Temple at UCF: A bridge too far?

This drive made the AAC championship possible for Temple.

Maybe it’s for the best that nobody expects Temple to win its game at UCF on national television Thursday night.

Temple’s players do. Temple’s coaches do and only the most die-hard fans do.

Maybe it’s best because UCF will be playing not to lose and the Owls will be able to play to win.

UCF went from an 0-12 season to a 6-6 one after Keith Kirkwood made this clutch catch for Temple.

There was a game like that six years ago between the teams when the Owls traveled to UCF with a championship on the line every week and played tight against a Knights’ team coming off an 0-12 season.

Temple fell behind, 25-7, but used perhaps the greatest 32-second drill in the history of the sport to pull out a 26-25 win. If the Owls don’t win that game, they probably don’t win the championship.

Both teams took a step forward after that night as the Owls won the championship and UCF went from 0-12 to 6-6.

If history repeats itself on Thursday night, and the Owls jump to a 25-7 lead and lose 26-25 but finish 6-6, the Owls would probably take that trade because, in reality, expecting a win here may be a bridge too far.

UCF beat a Georgia Tech team that beat Duke. On the flip side, Louisville beat UCF. Those Cardinals also lost to a Boston College team (that also lost to Rutgers). The Owls pretty much played Rutgers to a competitive standoff, getting more first downs, time of possession, and yards but losing only on a fluke-tipped interception.

Fluke-tipped interceptions are part of the game, though, and who is to say the Owls won’t be on the good side of that bouncing ball in a couple of nights?

What we’ve seen so far from Temple is pretty clear: The Owls have a defense that CAN keep them in every game and an offense that CAN cause them to lose every single game. They have an attacking defense and a predictable offense. Putting some unpredictability into that offense should be a feature of Thursday night’s game plan.

Really, the offense showed up only in the 28-0 win over Massachusetts, and, for the 2022 Owls to have the same kind of rebound season the 2016 Knights did, it will have to show up on a more consistent basis. The most interesting Temple-centric score of the weekend occurred at UMass where the same Minutemen who were shut out by the Owls but were also able to put up 24 points on Liberty.

Liberty might be every bit as good as UCF is now.

That’s not much to cling hopes on but there are signs that Temple will be competitive. After an 0-12 season in 2015, that’s all UCF could ask for in 2016 and it achieved that goal. After a 3-9 season in 2021, that’s about the best Temple fans could ask for now.

Of course, if the Temple players and coaches prove everyone else wrong on Thursday night, that would be OK too.

Friday: Game Analysis


15 thoughts on “Temple at UCF: A bridge too far?

  1. For Temple FB to be on prime time ESPN Thursday is a potential disaster for recruiting and just overall national image. Not Good, Not good at all, at this point.

    • … but good if they win. Some crazy things have happened in college football this year. If Texas State can blow out App. State and Incarnate Word can beat Nebraska, Temple can win at UCF.

      • TUFB will rise to the occasion and play their best game of the year. Win or lose, everyone will note the effort and program direction. On a better note, the broadcast team’s comments about the offense will accelerate the OC’s departure 🙂

        The broadcasters will also note the HUGE number of starting underclassmen. A boon for recruiting, you can play now if you are good enough.

    • Maybe remembering that come-from-behind last second victory over UCF and also Rhule having 2 lousy seasons before changing the offensive scheme leading to great success, is why our present OC is still around? Drayton can still order a change too but times awasting.

  2. we’re getting ready for tonight’s game and despite all, we are prepared with some hope, some optimism. Let’s show ’em !
    Now Practicing ” T for Temple U ” in front of the cats (on my squeeze box).

  3. game at 3rd quarter 10 mins, total crap just total crap. Unbelievable its back to this again, total crap… as I write just saw 70 yd pass for TD, just total crap, stick a fork in the entire process, they are done, for good. No way the QB will stick around….

  4. Can’t blame this one on the offensive coordinator. Looks like the defense forgot to get on the plane to Florida. Offense actually looked good to start the game, other than the running backs. Saydee and Norwood are simply not FBS level running backs. Offensive line looked a bit improved this week.
    Also, not sure why Quincy Patterson keeps getting so many snaps at QB. They clearly don’t want to pass the ball with him and he hasn’t shown much in the running game either. Need to stop wasting downs and leave Warner in for every snap at QB.

    • Last week I asked how long the defense gives the effort they have for the first five games knowing the offense isn’t contributing shit. Why should they bust their asses when they know the offense isn’t going to score? It’s not what it should be but it’s human nature.

  5. Beg ESPN to do a rerun of another game. UCF just QB went through the defense like the hot knife through butter to make it 63-13.

  6. I find that hard to believe. This is a nationally televised prime time game, the first for most of these guys. If they couldn’t get fired up for tonight, they shouldn’t be playing college football. To me it looks like they were over pursuing and taking bad angles on everything. Maybe they were too fired up and trying too hard?

  7. The defense also played 3 of those games against inept offenses. Rutgers, Lafayette, and UMass. Not exactly offensive juggernauts. Against Duke, they gave up 30, not exactly a good defensive showing. That leaves Memphis as the only game where they have played “great”. I’m afraid the quality of opponent left us with a false sense of what this defense really is.

    Rutgers – If you take out their game against Wagner, has scored 22, 16, 10, 10, and 13.

    UMass – 10, 10, 20, 0, 13, 24.

    Lafayette – 6, 14, 7, 0, 24, 2. Aside from the 24 against Bucknell, they scored the most points against Temple, 14. Sacred Heart, William & Mary, Penn, and Princeton all held them to less points than Temple did.

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