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.”
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