SportsDesk Weekly Profile: Logan Marchi

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One of the biggest questions coming into the 2017 season for the Temple Owls football program was “who’s going to lead the offense and take over the starting quarterback position?” For the past four years, Temple fans were used to seeing Phillip Walker under center.

After a long quarterback battle at summer camp, Logan Marchi stepped up and answered the question that everyone waited the entire off-season for an answer for. A redshirt sophomore, Marchi earned the nod at starting quarterback days before the opening game against Notre Dame. Last season, he was the number 2 quarterback on depth chart sitting behind Walker.

So far Marchi is off to solid start in his new role for the Owls. He has a 2-1 record as a starter, leads the AAC in passing yards with 767 yards to go along with 5 passing touchdowns. Not to mention he’s thrown 0 interceptions.

Marchi leads the AAC in passing, with 767 yards (Cred:// Zamani Feelings)

Born in Bristol, Conn, Marchi played quarterback at St. Paul Catholic high school in Bristol. In both his junior and senior years, he threw for 38 touchdowns. His senior year he threw for 3,220 yards. He was an ironman athlete in high school as he played both sides of the ball. He accumulated 38 tackles and 4 interceptions on defense. A two-star pro-style quarterback coming out of high school, Marchi received offers from Temple University and his hometown school, University of Connecticut. Marchi committed to Temple as part of the 2015 recruiting class.

As the 2017 season goes on, Marchi is showing signs of improvement in the new offense as the starting quarterback and showing growth as a leader. The Owls have a young offensive core and with Marchi as the starting quarterback leading the charge, the future’s very bright for Temple.

Even with the impressive stats through the first three weeks of the season, Marchi knows he still has room to improve.

“For me, just staying consistent, can’t have one big play and then a couple bad plays,” said Marchi after practice on Tuesday. “Converting on third downs, and scoring in the red zone is  probably on two biggest things right now that we gotta work on offensively.”

Marchi received AAC Weekly Honor Roll for his efforts against UMass, after throwing for 248 yards and three touchdowns. Marchi, a first year starter, has impressed his first year head coach Geoff Collins to this point in the season.

“The way he studies film, the way he takes every advantage vs. the scout team. I’ve been really proud of him.”

Marchi has already etched his name into the Temple record books, as he has thrown for the most yards in Temple history of any quarterback in their first three career starts.

One aspect of his game that was missing until the UMass game was Marchi’s ability to run the ball. He showed glimpses of his running ability against the minutemen, but will look to get more opportunities on the ground to keep the defense honest.

“He was banged up early in camp,” said offensive Coordinator Dave Patenaude. “He ran the ball pretty well the other night. In the plays where he had a read, as part of it, he was 100%.”

True Freshman Todd Centeio made his Temple debut against UMass, but according to Patenaude, it’s of no fault to Marchi. He alluded to the fact that Marchi is playing at an all league level as to why fans should not expect a quarterback change in the near future, even with the talent the Owls have at the position.

Marchi will look to use his legs as the season progresses to keep the defense honest (Cred:// Zamani Feelings)

With all the confidence surrounding Marchi coming from the locker room, and the coaching staff, the team will look to compete against USF Tomorrow night. The key for Marchi, is starting fast, and staying on the field.

“Trying to stay on the field, for the defense, to get them some rest, is key this week,” said Marchi. “It’s definitely something we’re trying to do. Go out, start early, have a good first series, and put the ball in the endzone.”

The Owls enter as a 19.5 point underdog a year after beating the Bulls at home 46-30. The play of Marchi will be key if the Owls want to keep pace in the division, and return to their third straight AAC championship appearance.

Owls Pull Out Victory In Final Minute Vs. Villanova

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Aaron Boumehri drilled a 49 yard field goal with a minute remaining to give the Owls a 16-13 lead over Villanova, which would hold up to be the final from Lincoln Financial Field.

For the second straight week the Owls failed to score 20 points, scoring just 16 against a Villanova defense that allowed 35 points to Lehigh a week ago. A year ago, the Owls scored 51 points in their first two games, including a 38 spot in week two against Stony Brook.

The second career start for Logan Marchi was much like the first, as the redshirt sophomore 20 of his 34 pass attempts, for 274 yards. He did not turn the ball over for the second straight week, showing his poise under center that is rare to find in a young quarterback.

Marchi did not turn the ball over for the second week in a row.

“Ball security means job security,” said Head Coach Geoff Collins following Saturday’s game. “Anybody that turns the ball over on offense isn’t gonna play.”

In a relatively slow paced first half, the Owls took a 10-0 lead heading into halftime over in state rival Villanova.

Marchi came out slinging early in the game, throwing for 193 yards in the opening 30 minutes of play. The majority of his passing yardage came on the final drive before the end of the half, as he found three different receivers for 62 yards down to the one yard line, setting up a one yard touchdown run by fullback Nick Sharga with one second remaining in the opening half. The last second touchdown would turn out to be the only Temple touchdown on the afternoon.

