Weekly phone calls from Temple trying to sell season tickets is one indication that a full season will be announced soon.
Your guess is as good as mine.
The school recently announced it will have both online and in-person classes and the second part of that pretty much confirms the requirement for a football season.
So here goes some early (on-the-record) stat predictions based on a full 12-game regular season (not including a potential bowl game):
We’ll repost this after the season to see how right we were but going on record is important.
Anthony Russo is poised for an outstanding senior season. Even if he has a merely “good” one, he will break at least a couple of career passing records at Temple.
His sophomore season stats were these:
Fourteen touchdown passes, and the same number of interceptions. He had 2,563 yards in 2018; 2,861 in 2019. The record is 3,295 by P.J. Walker in that championship season (2016).
He improved those numbers by seven and three, both on the good side, in 2019 regular-season stats and, based on that math, we’re going for these predictions for 2020:
Prediction: 28 touchdowns, 8 interceptions and it’s not a reach that he will become the first Temple quarterback ever to have a 3,296-yard season so we will go for that. LSU’s Joe Burrows went from 19 touchdown passes to 60 his senior year, so it’s not out of the question that Anthony throws for 39 and ties the career record (74) of Walker, but we’re not getting that crazy. We’ll take just the same improvement he made last year for next year.
If P.J. (who started the better part of four years to Russo’s three) still holds the career touchdown record, that’s perfectly understandable. The other two records are within reach, though.
Receivers: (Jadan Blue and Branden Mack):
Blue set single-season records for Temple in both receptions (95) and yards (1,097). That was a terrific improvement from his 2018 season. He did, however, only have four touchdown receptions and those numbers are going to have to improve to get attention of NFL scouts looking for impact-makers. So we’re going to go with fewer receptions (90) and yards (1,007) but we’re going to add five more touchdown receptions:
Prediction: Blue, 90 receptions, 1,007 yards, and nine touchdown receptions.
Mack had seven touchdown catches and is taller (6-5 to 6-1) so we’re going to give him those seven and raise his number of receptions from 44 to 61 and his yards from 667 to 897.
Ray Davis had 900 rushing yards in his first season as a freshman.
Prediction: He will raise that to 1,000 yards and 20 touchdowns his second season simply because Rod Carey and staff will realize they have a big-time playmaker on their hands and won’t make the same mistake of game-planning 26 passing plays in the first 34 snaps from scrimmage (see Cincinnati game, 2019).
Sacks: Interior tackle Ifeanyi Maijeh will lead with 9.
Interceptions: Safety Amir Tyler with 5.
Tackles: Linebacker William Kwenkeu with 88.
Tackles for loss: Linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley with 11.
OK, those are guesses. Guys will have to remain healthy and, as always, someone will come from nowhere to surprise everyone. My guess is that a DE named Nickolos Madourie (who had 17.5 sacks as a JUCO in a single season) will be just one of those guys and there could be many. Graham-Mobley could lead in overall tackles and Kwenkeu–who had two sacks in a bowl game–could lead in tackles for losses.
That’s part of what makes college football great and that’s why we hope there is a concrete announcement saying we will have it soon. Save this post and clip it and hammer me if I’m wrong in December.
If I’m above 50/50, I will take it. More important is getting to those double-digit wins which will mean the profile of all the above guys will rise considerably more than anything they can put on the stat sheet.
Monday: A Potentially Special Addition