TU-Lafayette: Warts and All

An old friend of mine who was able to get into the locker room after Temple’s 30-14 win over Lafayette on Saturday noticed something odd about the celebration.

“A little over the top, if you ask me,” he said. “I mean, I’ve seen some pro teams celebrating championships that were compatible. It was Lafayette, after all.”

I told him that’s the half-empty way of looking at it.

The half-full way is this:

First, Temple had the second-longest losing streak in the country going into the game and finally shook that monkey off its back. That had to fuel the intensity of the celebration.

Two, the team has bonded with the new coach, Stan Drayton, the way it never did with the prior coach and had to revel in Drayton’s special first win.

Three, the Lafayette piece might be over exaggerated because a year and a week ago the same Leopards’ team traveled to Colorado and played to a similarly respectable 35-14 score against Air Force. A year ago, the Falcons beat Navy (23-3), Boise State (24-17) and Louisville (31-28).

Prior to that, last September, that was a Falcon team that came into the game a 40.5-point favorite against a Lafayette team that last year was not quite as good as this year’s version.

By comparison, this year’s Temple team was an 18.5-point favorite over Lafayette early last week but that line dropped to 13.5 by game time.

Even a 10-3 Air Force team wasn’t able to blow out Lafayette and that USAF team is considerably better than this Temple team (or even this year’s Rutgers team for that matter).

That’s not to say the Owls should be excused for their numerous warts but there were enough smooth spots to be encouraged.

Temple took care of business 92 years ago against a Lafayette team that tied Penn State, beat Rutgers, and had a winning season. Not quite the same result two days ago but a win is a win.

It’s hard to beat any team, FBS or FCS, losing four fumbles and that’s a part of the game Temple needs to rectify going forward.

This was not the Wagner of last year Temple played. Wagner has now lost 22-straight games and has the longest losing streak in FCS. Lafayette is a legitimate contender for the Patriot League title with Holy Cross, a team that beat Buffalo on Saturday night. 

Who knows would have happened if the Owls had taken care of the ball better or had they remained with the run after Darvon Hubbard ripped off 50 yards on four-straight carries? For some reason, the Owls decided that throwing the ball four-straight times after that success was a good idea. 

Maybe they were on their way to a 66-7 type win like the one Rutgers had over Wagner. Maybe not.

We will never know but they held Lafayette to just 110 total yards and that has to mean something. Also meaning something is that De’Von Fox broke the Temple record of blocked punts in one game with three. Update: According to Shawn Pastor of OwlsDaily.com, Sharif Finch had two blocked punts against East Carolina in 2015. What Fox’s performance and the overall tightness of that part of the game means is that special teams, which Al Golden (correctly) said is a third of your team is now that important again.

That means a lot because the prior guy didn’t think it meant 1/100th of a team.

It should also mean something that a 10-3 Air Force team of a year ago wasn’t able to do much better and that’s a half-full glass worth raising. At least at the Rutgers’ pre-game tailgate.

Wednesday: Temple’s Homecoming Crowds


15 thoughts on “TU-Lafayette: Warts and All

  1. So …. who starts at QB this week?

  2. The Rutgers Game ? Any one else thinking they may not want to see a potential bloodbath next week and just stay at home even with these season tickets?

  3. A few observations from Saturday.

    The Drayton sideline is much more active and energetic than the Carey sideline. Speaks well to the buy-in from the players.

    Lurie forced the sideline change on the Owls. But they really should go back to the other sideline.

    I feel badly for Mathis as Carey completely neutered whatever made him a starting D1 QB. The guy sitting next to me made a good observation that the Phillies did the same thing to Scott Kingery.

    I was surprised to see Warner over Patterson. I suspect we may see Patterson get some action against Rutgers.

    There are some AAC players on the roster. More that need coaching and development to get there. But that is what year zero is all about.

    Special teams is a factor once again. Somewhere, Ed Foley smiled.

    The defense is better than expected at this point. There is potential on that side of the ball.

    I don’t expect the Rutgers game to be pretty. There is a talent gap that has grown. It is a positive that Fran Brown is now down south which gives a chance to recover some lost ground in New Jersey.

    • I hear you on the seat thing. I sat with the Falcone family for like 10 years in 121. I didn’t renew my season tickets until this year after skipping the last two. They also skipped the last two seasons and now we are both in the middle of a bunch of Rutgers fans. Ugh. But at least we will be looking at a completely packed Temple side on the other side of the field. Won’t stop me from standing up on third down. (That’s for you, Scotty, otherwise known as OVO.) 🙂

    • Yeah, just to compare how much has changed in 100 years. Good for a laugh. Swede Hansen would have been turning over in his grave to see the Owls struggle Saturday. 🙂

    • Yes, for all the yammering and dead ends for an OCS, I still say keeping old Temple stadium (regardless of location) and renovating with additional seats would have been very affordable, saved these ugly rental fees for the LINC and most importantly, given Temple a home stadium. In the mid to late 60’s I attended Tyler School of Art which was in Elkins Park, a stones throw from Temple Stadium. I was on Temple’s track & Field team and our spring practices and home meets were in the stadium (very convenient for me!). So, I for one, was sorry to see it be sold off and frankly sadly chuckle at the wringing of our collective hands over the stonewalling of an OCS.

      • We’re letting 20 or so neighbors push us around. Sad, really. Every other university that wants to build a stadium on its own property (not the neighbors’ property) just goes ahead and does it.

  4. Wonder if our friend Joe P. from Rutgers could shed some light on this post. What is this guy talking about? (It’s behind a paywall that Joe has.)
    “Interesting story line sets up Temple as a trap game.” Post on the round table.

    • People are talking about EJ Warner and his pedigree as a potential ‘x-factor’ for the game. Rutgers has had a few seasons over the last 20-21 years (2001, 2009, 2010, 2018)where a true freshman QB had the reins early on with varying results. Our QB in ’01 (Ryan Cubit) looked sound against Buffalo and Navy but got beat up once Big East play started (and then got passed over in mid-2002 by true freshman in Ryan Hart, who started through the 2005 season), Tom Savage had a great season in ’09, Chas Dodd showed a lot of heart and poise over 2010 (including a great Friday Night ESPN win over UConn) and Art Sitkowski really struggled in 2018, especially in the P5 games (B1G and the OOC game vs Kansas).

      …I’m actually wondering a bit about the status of TU’s lineman (Klein) who left due to a reported eye injury (hope he’s ok, especially with something like his eye).

      Joe P.

      • Klein went down for one play in the third quarter. Went off the field, went back in for another play and then was seen walking into the locker room with another person. He was walking fine. Looked like concussion protocol. No status yet for Saturday. Ironically, when the Owls had a good offensive line in 2018, he was a starter with Isaac Moore and Victor Stoffel (all three still on the team now) and that was under Geoff Collins and current line coach Chris Wiesehan. Now Stoffel is a backup tackle and Klein and Moore are the starting tackles. I imagine if he’s not able to go Saturday Stoffel slides right into the spot.

  5. Is Stoffel healthy? He was not dressed against Lafayette. I saw him standing on the sideline in street clothes the whole game.

    • The depth chart released on Monday has Stoffel listed behind Klein at OT. However, he was in street clothes on Saturday and Jimto Obidegwu came in and replaced Klein. Gotta think Temple wouldn’t put him second team if he’s not healthy now but maybe they don’t pay much attention to these depth charts. Think the former is true because E.J. is listed at the top of the QB depth chart.

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