Fizz: Buffalo was a team loss

Editor’s Note: Made only slight changes to include two first names on the first reference that were left out.

                                        By Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub

Wow!  Anthony Russo was over, under, in front and in back all day.  Then, when there were good passes in key situations, a lot were dropped.  Russo continues to look directly at his primary receiver as soon as he gets the ball.

All the while, both the offensive and defensive lines were outplayed to say the least, and we couldn’t stop the outstanding Buffalo running backs. (Number 5, Kevin Marks, reminds me of Brian Westbrook.)   The “targeting” calls didn’t help, and they were both questionable.  I guess it all depends if it was your quarterback or not.

There was no way we should have won the game, and we didn’t.  It’s a shame because we could have faced Georgia Tech undefeated, and a win would have us definitely ranked.

So let’s look at the coaching decisions that affected the game to some, but not a major degree.

  • There was a poorly executed screen pass where it didn’t seem to be a middle screen or an outside screen, and Russo threw right into the crowd.  Coaching?
  • Whoever has outside responsibility on our left defensive side, continued to penetrate and allow key yardage and a touchdown to go outside.  The defense should have been adjusted.
  • As it became apparent in the second quarter we had trouble stopping their running game, we should have started to run-blitz then. We did in the fourth quarter.
  • The long snapper was finally changed after another miscue which gave the momentum to Buffalo, but the punting is still only satisfactory with another shanked kick in the second half. Perhaps our punter, who could also be changed, should get practice fielding ground balls.
  • Down two scores at the end of the first half, why take a knee with 22 seconds left?
  • Someone on the coaching staff must have had a very low score on his math SAT’s.  I overlooked us going for two against Maryland when we shouldn’t have, and then we did it again against Buffalo.  In the fourth quarter, if we had kicked the extra point after a score, we would have been down 21 points.  The best we could have hoped for at that time, was a tie and overtime, so why risk being down by 22?
  • After Buffalo didn’t get a first down in our territory in the fourth quarter, we refused to take a 15-yard penalty before they punted.  Why?

So, cracks are starting to appear.  If we come back and beat the “Ramblin Wrecks from Georgia Tech,” there still won’t be enough seats on the bandwagon.

Thursday: Just What the doctor ordered

Saturday: Game Day

Sunday: Game Analysis


Temple-Buffalo: Humble Pie

Screenshot 2019-09-21 at 9.44.40 PM

As far as desserts go, Pumpin Pie for some reason has always been my favorite followed closely by Boston Cream Pie and Lemon Meringue Pie.

Humble Pie, not so much.

Temple got a sour taste of that on Saturday in a 38-22 loss at Buffalo.

College football is a funny (odd) not funny (hilarious) game sometimes and Saturday was one of those times.

When Sam Franklin scooped up an apparent fumble to put Temple supposedly up 14-0, I was a pretty happy camper. Then the replay came and (rightly) the Buffalo runner was ruled down by no more than an inch.

Game of not inches, but maybe an inch.

That’s how fast a college football game can change.

Did Temple need a taste of humble pie?



Does it kill the Owls’ season?

Also no.

Saturday proved that Buffalo after leading Penn State at halftime can go on the road and get clocked by Liberty, 35-17. It also proved that Temple can beat Maryland at home and lose to Buffalo on the road.

The road is a pretty dangerous place and that’s probably why I don’t spend a fortune following my beloved Owls there.

What the hell does this all mean?

I think–and I feel confident in saying this–that Maryland will end up being a better team than Buffalo when all is said and done.

I also think that Temple will be a better team than the one that lost to Buffalo and that the Owls will take care of business against Georgia Tech.

Beyond that, who the hell knows anymore?

Rod Carey was 5-0 against Buffalo with a fraction of the talent he had at his disposal yesterday so this loss really does not compute. 

The Owls got a little full of themselves this week with all the praise they received and were served a heaping hot helping of humble pie.

