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.
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.
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