Temple football: Now playing with house money

Other than the one-handed ESPN Top 10 highlight reel catch by holdover Jadan Blue, almost every other big play in a 34-31 Temple football Homecoming win over visiting Memphis was made by a transfer portal guy.

Temple didn’t get a whole lot of them in the portal over the offseason but the ones it got made a difference on Saturday.

More than anything, it was a win for quality over quantity and for house money.

Georgia import D’Wan Mathis showed why he is Temple’s first quarterback “5 Star recruit” since Parade Magazine first-team All-American Kevin Harvey. He tied the record for single-game completions (John Waller against Buffalo shares it with him) with 35 and gave the crowd of 28,465 a glimpse of what an RPO quarterback could do with a tuck and run. Once Mathis ankle is 100 percent, Owl fans are going to see more of that. Let’s hope it’s sooner than later because nothing drives a defense crazier than a quarterback who can make a simple zone handoff read take it to the house on any given play.

Purdue transfer Amad Anderson sealed with the game by turning a short pass into a score.

UConn transfer Keyshawn Paul had a key fumble recovery caused by his relentless strip of the ballcarrier.

TU had 33x as many tweets as the next-best sports trend on Saturday afternoon.

Washington State transfer Will Rodgers III and Wake Forest transfer Manny Walker kept Memphis’ quarterback Sean Henigan’s head on a swivel.

Already, if you had the over in Vegas’ 2.5 over/under win total for the Owls, you’ve cashed in before the second league game and there maybe a few more wins to come because it’s really hard to figure this AAC race out below the Cincinnati level.

It’s all house money from this point out.

Memphis, which lost to Temple, knocked off a Mississippi State team three weeks ago that beat No. 15 Texas A&M Saturday.

UCF, which figured to be one of the two favorites, lost to a Navy team that lost to Marshall, 49-7.

UCF seems to be a lot more beatable today than it was Saturday.

So does nearly everybody else.

2018 Pa. broadcaster of the year Rob Vaughn was in the house

Really, with the exception of possibly Cincy, Temple can now win almost every game left on it schedule and it can lose almost every game left.

It’s simply a matter of this: Playmakers making plays. That’s how everyone has won in football since the game was invented four years after The Civil War ended.

Temple has had Blue and Jones make big-time plays for the last couple of years, but the more playmakers you have, the better the team’s bottom line.

Going into the season, it appeared the transfer portal guys were of quality but not of enough quantity to make a significant difference.

The bubble of that theory popped on Saturday thanks to the number of plays those few guys made.

The Owls have seven games left and, judging by the evidence left on the field Saturday, a lot more big-time plays to make both at home and on the road.

Cincy is next and nobody expects the Owls to win so they really have nothing to lose and can play without any pressure.

All the pressure will be on Cincy and, even though the game is on the road, house money is on Temple’s side.

Monday: A New Hierarchy


10 thoughts on “Temple football: Now playing with house money

  1. Mike

    Let’s not be to hasty here. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s just take a moment to enjoy a nice win for what it’s worth.

    As you yourself pointed out on Friday, this Memphis team isn’t what it has been in the past couple years and the Owls enjoyed the advantage of a pretty decent Homecoming crowd.

    I’ll give credit where it’s due, the transfer players got us this win and I’ll even begrudgingly give credit to Carey.

    Now, I know you are not making any outlandish upset predictions at Cincy, hell Temple might be 28 point dogs, but to suggest this team can play with anyone in the conference might just be a bit of a hangover.

    Did you see that East Carolina took care of what we thought was a pretty decent Tulane squad? SMU looks really tough.

    Just saying, let’s see a little more before we get too excited.

    • The key graph of the post was this: “Really, with the exception of possibly Cincy, Temple can now win almost every game left on it schedule and it can lose almost every game left.” Pretty much before this win, I leaned with losing every game. Now there’s hope. Are we out of the woods? No. But does ECU have a Power 5 signature win like Memphis does? Does Tulane? No. Certainly the Owls can lose both of those games but it’s not outrageous to now suggest they can win both.

  2. was there in the sunshine to see an exciting game and a nice crowd.
    And as the late great Buddy Ryan once pronounced, ‘Hell, I’d rather be lucky than good’. Looks like Temple has several lucky breaks in that game, as they well deserved. Those final 2:50 after Temple reached 34 points were somethin else. When I looked at that clock I said, ‘Oh Hell there’s too much time left then Temple gives the ball back to Memphis on 3 and out, with only 18 seconds time burned, Memphis has it at 2:40, Geeze.
    Exciting for sure

    • Yes, Temple seems to have a propensity of 3-and-outs when what they need is to get first downs to run the clock out at the end of games – Memphis never should have gotten those last 8 points. Against another team we might lose. But a win is a win and somewhat unexpected. As Mike said except for Cincy, the rest of the games are up for grabs. ECU looked pretty good yesterday and is no pushover. But the prospects are a bit better after yesterday – a real chance for 6 or more wins and a bowl appearance and we’re halfway there folks.

      • I think Ruley is the short-yardage back you need to close out games. Saydee and Dobbins are the type of guys you need to give you that lead. Surprised they didn’t go more to Ruley in the last couple of minutes.

  3. I can’t make those 12pm start times, so I need good game anlysis. Good comments also. Thank you.

    • Thanks. Curious as to why you can’t make the noon starts. Do you work on Saturdays? Or is the time to early to make the trip to Philly from wherever you are?

    • To be clear, I also prefer the 3:30 starts to anything else but, until we get as relevant as we were in 2016 and 17, don’t think we’re going to see one of those any time soon. That could be achieved Friday night, but I’m afraid it’s a bridge too far right now. Cincy got to where they are with four-straight top AAC recruiting classes. Fickell’s a good coach but he isn’t Lombardi.

  4. Hey, thanks for the shout out, Mike. It’s been a while since I made it to a game, and what a good game to be back for. I’ll try to catch you next time in the K lot. Didn’t get there early enough this time.

    • Me too. Regional rail trains are now 2 hours apart and I missed the 8 am train and had to get the 10 a.m. no time for tailgating … Went right into stadium and got to my seat about 5 minutes late. Same tight sked on way home.

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