Plenty of things to fix starting with the special teams. Yeah, I know punter Adam Barry got two bad snaps but at some point, you’ve got to be athletic enough to pick up a bouncing ball and make one step and kick the damn thing away. Barry hasn’t quite shown that yet. Is he the Steve Sax of Temple–a second baseman who had such a mental issue that he couldn’t throw to first–that’s yet to be seen. Yet he’s shown a lot of signs that Connor Bowler did not last year. Bowler had five-count them five–50-yard-plus punts in a 49-6 win over East Carolina yet Rod Carey felt he wasn’t good enough to continue as the punter for Temple University.

Having watched the great Casey Murphy punt for Temple, I remember him picking up every single bad snap and getting off a great kick. Murphy messaged me yesterday during the game that he always practiced bad snaps. Maybe Barry should do the same.

The run defense that looked so great against Maryland looked so bad against Buffalo I do not know what to think.

All I know is that I never felt Temple was going to go unbeaten but, if there was going to be a loss, this was the place to do it–a nonleague game that left all of the current goals on the table (with perhaps the exception of an NY6 game).

Those goals are still right on the table and could make for a delicious meal. Just skip the dessert, please.

Tuesday: Fizz’s Thoughts on Buffalo


Game Day: How Important is beating Buffalo?

When the time comes to say something meaningful at one of those post-game press conferences, Rod Carey seized the moment last week.

“It was a great win, but it wasn’t one-and-a-half wins,” Carey said.

That right there was the best quote of not only this season but the best quote of the last three seasons from a Temple head coach. Geoff Collins made a practice of saying words in those press conferences that really meant nothing.

Screenshot 2019-09-19 at 11.02.51 PM

Early games today …

Carey hit the nail on the head.

You have 12 regular-season football games and every single one means just as much as the last one or the next one.

The next one is this afternoon at Buffalo (3:30, ESPNU) and, as satisfying as the last one was over Maryland, it means the same as that one or next week’s one against visiting Georgia Tech.

In college football, they like to talk about “trap games” but, in a 12-game season, there should be none of those. The players work too hard the other 353 days of the year to throw one of a dozen away and Carey’s no-nonsense approach should serve Temple well.

Screenshot 2019-09-19 at 11.04.19 PM

Nighttime TV lineup

Temple received seven points in the latest Top 25 poll and, if it beats Buffalo, it should receive more next week. That’s the way this thing should work although it didn’t work that way in the preseason poll. In that one, the Owls received two coaches votes and then beat Bucknell, 56-12. In the next one, they received zero coaches votes.


A 56-12 win dropped them in the eyes of pollsters? Should they have beaten Bucknell 79-0?

That’s what it seems like.

Beating Maryland got people’s attention, especially after the Terps beat Syracuse, 63-20, the week prior. No one knows what the score will be but how impressive from a national standpoint would it be if Temple was able to beat Buffalo by the same 45-13 score Penn State beat it by three weeks ago? Then, how far does Temple rise in the national polls with that victory piggybacked on a weekend where Maryland beats Penn State and Temple beats Georgia Tech?

Those dominoes have to start falling this afternoon, though.

Today, Buffalo is all about keeping people’s attention and that’s why the Owls have to play with the same fierceness and tenacity on the road that they did a week ago at home.

Survive and advance. A win today is as important as a win last week, not half as good or twice as good.

This Carey guy seems to say some pretty astute things. Hopefully, the kids are listening.

Picks: Iowa State laying the 19 against visiting Louisiana Monroe, Indiana laying the 27 against visiting UConn, Old Dominion getting 30 at Virginia, Wisconsin laying the 3.5 at Michigan, SMU getting the 9.5 against visiting TCU. Record last week: 3-3 overall, 1-5 against the spread (also the season record).

Tomorrow: Game Analysis


Behind Enemy Lines: A conversation with Bull Run


A good panorama look at 29,016-seat Buffalo Stadium. Even though the North Campus is located in the residential suburb of Amherst, the neighbors supported building it in 1992.

This is a real Throwback Thursday post, back to the days when the Temple Owls were a member of the Mid-American Conference

My favorite of the competing MAC blogs back when Temple Football Forever was a member of that conference was Buffalo’s Bull Run.

It still is and its platform is SB Nation.

