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Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

Owls try to go to 11

Posted by Eric Fisher On December - 26 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Temple is entering uncharted territory Tuesday (3:30 p.m.) when it squares off with Wake Forest in the Military Bowl. Although the Owls have been eligible to play in bowls in six of the past eight seasons, this will be the first time in program history that they have gone to bowls in consecutive years.

A victory Tuesday would also take Temple into new territory. The Owls (10-3 overall, 7-1 American Athletic Conference), who have won seven straight games, have reached double digits in wins in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history, but they have never won 11 games in a season. A win Tuesday would achieve that mark.

Another new experience for the 23rd-ranked Owls is Tuesday will be their first game without Matt Rhule, their head coach during the past four seasons. Rhule left to become head coach at Baylor. Interim head coach Ed Foley will guide the team Tuesday.

One element of Tuesday’s game that isn’t new is the site. The game is Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, the site of Temple’s 34-10 shellacking of Navy in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game.

Despite the Owls’ unprecedented accomplishments the past two seasons, they still have something to prove. They lost last year’s bowl game, a 32-17 defeat at the hands of Toledo.  A win over an ACC team, even a mediocre one like Wake Forest, would be considered an important achievement for Temple.

Seniors such as quarterback Phillip Walker and running back Jahad Thomas want to end their career on a winning note. The Owls also boast a veteran offensive line, including first-team All-AAC lineman Dion Dawkins. That offensive line, along with running backs Ryquell Armstead and Thomas, is a major reason the Owls are in the nation’s top 10 in time of possession.

The other half of the time of possession equation is the Owls’ outstanding defense. Despite losing cornerback Tavon Young, linebacker Tyler Matakevich and defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis to the NFL, Temple’s defense remains a top-notch unit. Temple ranks third in yards allowed (275.9) and eighth in points allowed (17.2) per game. Senior defensive lineman Haason Reddick earned first-team All-AAC honors. Senior defensive lineman Praise Martin-Oguike, senior linebacker Avery Williams and junior safety Sean Chandler were named to the second team.

Wake Forest is 6-6, but has slumped after a 4-0 start. On the other hand, three of Wake’s losses have come on the road against powerhouses Clemson, Florida State and Louisville.

Prediction: Temple hasn’t played the same level of competition as the Demon Deacons, but bowl games often come down to motivation. Wake Forest gains nothing by beating Temple. The Owls have plenty of incentive to beat Wake Forest. They lost in a bowl game last year, they want to beat a team from a power conference, and they may want to prove they can win without Rhule. Temple 31, Wake Forest 23


Golden Rhule

Posted by Eric Fisher On December - 6 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

It was a wonderful few days for Temple. On Saturday the Owls dominated Navy to win the American Athletic Conference championship, its first league title since 1967. On Sunday the Owls moved into the Top 25, joining the rankings at No. 23, and found out they were going to the Military Bowl to face Wake Forest on Dec. 27.

The bad news came Tuesday.

Head coach Matt Rhule, who guided Temple to double-digit wins in each of the past two seasons, is leaving to become Baylor’s head coach.

Rhule posted a 28-23 record at Temple, but that included a 20-7 record the past two seasons. The Owls were 2-10 his first season, and then improved to 6-6 in 2014.

In leaving for Baylor, Rhule follows the same path he saw Al Golden and Steve Addazio take during his 10 years with the Owls. Golden left Temple to go to Miami. Addazio left to go to Boston College.

Tight ends coach Ed Foley will coach Temple in the Military Bowl.

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