At track meets, one of the most entertaining events is the “thrower’s relay” where a group of discus, javelin and shot put throwers show off their running skills on the track.
There are reasons those guys throw the discus, javelin and shot put. They are just as integral to the team’s success as the guys on the track, but that “unofficial” race is always good for laughs because those guys aren’t meant to be there.
Throwers don’t compete against runners and vice versa.
Unless you are counting Temple’s 52-40 loss at UCF.
The game was a winnable one if the Temple of 2015 and 2016 was on the field, forcing the UCF guys to play Temple’s game–run the ball with an elite tailback behind a fullback and chew up each quarter with eight-minute-type scoring drives against the 91st-ranked rushing defense in the nation and limit UCF possessions to a bare minimum.
Instead, Temple’s “throwers” tried to beat UCF’s track guys at their own game and no team in America can get in a track meet with them. Temple, rather than run the clock down to single digits before snapping on each play, snapped the ball in the high 20s almost every down.
On a night when UCF’s longest scoring drive was 2 minutes, 55 seconds, that’s not a sound game plan.
Temple’s only chance was to use lead blockers for running backs Ryquell Armstead and Jager Gardner and chew up the clock and keep the ball out of the hands of UCF Heisman Trophy candidate Milton McKenzie.
The 2018 Owls, while setting a school record for total yards, pretty much failed to utilize the one game plan that could have won them the game. The 2016 Owls would probably would have won this game with Armstead following Nick Sharga through the hole and the punishing body blows would have had a cumulative effect later in the game.
There were no body blows because Temple fell into the trap of playing UCF’s game, which is to run a track meet. This time, Armstead got 149 yards on 27 carries while hobbled in an empty backfield, and you’ve got to wonder what he would have done if he had a caravan of blockers (H-backs, fullbacks and tight ends) in addition to offensive linemen. My strong hunch is that this Temple team would have fared much better on the scoreboard playing the 2016 version of Temple TUFF offensive football. That version chewed up clock with running plays, kept the sticks moving with play-action, and helped the defense stay fresh.
This version gave the ball to UCF and way too many snaps to Milton and did not help the Owl defense at all. It was a dark night for the tuckered Darkside Defense.
Statistics pretty much favored Temple except in the area of penalties where the Owls racked up 15 penalties for 149 yards, some undeserved, but most deserved. Matt Rhule would have gone ballistic if the 2016 Ventell Bryant spun the ball after catching it, but Geoff Collins had a few words with Ventell after he drew a 15-yard penalty for it. Ventell did the same thing after catching a touchdown pass in the end zone, but the same refs who saw fit to penalize him the first time overlooked it the second (probably because he did not do it in front of a UCF player).
Don’t know what Temple was thinking when it drew up a game plan to get in a track meet with track athletes but, last night, statistics were for losers. I would trade all of those school records for a reversal of the scoreboard in a heartbeat.
It was a valiant effort against a great team with a lot of nice stats but the only stat that matters is 52-40.
It is the only one that ever does.
Sunday: Fizzy’s Corner
Monday: The Bright Side