestrian backing up guys like Jahad Thomas and Ryquell Armstead.
Maybe he will do that this year but the time clock for college running backs is usually this: If a true freshman and a senior are even, playing time usually goes to the younger player. Davis rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 78 yards and an additional score.
It’s been that way in the history of college football.
Gardner can change all that with a couple of long runs for touchdowns against Maryland but he is running out of time.
The fallback plan has always been Wright, who spent a full week in summer camp at the running back position. The hope is that plan will not have to be dusted off and used, but the reality is that Wright is a game-breaking talent and the Owls are plenty deep with game-breaking talent at wide receiver. Blue, who caught a pass from Frank Nutile against Villanova last year, had his first significant action since catching a pair of touchdown passes in the 2017 Cherry and White game with 10 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. He missed that fall season with an injury but could play a major role this season.
On defense, the guy who really impressed has a name perfectly suited for basketball, not football. Ifeany Maijeh (last name pronounced my jay) won the starting defensive tackle position against Karamo Dioubate and finished with five tackles, two for a loss and a sack. Dioubate–rated the No. 5 defensive end recruit in the nation coming out of high school–also had a sack.
Still, the same school of thought applies to the Maijeh/Dioubate competition as it does the Davis/Gardner one. If it’s close, the tie goes to the younger runner.
So the next couple of games are most crucial for the older guys who have to do something in the games to separate themselves.
That kind of competition can only help the team as a whole.
Saturday: Bye Weeks Clues