About this time five months ago, new Temple head coach Stan Drayton gave tepid praise to incumbent quarterback starter D’Wan Mathis, saying this:
“We’re going to bring in some guys to compete with him.”
That was after the Cherry and White game. Nice game for Mathis, but nothing special.
True to his word, Drayton brought in those guys–Elijah Warner and former Virginia Tech starter Quincy Patterson–and, after a healthy competition, Mathis retained his job.
At least for the Duke opener.
Thursday, Mathis was named the starter for the Duke game one week from tonight and that can only mean one thing.
Mathis, a former Elite 11 four-star quarterback, rose to the occasion to beat out Patterson, a former Elite 11 four-star quarterback.
We’ve checked the game notes of the other 10 AAC teams and none of them have an Elite 11 quarterback.
Temple now has two.
Duke has none and that’s one reason why you’ve got to like Temple’s chances a week from now (7:30 p.m., ACC Network).
It’s not even fair to say Mathis showed flashes of his Elite 11 quality in the 2021 season.
He showed flash as in one, the Memphis game. If Mathis showed flashes, maybe the Owls steal a win or two in the other AAC games. It was a damn good flash (35-for-49, three touchdowns) but it was a one-and-done nonetheless.
We needed to see more and it’s an even better sign that Drayton needed to see more.
Now he has.
Maybe he’s a guy who needs a fire lit under him and, in Patterson, that’s a lot of lighter fluid.
Patterson went 7-0 as a North Dakota State starter last year and, except for Cincinnati, you can make a strong argument that North Dakota State would have beaten every other AAC team, including Houston and UCF.
He’s a nice insurance policy to have should Mathis falter.
So far, Mathis has shown no signs of faltering and that’s a good thing. This is the third-straight year that Mathis has won a starting job. He started for Georgia in the 2020 home opener and Temple in the 2021 opener at Rutgers, beating out another Elite 11 quarterback (Re’al Mitchell) for the honor.
Memphis was objectively a better team than Duke last year so is 35-for-49 and three touchdowns out of the question next week?
Certainly not and, if Mathis puts up those numbers again, the Owls are guaranteed to have a nice flight home.
Monday: All’s Quiet on The Southern Front
Friday: Temple-Duke Preview
Saturday: Duke Game Analysis