ECU-Temple: Good time for de ja vu

Temple fans will sign for a nice 41-21 win over ECU right now just like this one in 2013 over Memphis.

If the 20,000 or so Temple fans leave Saturday’s game around 4 p.m. with a feeling that they’ve seen this movie before, it will be a good day for Owl football.

That’s because a lot of people have compared Stan Drayton’s first season to Matt Rhule’s first one and, in a way, it’s a valid comparison. More importantly, if this season ends the way that one did it will be a good thing.

Rhule started the season with an 0-6 record including a close loss to one of the American Conference elite teams, UCF, but finished with a 41-21 win over Memphis on the road. Temple started a little better this year but also has a close loss to an elite league team, Houston. Then, like now, a true freshman quarterback replaced a higher-profile quarterback with better stats than the prior guy. Chris Coyer played quarterback as late as the Idaho game that year before being switched to another position (tight end). Dwan Mathis started the season as a quarterback and also ended the year as a receiver.

Nobody knows what will happen Saturday (1 p.m. kickoff, Lincoln Financial Field) but Temple has by most objective analysis been trending in the right direction since a 27-20 overtime loss at Navy. The Owls beat USF, 54-28, and then posted their elite close loss (Houston, 43-36) before their offense spit the bit in a 23-3 loss against No. 23 Cincinnati last week.

Hopefully, that turnover-plagued game is the outlier and not the prior three ones.

It’s going to be a good day for a win. Temperatures will be in the mid-50s. Who would have had the nicest weather game of the year being Nov. 26 on their bingo card? Not me. It should be a larger crowd than braved the cold last week. Geez, you would hope so. I will be there. It’s certainly a no gloves (sorry, Lazygote) and even a yes shorts kind of day.

Maybe Temple will have some signage on the field since the Eagles are not playing until Sunday night. Either way, Temple has been lying to its fans because last week Pitt had signage in the middle of its field that was removed by the time the Steelers kicked off the next day (not even a night game). The same day Temple had to play on a field with a faded Eagles’ logo in the middle DESPITE the Eagles being in Indianapolis the next day (see photo).

Enough with cosmetics, though. The most important thing is the W.

If the Owls finish with a win over an East Carolina team that pummeled them the last two seasons, it will send them into the offseason with not only a good taste in their mouths but some receipts proving that hope is valid.

Like then, the Owls have a promising freshman quarterback. E.J. Warner has broken all of P.J. Walker’s freshman passing records.

If he does the same in the sophomore, junior,, and senior years, the Owls should be in pretty good shape because P.J. holds practically every single career passing record at the school. The most impressive P.J. stats were wins (six as a sophomore, 10 as a junior, and a as as senior).

The Memphis team the Owls beat by 20 to close out the 2013 season lost by a touchdown against a 12-1 Louisville team so beating ECU to close things out would be similarly impressive.

The next year Temple went 6-6 and followed that with consecutive 10-win seasons.

Plenty of unknown factors Saturday, but after ECU beat UCF, 34-13, this one looked like it was going to be an ugly way to end the season. Simply because the Owls lost to the same UCF team, 70-13.

Time changes things.

Temple probably SHOULD have won at Houston but lost, 43-36, two weeks ago. I don’t know if the Owls coaching staff is kicking themselves for not milking the clock before scoring that go-ahead touchdown but I am. Dana Holgorsen called a timeout to preserve the clock sensing the Owls would go ahead 36-35. They did. If the Owls made him use his final two timeouts before scoring, they would have won. Last week, that same Houston team traveled to ECU and won, 42-3.

If the Owls play like they did at Houston and ECU plays like it did against Houston, a 41-21 Temple win is certainly a possibility. If, on the other hand, the Owls and Pirates revert to UCF form, a 41-21 ECU win is just as possible.

The trends, though, seem to suggest Temple and this has that Memphis 2013 kind of feel.

Deja Vu.

That would be a great sequel to the 2013 Memphis hit and director Rhule produced better cinema after that. Maybe he left the same camera behind at the E-O for Drayton.

Very Late Saturday Night: Game Analysis

Monday: Season Recap

Friday: A New Beginning

11 thoughts on “ECU-Temple: Good time for de ja vu

  1. We can only hope that the Owls will prevail. The UCF game completely turned me off. I returned my tickets to the Navy and USF games. I’m going to the MBB game tomorrow. Not hopeful.

    • Less hopeful long-term for the future of men’s basketball than football simply because with Temple’s hoops facilities ($50 million practice facility and one of the best on-campus arenas in the nation) the Owls should be pulling in top 100 recruits and they are getting scraps. Football has “only” a $17 million practice facility and less “potential” of a home-field advantage than hoops. Difference? Aaron McKie is more of a laid-back personality than Stan Drayton, who has a “dog” in him much like John Chaney. McKie’s personality is closer to Fran Dunphy’s. Nothing wrong with that because both are nice guys. I often wonder what would have happened if someone like Rick Pitino took the Temple job instead of the Iona one. I suspect Temple would have done better but we will never know. There are certain guys who win everywhere they go. Pitino appears to be one of them. Mike Leach of Mississippi State is another good example on the football side.

