The design of this play, from keeping the back in the backfield to occupy the linemen, and putting Isaiah Wright in motion, to the execution, was perfection.
The Temple sports motto has been for the past five years: Greatness Doesn’t Quit.
No bigger test for the merging of motto and reality on Saturday (3:30, ESPN2) at Dallas against host SMU at Gerald Ford Stadium.
Win, and greatness is at hand and the path to a possible AAC championship is open.
Lose, and just another mediocre-to-good season is probably the best we can hope for.
Greatness sounds a lot better.
Look, winning in college football is a hard thing there are plenty of teams trying to do what Temple is trying to do. This is where the team that preaches the greatness motto must put it into practice.
Hopefully, the Temple TUFF motto kicks into gear at SMU. The last time Temple went to SMU, it won in a shootout as P.J. Walker had a great game. The trip before that the Owls had a 28-7 lead and coughed that up before losing.
There are a couple of big differences between then and now, though.
One, SMU is a much better team now than it was on those other two occasions. Two, so is Temple. The teams are very even. Temple beat Georgia Tech by 22 and Georgia Tech beat USF by five. SMU beat USF by 27. Not much else to go by so that’s an indication that the team with the fewest turnovers will win.
The pass/catch combination of Shane Buechele and James Proche will be the toughest the Owls have faced so far but, to me, the best pass defense is putting the quarterback on his backside and that’s the challenge that guys like Ifeanyi Maijeh (pronounced MY JAY), Dan Archibong, Dana Levine, Karamo Dioubate and Zack Mesday are going to have to embrace. Put Buechele on his backside and make him uncomfortable enough and covering Proche and stopping the run becomes that much easier.
For my money, the Temple team that comes to Dallas is far superior to the Tulsa team that came to Dallas two weeks ago and took the Mustangs to double-overtime. That’s on paper, though.
On the field, the Owls will have to prove it.
Greatness might not quit, but you have to want it a lot more than the other guy to achieve it. Talking about it and doing it are two different things and the talk stops at 3:30.
It’s right at hand this week and within reach. Let’s hope the Owls grab it, hold on and take it back to Philadelphia.
Predictions: We definitely weren’t great last week but not bad, just mediocre. 3-3 against the spread and straight-up (lost on Maryland, Virginia and Hawaii but won on Ball State, Cincinnati and Indiana). For the season, 24-10 straight up; 20-14 ATS. Going for greatness this week (spreads at time of publication, home teams in CAPS): Tonight, taking SYRACUSE getting 3 at home against Pitt. Haven’t been sold on Pitt since the 17-14 win over Delaware. Saturday: Duke getting the 3 at VIRGINIA; Wake Forest laying the 2 at FLORIDA STATE; East Carolina getting 33 at UCF; BYU getting 6.5 against visiting Boise State; Louisiana Tech laying 1.5 at SOUTHERN MISS and Minnesota laying the 29.5 at RUTGERS.
BUYOUT BOWL: Georgia Tech getting 18 at MIAMI, noon Saturday. Geoff Collins doesn’t win this game but he at least does as well against Manny Diaz as Central Michigan did (a 17-12 loss). That’s where I see this game ending, something like 17-13, Miami. The Hurricanes have had trouble scoring all year so I don’t see them ever covering 18 against anyone.
Sunday: Game Analysis