The Temple Owls opened up the season at home Friday with a 28-13 loss to the Army Black Knights.
What it means
The Owls open the season with a loss that will have to make them re-evaluate themselves. Although it is a nonconference game, the way that they lost tonight is a concern. Even though the team was facing a triple-option offense, at times the defense appeared to be physically dominated, especially in the middle of the defense. It is way too early to call next week’s game a must-win situation, but it will be important for the Owls to for the Owls to right the ship as soon as possible.
Down by 8 and 3:41 left to play in the game, the offense had a chance to tie the game. However, starting at their 26-yard line, Philip Walker was sacked. Then on the very next play, Walker threw an interception, leading to another Army touchdown.
Quote of the Night
An upset Head Coach Matt Rhule said the following during the postgame news conference:
“We will come back and we will be a very good football team. I’ve been begging some guys in there to step up and be leaders. They were so used to Tyler [Matakevich], and those guys do all the work. I went to ask them what was the deal with tonight. For the first time, the guys that needed to do it did it. Coaches can’t be cheerleaders. I need guys in that room are demanding other players to do things right and to stop listening to guys telling them how good they are. Army didn’t care how good we are. I hated this. I’m embarrassed by it. I feel terrible for the people who came to the game and saw us play so poorly.”
Player of the game
To run a successful triple-option offense attack, the fullback has to be able to gain tough yards up the middle. Army fullback Andy Davidson was able to do that Friday night. Davidson, the Allentown, PA native who was a linebacker last season, ran the ball 22 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
Army controlled the clock by sustaining drives and converting on third down. The Knights had an almost 11-minute advantage in the time of possession battle (35:48 to 24:12). Army also converted half of their third-down conversion (7 of 14).
Running back Jahad Thomas, a game-time decision with a hand injury, did not play. In his postgame news conference, Rhule said that Thomas would not play next week against Stony Brook and may not play against Penn State. Ryquell Armstrong came in and did an admirable job filling in for Thomas. Armstead finished with 16 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Temple will now focus their attention to FCS-level Stony Brook. The Seawolves opened up with a 13-9 win against North Dakota. The game will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field.