  2. If Aaron stumbles badly enough and is replaced I certainly hope the AD, pres and BOT get their collective sh*t together and do a good national search and hire a PROVEN new HC.
    Just read the Inky article about the Frankford/Catholic HS Thanksgiving Day football rivalries over the years. Back in 1953 they drew 47K fans to Franklin Field. Temple should wish for results like that – not just wish, but work toward getting that on a regular basis. Maybe the new president and AD can make it happen. I’m fed up with Lurie insulting Temple by not even putting the Temple T in the middle of the field considering what TU pays him for rent – that’s the least he could do. In the earlier 1900s Temple built a stadium (and for the time, a darn nice one) and now Temple overpays to be in a stadium where an embarrassingly small number of fans show up and the school doesn’t know how or care to elevate the program to at least fill the bottom seats. It might sound silly but why not build a modest stadium around the EO field until the program and attendance increases sustainably instead of throwing money down the LINC rabbit hole – then think about bigger things. But maybe the BOT is in Lurie’s pocket? They sure don’t care about having a decent program but sure continue to pay all that LINC rent. Hmmmm….

    • The modest stadium around the E-O would get the same neighborhood opposition that stymied the 15th and Norris project. I’d rather have an immodest Norris Street stadium than a modest E-O one. The only obstacle to building a stadium at Temple are these neighbors who hate Temple. Can you imagine the crime problem if Temple WASN’T located there? They should be thanking their lucky stars Temple is the anchor of that neighborhood. Instead, the anger is misplaced against Temple. If they were really thinking, the tone of the March meeting a couple of years ago would have been: “You guys want to build a stadium? Go ahead. It’s going to improve the neighborhood and raise the value of our houses. God bless you guys.” I once asked Doc Chodoff why Temple built a stadium 12 miles Northwest of campus. He told me the original plan was to move the entire Temple campus to the Philly side of Cheltenham and out of North Philly and Mr. Buery thought putting the stadium there would be the first step toward doing so. Sounds like a good plan in retrospect.

    • McKie is a nice guy who does not get results. He can’t recruit and can’t coach. TU will wait until the program hits rock bottom before making a change.

      The timing of the change will not be correlated to the recruiting schedule, thus putting the program behind an additional full year.

      Don’t laugh, we all know it’s true. TU Athletics wears the BOT albatross.

  3. Please someone tell me why Temple’s special teams decisions persistently has Bell kick shy of the end zone, knowing how good and fast ECU’s returners are (and this isn’t the only game doing so), so instead of them starting at the 25 they advance it to the 45? And we keep doing it! We lucked out icing their kicker at the end of the half, but why keep giving them the chance for big returns? Is Bell incapable of putting it in the end zone or is it just stupid strategy?

  4. PS: And why do we always try to run kickoffs back, even out of the end zone, rarely getting it very far, instead of downing it with a guaranteed start at the 25 – expecting a miracle? (we’re too slow to do that).

  5. More questionable coaching decisions, passing on 3rd and 1 again unable to control the clock at the end of a game. Hopefully the staff, especially Drayton will learn from this going into year 2. Since the same calls were occurring in the last game I have some doubts. Also for as much as there were individual stand outs on defense, generating more turnovers, good on holding offenses on 3rd down, the unit seemed to consistently fail late in the 4th quarter with the game on the line. Has the D stopped one team this season when it would have sealed a victory.

    • consecutive years of bad recruiting equals weak senior leadership.

      The 22’, ‘23 and ‘24 senior classes are weak. You turn to your seniors when the game is on the line.

      It’s bad when you have to turn to the portal for team leadership…, Collins and Carey had lower half of the conference recruiting classes during their entire tenure.

  6. Thank You Temple Football. After seeing yesterdays’ repeat killer loss, we have decide to say thank you and ‘Caio’, ‘auf-wiedersehen’, and Later’. We were so lucky to have been there for their great runs of the past 15 years, several bowl games and all that. But enough now.
    WE had the ball with 3:25 to go, did a stupid 3rd down pass play, then punted on the 4th and 1 ? Our A-hole coached often went for it on 4th and 3 in the past.
    We never stopped their run game and saw their big fast receiver open down the middle at least 4 times already. So give them the ball back, right ?
    The HC , now he isn’t too smart after all, is he ? That’s what fans all around us thought, yes they did. I heard people scream. ‘that was STUPID’. Oh_well, and thank you Mr Mike G….

    It was swell for all those years, but no more, so thank you.

  7. Great quote from E.J. Proves that if you are loyal to the kids they will be loyal to you:
    “From day one, not a lot of people believed me from high school, and (Drayton) did from day one and showed that to me, how much they wanted me here and how much of a priority I was,” Warner said, “and I’m just so grateful for this opportunity to be a part of this program and to come and try to help build up Temple. Just so excited to be part of it and just can’t wait to keep getting to work, getting better, and hopefully the next few years we can win more games.”

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