Screenshot 2019-09-18 at 11.16.06 PM

We had a running and friendly exchange with Bull Run back then and we’re resuming it now in advance of Saturday’s 3:30 game (ESPNU) in Amherst, N.Y. Buffalo’s home stadium is located on the North Campus, which is a little like Temple putting its home stadium on the Owls’ North Campus (Ambler).

The driving engine behind that blog Tim Riordan, which is the same name of a former great Temple (and Philadelphia Stars of the USFL) quarterback. They are not related other than they were and are very good at what they do.

Bull Run mixes in coverage of the Bulls with some occasional humor that always makes it a fun read.

We threw these five questions out to Tim and he was kind enough to answer them:

How was the fan atmosphere at Liberty and was there any audible cursing in the stands at the right-wing religious institution?

 I was not at the game, sadly, but for a team which had been beaten as thoroughly through two games as the flames were the atmosphere seemed rather impressive. I”m going to guess that the honor code there probably kept the cursing to a minimum.

Temple’s attempts to build an on-campus stadium have been seemingly blocked by no more than 20 neighbors. With the Buffalo Stadium located in a residential area, did the neighbors try to stop it when it was built many years ago?


Well, UB’s stadium is on Campus and was built originally to help host the 1992 World University Games. It’s one of the reasons that the layout is so bad in the stadium, it was built for track and field. 
Other than the QB and TE, who were the key losses for the Bulls last season?


 Where to start? UB only returned seven or eight starters this season. In addition to Tyree and Mabry, we lost three receivers, two linebackers, three defensive backs, and an all-MAC center. Basically, offensive guards and tackles are the returning units.
It will be almost a completely new team you’re seeing this year.
Thoughts from a conference foe on Rod Carey, who is 5-0 against Buffalo?


The guy went 38-10 in the MAC, won four division titles and two conference championships. That’s more a statement of his competence than the fact he owned Buffalo. Though I will say last year he really out-coached Leipold at the half. 
Would Buffalo be interested in taking UConn’s place in the AAC since it brings a better current hoop and football program and a bigger TV market?


While it might not be the best financial move in terms of the non-revenue sports I would love the move for Buffalo. The New York to DC corridor is a huge location for our Alumni base, and Buffalo is getting more students from that Area than they do from Buffalo itself.
That along with the better depth you have in hoops would make a move to the AAC a no brainier for Buffalo. So if you have any pull with the folks at the American office, pass along a note for us.
Saturday: Game Day and Polls


TU-Buffalo: Adventures in would have, should have, land


By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub

Today’s write-up is going to be a little different because most everything has already been said. Basically, both the offensive and defensive strategies developed by this coaching staff simply don’t work.  They didn’t work last year, and certainly not this year as we are 0-2 against teams from lower divisions.  There is now a distinct possibility we may not win a game this year.  For those of us who have followed Temple football for eons, it’s a nightmare.



The straight-ahead Broad Street Offense has no rhythm.  By that I mean there’s no setting up plays for down the line.  If you run to the right or up the gut a number of times, most teams would be readying counters or mis-directions.  If you’re going to throw on first down, why in the world would you not pass from play-action, rather than an empty backfield which tells the defense exactly what you’re going to do. If your current strategy isn’t working, why isn’t there a different one?  Just bringing Wright in to run the “wildcat” doesn’t fool anyone.  As soon as the defense sees it, they know what’s coming. (Why doesn’t he throw from that formation?)  And constantly going for field goals when you have fourth and two deep in the opponent’s territory is stupid and shows no guts and no imagination.


It’s the same defense all the time, with only minor variations.  This year, both Villanova and Buffalo manhandled our front seven most of the time.  As we’re always in the 4-3, the uncovered offensive lineman have been killing our linebackers. Unless we’re blitzing and hitting the proper gap, we constantly give up too much when trying to stop the run.  On pass defense, and going back to last year, we’ve never been able to stop a five to fifteen-yard pass over the middle. And in every game there are many missed tackles because our guys don’t wrap-up – they just throw the chicken-shit shoulder.

