An unnecessary heartbreaking loss

Walking through the concourse on my way to my Lincoln Financial Field season seats (yeah, I bought two even though I need only one), I peeked through the opening and saw that the Temple football Owls were wearing black.


Not a good sign.

The first person I see was a Dallas Cowboys’ and Temple football friend of mine named Jay and I shook my head.

“Not a good sign, they are wearing black,” I said.

We both know what that usually means.

Then I walked down and saw the Victory Engineer Family, long-time friends from Central Bucks East, and said the same.

Black wasn’t the reason Temple lost, 49-46, to East Carolina on Saturday but it certainly didn’t help. When God gives your school the best color combination in college football (Cherry with White), you don’t piss him off by wearing anything else.

A black cloud hovered over Temple all day in the form of a matador defense and a ridiculous play call at the most crucial point of the game.

Facing a third-and-1 with three minutes left, the Owls passed instead of running. They were up, 46-42. Had they plowed ahead for the first down there, they could have run out the clock and taken the momentum of a huge win into the offseason.

Instead, if they are really good at self-evaluation, they are kicking themselves right now.

After throwing an incomplete pass on that third-down situation, they came out with the intent to go for it on fourth-down. That was the correct call. The key call was the third-down pass, not the fourth-down punt. That third down should have been a run but Temple had a chance for a course correction on the next play and blew it.

Then East Carolina called a timeout and during the timeout, Temple head coach Stan Drayton changed his mind and punted.

Not good when your defense had a hard time stopping ECU all day.

Mike Houston’s timeout forced the rookie coach into a mistake.

Overthinking in my mind.

Stan should have trusted his instincts. If you can’t get a yard in two tries at midfield, you don’t deserve to win. The saddest thing is that Temple has just the personnel package for those kinds of situations and never used it.

To me, the sequence was a no-brainer.

You bring your 6-4, 252-pound backup quarterback, Quincy Patterson, into the game and you tell him to plow ahead for the yard. Then you give the ball back to brilliant starter E.J. Warner and tell him to run the clock out, win the game and get his teammates together to sing “T For Temple U.”

Kurt loves the fact that E.J is playing in the “Eagles’ Stadium.”

If Patterson gets two feet instead of three, you give the ball back to him and give him another shot. Two Patterson runs would have at worst killed 60 seconds of precious clock and, at best, given the Owls the ball to take a knee three times in the last minute.

You don’t punt it back to a team you haven’t stopped all day (except for one fourth-quarter sack).

Sad, because E.J. Warner has become a force to be reckoned with over the next three years at Temple with another 500-yard, 5TD performance. His dad indicated that E.J. will be here for a long time in a tweet Saturday night.

It’s a shame because winning really is everything and the Owls could have had everything on Saturday. Hard to settle for second place after Warner posted a day like this.

Maybe the Warners have enough clout with the powers who pick the colors.

We can only hope.

Monday: Season Recap

Friday: A New Beginning


8 thoughts on “An unnecessary heartbreaking loss

  1. What a shame! More bad play calling, especially on that 3rd and 1 situation near the end of the game with the Owls in the lead. I yelled at the TV (my wife thinks I’m nuts): you passed on 3rd and 1? Are you kidding me? Run the damn ball! And if you don’t quite make it, run it again on 4th down! For the reason you mentioned, I knew damn well the Pirates would take the ball quickly down the field for the go ahead score! All of that and EJ Warner having a spectacular day! His QB dad must have been proud! A win would have been a great way to finish another forgettable season with renewed hopes of better days ahead.

  2. What impact do you think Warner will have on recruiting?

    • Negligible Ken. I don’t see people coming here just because E.J. is here. Love the fact that Kurt and Brenda have publicly stated they will be at Temple games next season.

  3. Missed being at the game yesterday, but was able to watch it on ESPN +. Looked like there may have just a couple of thousand fans in the seats. I also watched Ohio State (grandson is an alumnus) and Michigan play. Amazingly different venue when compared to our game with ECU. I’ve been to Ohio Stadium along with 100,000 plus others in the past. What a remarkable experience. Well, I guess you can see where I’m going with this. But I will always love Owl football, as long as it or I are around of course. Go Owls in ’23!

    • Another stupid play was kicking it to Hatfield. They kicked it away from him the prior two kickoffs and then thought, “Let’s try kicking to him.” Of course, he takes it to the house. These are unforced coaching errors. It’s like playing tennis and constantly double-faulting. I could see forced errors but unforced ones are unacceptable particularly when it has more to do with the adults than the kids.

      • we all know now it can be done; especially after hearing how many new players Lincoln Riley added last season.., I think it was over 30

        Left/Right Tackle, WR, RB, and Center represent ‘turning point’ positions for ’23. The tackles on the roster now are really guards in disguise. Minus the graduating SRs, all OL guys on the team now proved they can’t handle the Center position = get a new center from the portal.

        TUFB will go to a bowl next year, some of the teams coming from Conf-USA are bad.

        Drayton made quite a few “questionable” sideline decisions this yr. Good news, that was the time to learn.

        Bad news will be if he doesn’t learn, I’m betting he will.

        More good news, this is shaping up to be the best recruiting class in the last eight years – significant.

        It all starts in conference. Out recruit and out play the teams in your conference and great things will happen, ala Cincy and UCF. Houston is going to the P5 because of an activist BOT.., the team sucks.

  4. Even the announcers said the punt was the wrong call because with so much time left, ECU will score anyway – that’s the way the whole game went. So, they get it at their 10 yard line and plow right down the field. And I’m not so sure running it up the middle would have worked either since ECU would have stacked their players in the middle and we haven’t done well all season trying to go up the middle – but yeah the punt was a suicide call. Such a damn shame. One lousy yard and the game was ours.
    If Warner and the receivers return Drayton needs to bolster the O-line and get a speedy running back – like the one ECU has. Oh and stop those short kick-offs – put it in the end zone.

    • Rewatching the game now. On the first drive that resulted in a 3-0 lead, DMR catches the ball, turns and is tackled inside the 1. Looks to me (no offense, DMR, who I love) that he “settled” for the 1 assuming the Owls would score. I think he could have pushed that smaller guy into the end zone rather easily and replayed it twice my assumption was right. The next two plays were 1-yard losses by Saydee. He’s not a goal-line back. Got to use a fullback there (Diaz?) and have Quincy come in and follow that block. Another somewhat amusing observation is after the EJ TD pass to Smith, he’s laying on his back with both hands in the air signaling touchdown. Back Judge comes over and takes his hand and helps him up without even asking. Nice job by the Back Judge.

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