Lafayette: The game Temple needs

Stan Drayton went easy on his squad in the post-game but I guarantee you a lot of Temple fans were thinking this after the FIRST half on Friday night.

Anyone who has followed this space over the years knows our position on playing FCS teams.

Simply this: Power 5 teams can afford the body bag games but Group of Five teams looking to move up can’t. They must recruit to beat P5 teams, schedule them, and beat them.

It’s a hard road but it’s the only way a G5 team will ever find the P5 Promised Land.

For those staying at home, the Temple game will be on ESPN+ at 2 p.m. Saturday.

All that said, though, after last week, Lafayette might not be the game Temple wants but it most certainly is the game Temple needs right now. Nine months of optimism pretty much went out the window for much of the fan base after Duke handled the Owls, 30-0, on Friday night.

This wasn’t Bama, Georgia, Ohio State or even Vanderbilt. It was Duke, perhaps with Northwestern the worst P5 team a year ago. The Temple players and coaching staff might not be shellshocked but certainly a significant part of the fan base is.

Our picks this week, going with all underdogs to cover except UTSA, who we like to win by at least a FG at Army.

The expectations for Saturday’s game against the Leopards range from a Delaware State-type of beatdown (59-0) to roughly a 21-7 Owl survival. Those few thinking it will be a 50/50 ball should relax. There is only one player on Lafayette who COULD start for Temple but he’s a very good one in 6-3, 246-pound defensive end Malik Hamm, who is a four-time All-Patriot first-team lineman.

We will say this. Hamm needs to have about 20 sacks in this game for the Leopards to have any chance of winning. He has 23.5 for his career. He wears No. 99. He should be easy to find. Run away from him and the Owls should be good.

To be honest, maybe a few of the players have a slight case of shellshock, too, after nothing the coaching staff did against Duke worked. There was too much East/West running, too few North/South plays and no passes of any significant distance. Getting a very good blocking tight end, David Martin-Robinson, back (he’s day-to-day) should help. It might also benefit the Owls to put Adam Klein at center and use both Victor Stoffel and Isaac Moore at tackles to stabilize a shaky offensive line. This might be a game to make that experiment.

Malik Hamm would not only start at Temple, but be a pretty good player for the Owls who have to be wary of him Saturday.

Also, IF D’Wan Mathis starts (Drayton said on his radio show that competition is day-to-day), he must put points on the board. Drayton can’t keep rolling out a quarterback who consistently posts three-and-outs. It sends a bad message to the rest of the team.

Defensively, “simulated” pressure must become real pressure but that’s more for down the road and not Lafayette. The Owls figure to get numerous sacks from their regular front this Saturday.

No predictions of a score this week other than it must be time well-spent to get ready for the more significant challenges down the road.

Saturday Late Night: Game Analysis

PIcks Update: Went 3-2 against the spread. Won on UTSA barely covering the -2.5 at Army (winning, 41-38); won on App. State covering the +17 at Texas A&M (App State won outright); won on Duke covering the +9.5 at Northwestern (Duke won outright) and lost on Old Dominion at ECU and Wake at Vandy.

Last week: 3-2

YTD: 3-2

11 thoughts on “Lafayette: The game Temple needs

  1. If it’s any consolation, at least the loss to Duke wasn’t one of those 50-60 to 3/or nothing embarrassments from bygone years. But to be shut out? That was pretty embarrassing against a Duke level team. We need to do the same to Lafayette.

  2. Disappointed. That is what the Temple fan base feels. Not angry…..yet. Yes, we had reasonable positive expectations. This team is not the mess Al Golden inherited. But the poor Duke performance last week gives us reason to pause in our expectations. Did our previous Coach mess up our program’s culture? Can we reach 6 wins and reach that level of relevance in the AAC, then in Drayton year 3, national relevance? Can Temple beat up on the Vanderbilt’s, Maryland’s of P5 teams as we enjoyed a few years ago? And, yes, games versus lower level programs, do nothing to develop the Temple Football programs stature nationally. And, yes, we need a Quarterback that can execute a passing game, as well as an play calling offensive scheme to compete. This week’s game needs to set the tone for the weeks ahead. What is the dynamic of this team? Who are they? Can they rally together and “smoke” a lesser opponent? Is the Drayton rebuild greater than we expected? Today, my only sense is disappointment. It can change. But that Jim Mora video says it all. We do not need to be better, we must be better.

    • The penalty after the time-out was disappointing. Reminded me of Geoff Collins’ game against Villanova. The overall game plan, to use Mora’s words, sucked. Nine months of planning to come out with that kind of offensive approach? Incredibly disappointing.

      • Temple does not have a RB on the roster with an 100 yd game at the college level. Amazing……,

        This year will be truly challenging if we don’t have one vs Lafayette.

  3. Based on so much being wrong and bad, I would not bet much$$$ on a good tenure by this HC, seems like inexcusable- almost. The only valid hope is Duke is a great team and TU was the 1st to find out ????

  4. Remember when MR first started PJ Walker? In hindsight it was the unofficial start of the MR era. Well it didn’t take Drayton long to find his QB 🙂

    Weird, TUFB still does not have a RB on the roster with a 100 yd game on this level. Considering Drayton was one of the top RB position coaches

  5. For those of you that mocked me for saying the program should be eliminated or at least drop to 1-AA, nice crowd today . I’m not a hater but this is not going to work- I wish we could field and support an FBS program- but we can’t. Don’t patronize me with Golden and Rhule/ world is way different now. Mike, you are a good man, I’m stating reality.

    • Temple hasn’t drawn fewer than 28K to a Homecoming game in 15 years and that was last year. I expect that same 28-30K from Temple and 15K more from Rutgers and it should be a good atmosphere. The rest of the season’s atmosphere will depend upon whether the Owls can post the upset. I hope they can. I have serious doubts, though. You want reality? The REALITY is that Temple will NEVER drop football as long as the President played FOOTBALL at Stanford and the AD was the Director of … wait for it … FOOTBALL operations at Texas. The REALITY is that they didn’t just eat $6 million of Rod Carey’s salary and put $10 more million on the plate for Drayton to drop football after one or two years of the Drayton Regime. They would drop other sports before football no matter how much you want football dropped.

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