Some Solutions

On offense, and if our second string QB can run, then why not do that from a different formation as a change of pace – and still throw.  With all the practice time they have now, why not have a second offense?  How difficult is it to teach ten or twelve plays from a different set and force the opponent to spend extra preparation time?  As I’ve said lots of times before if there was a balance to the offense maybe we wouldn’t need to do this.

There has to be an entirely different, or at least an additional defensive philosophy because this one doesn’t work.  My plan would be to employ five guys as a rush defense with the down-linemen constantly changing position.  Six guys would play zone pass defense so they could sit and wait for the receiver to come in the middle and cream him.


My ideas may or may not be effective.  However, they’re at least different.  Over the two years this staff has been here, they’ve shown absolutely no ability to adapt, change, or be innovative.  The best possible record we could now have this year would be 2-10.

* Correction from last week – This writer apologizes for a misstatement. I said Joe Morelli ran a naked bootleg in 1962.  It was a bootleg, but it was Joe who was naked.

Thursday: How We Went From AAC Champs To AAC Chumps in 2 Seasons

Saturday: Maryland Preview

Sunday: Game Analysis

Buffalo Shuffle Could Be a Tussle


The most intriguing thing about the University of Buffalo’s football team is the name of its head coach.

Lance Leipold.

If the name sounds familiar to college football junkies of all levels, it should.

Leipold was 109-6 at  DIII Wisconsin-Whitewater and won six national championships in eight years. He made it to 100 wins in the shortest time of any NCAA coach, any division.


If that doesn’t tell you the man can flat-out coach, he supplied further evidence when he improved what had been a two-win Buffalo team to six wins last year.

Temple tried hiring a lower division legend in Bobby Wallace without similar success but it appears that the formula is working for the Bulls because the improvement indicates that Leipold is well on his way to having his system in place entering Year No. 4 at Buffalo.

If he’s able to make a similar improvement this season, this could be a very tough second game for Temple. His two top playmakers—quarterback Tyree Jackson and wide receiver Anthony Johnson—return.

Buffalo is dangerous because it was able to beat Lane Kiffin’s 11-3 FAU squad—a team many felt would have given Temple a much tougher bowl game last season than the other Florida alphabet school, Florida.

Jackson and Johnson were instrumental in that win and would like nothing better than performing well in the home stadium of the Super Bowl champions.

All of that said, Temple head coach Geoff Collins is paid very handsomely to hold serve at home against teams like Buffalo and reach up and win a game or two on the road against a team where the Owls are underdogs.

Still, don’t be surprised if it’s a much tighter game than the last time the Bulls visited, a 37-13 Temple win.

Wednesday: Position Flexibility

Friday: Thoughts From the Season-Ticket Holder Party

Teams to root for today: UB, SMU, Rutgers

Even in this age of instant communication, it’s going to be hard to find the score of the Buffalo at Eastern Michigan game.
First off, it’s never on KYW-AM (they only give top 10 scores) and it’s not on over the air TV (even pay cable) anywhere.
But it is on the internet and, for Temple fans, provides a rooting element.
All these teams would do Temple a big favor by winning:

Hooter is more endearing.

BUFFALO at Eastern Michigan (1 p.m., MAC all-access) _ If the Bulls finish ahead of Bowling Green in the standings, they provide a positive backup tie-breaker for Temple should it finish in a three-way tie with Miami and Ohio. Eastern Michigan is a three-point favorite. The game is on internet only. Buffalo’s got a chance. It beat Ohio.

She’d be perfect for me
if she was 20 years older
and I had $1 million

Navy at SMU (3:30, FSN) _ Southern Methodist football players wrote a letter to the school newspapers complaining about the lack of enthusiasm by their own fans in a win over TCU. They must be looking at the coeds and not on the field of play. Navy has to win all three of its remaining games (at SMU, at San Jose State and vs. Army) to qualify for a bowl Temple could be looking at attending (D.C., likely) and SMU is the toughest of the three. SMU is a seven-point favorite.

Cos and Hall and Oates are more famous.

RUTGERS vs. Army (3:30, Yankee Stadium, CBS College Sports) _ Same deal with Navy as Army has to win all three of its remaining games to qualify for a bowl. If Temple LOSES to Army, it still has a chance to qualify for a final bowl slot if Army loses today. Hopefully, both Rutgers and ESPECIALLY Temple beats Army. The Black Knights of the Hudson have proven to be a tough out on occasion this year, losing at Miami (Ohio) by only a touchdown and beating Northwestern, 21-14. Northwestern, you’ll recall, won AT Nebraska last week. Rutgers is an eight-point favorite.

Prevent defense prevents only winning

By Mike Gibson
Go ahead.
Try it.
Type into Google “prevent defense prevents winning.”
Then type: “prevent defense prevents losing.”
The first search gets you 2,140,000 responses.
The second gets you 274,000.
There’s a reason why there’s such a discrepancy in search results because, maybe, it’s true.
You’ll come up with some interesting search results, too, like the fact that John Madden is widely credited with the origin of that phrase.
In all of my years watching football, I’ve never seen a team lose a game in the final seconds because they blitzed a quarterback and saw him catch them with something underneath the coverage.
Yet I’ve seen too many passes thrown into the end zone with three guys on the receiver where a tipped ball or a freak interference play can win it.
Last year, I saw Brian Griese… Brian FREAKING Griese … take the anemic Bears’ offense 97 yards against the Eagles because Andy Reid sat back in a stupid prevent defense and waited for the Bears beat him.
They did.
On Saturday, on my way to work, I saw Temple sit back in a three-man rush for the final series and wait for Buffalo to beat it.
It had to wait until the final play, but it was inevitable.
I’m not second-guessing now.
I said to everyone within earshot at Maxi’s Bar on Liacouras Walk that the game was over when the Owls went to a three-man rush on the first defensive play of the final series.
“BLITZ!” I yelled at the screen. “BLITZ! BLITZ! BLITZ!”
C’mon, the best pass defense is putting a quarterback on his ass!” I yelled.
Guess what?
No matter how much I yell, my voice doesn’t carry through a television screen to Buffalo. Only in Poltergeist, but not in real life. This can’t be happening, I said. A coach who has the guts to go for it on fourth-and-1 at his own 34 in a tie game surely has the guts to play just as aggressively on the other side of the ball.
All I could do is turn to the guy next to me and say, “if they don’t blitz, they are going to lose.”
And they did. Hopefully, they learned their lesson.
We’ll see.

A coach who has the guts
to go for it on fourth-and-1
at his own 34 in a tie game
surely has the guts to play
just as aggressively
on the other side of the ball.

Thirty-eight seconds to go and every offensive play Buffalo ran was met with a three-man rush. Drew Willy had all the time in the world to throw.
All … the … time … in … the … world.
Twenty years ago almost to the day, a Temple coach named Bruce Arians almost learned the same lesson Al Golden learned Saturday.
I said almost because he got his wits about him in time to avoid a Temple defeat.
Down 35-30, a Rutgers’ quarterback of similar talent named Scott Erney drove the Scarlet Knights from his own 5-yard line to the Temple 20 in the game’s final minute.
Arians called a timeout and yelled so hard at defensive coordinator Nick Rapone I thought Bruce’s veins were going to burst. I couldn’t make out what he was saying, but soon I found out.
Temple went from covering with eight to rushing with eight. Four straight plays, Erney was sacked. It was a jailbreak of Temple defenders and the Owls were loving every defensive call, coming at Erney on all sides. The game ended with a Temple player, appropriately named Swift Burch, on top of Erney at midfield. Four plays. Four sacks. Thirty yards of losses.

There is no doubt in my mind
if Mark D’Onofrio and Al Golden
decided to send more than Buffalo could block,
we’d be talking about how good
that grass stain looked on Drew Willy’s ass
at the end of the game
and not a fluke catch

“If I was going to go down, I was going to go down with my guns blazing,” Arians said, holding the game ball in the locker room afterward.
“That’s what I’m talkin’ about,” I said then.
That’s what I’m talking about now.
There is no doubt in my mind if Mark D’Onofrio and Al Golden decided to send more than Buffalo could block, we’d be talking about how good that grass stain looked on Drew Willy’s ass at the end of the game and not a fluke catch.
If only my voice could have reached Buffalo. If only they had heard.