The offenses went back and forth in the first quarter without scoring until the 1:13 mark, when Austin Jones connected on a 22-yard field goal to open the scoring.

Villanova had the majority of possession in the quarter, while the Owls outgained the Wildcats 121 to 82 in the opening quarter.

It was more of the same as the second quarter opened, as the offenses traded missed field goals, keeping the score knotted at 3-0. The Owls defense, a week after allowing 28 points in the first half, held Villanova scoreless, and just 129 yards of total offense.

The Wildcats took over in the second half. After a 44 yard Aaron Boumehri field goal to make it a 13-0 game, the Wildcats scored 13 unanswered points to tie the game with 3:29 to go. Villanova quarterback Zach Bednarczyk found open receivers early and often in the second half, as he threw for an impressive 382 yards on the night, and one touchdown.

The Wildcats capitalized on two field goals, and a 10 yard touchdown pass to Taurus Phillips, who was tied for the team lead in receptions with six in the game.

The Temple offense woke up following 34 yard game tying field goal by Villanova, driving the ball down the field in just 2:23, and squeeze just inside field goal range for Boumehri to put them in front.

The spark of the drive was a 29 yard pass to Ventell Bryant, who made a spectacular one handed catch along the sideline while being interfered with, to put the Owls into Villanova territory. Temple was also aided by a defensive holding call when Marchi tried to find Adonis Jennings down the field. Bryant would finish the game as the Owl’s leading receiver, with seven catches for 79 yards in his first action of the season.

For the second straight week the Temple rushing offense was unimpressive, totaling just 79 yards on the ground as a team. Starting running back Ryquell Armstead mustered just 19 yards on 12 carries. No Owl had more than 30 rushing yards on the night.

The Owl’s defense allowed just 20 yards on the ground against Villanova, 400 less than week one.

Defensively for Temple, Chappelle Russell was all over the field, collecting 10 total tackles on the night, including a big five yard tackle for loss to help push keep Villanova from driving the ball down the field. Redshirt Sophomore linebacker Dana Levine followed up the play with a quarterback hurry to force an intentional grounding penalty. The Wildcats were able to convert on a field goal later in the drive.

As a unit, the Owls held Villanova to just 20 yards of rushing, compared to allowing 422 against Notre Dame. The front seven came to play, as the Temple defense was looking to make a statement, especially in the run game.

Other notable performances on defense were safeties Delvon Randall and Sean Chandler, each totaled eight tackles on the afternoon. Shaun Bradley also made an impact with seven total tackles, two tackles for loss, and a sack in the week two game. Perhaps the biggest play of the game was a pass breakup by Dan Archibong, to help keep Villanova out of the end zone, and force a field goal, which led to the Owls game winning drive.

Temple has little time to celebrate, as the Owls have a short week, and will take on UMass friday night at the linc. They will look to pick up their second win of the season, and second under Geoff Collins against the minutemen.

SportsDesk Preview: Villanova vs. Temple

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A week after a 49-16 loss at the hands of Notre Dame in Geoff Collins head coaching debut, Temple welcomes in FCS opponent, and city rival Villanova in week two.

The matchup is the first between the two teams since week one 2012, when the Owls overpowered the Wildcats 41-10. This is the first meeting between the two schools in which both teams will enter with a first year head coach. The all time series between Villanova and Temple stands at 15-15-2, with both teams looking to take the advantage heading into Saturday at the Linc.

Matchups

The Temple offense enters week two with some security at the quarterback position with Logan Marchi. Although the offense only scored 16 points against Notre Dame, Marchi quietly put together a solid day under center.

The redshirt sophomore threw for 245 yards on the day, and two touchdowns in his first career start. He just missed on what would have been a sure touchdown to a wide open Kenny Yeboah, who had it go just off his fingertips through the back of the end zone. Marchi completed 19 of his 35 pass attempts, for a completion rating of 54%. The most important stat of the day for Marchi was zero turnovers, which is impressive in itself for a quarterback starting his first career game, at Notre Dame. Even with no turnovers, Marchi was critical of his game against the Irish.

Marchi was sacked three times against Notre Dame.
Cred:// csnphilly.com

“I missed a lot of throws, a couple reads here and there,” said Marchi. “I gotta hone in on it and correct it going into this week.”

Returning this week is number one wide receiver Ventell Bryant, who missed the opener against Notre Dame with an injury. Bryant was the Owl’s top receiver a year ago, when he had just under 900 yards receiving, and four touchdowns, after missing three games early in the season.

In the absence of Bryant, sophomore wide-out Isaiah Wright led the way for Temple with 79 yards receiving on four catches, an average of over 19 yards per catch.

“Isaiah’s a great guy,” said Marchi following tuesday’s practice. “Great player, he’s got great hands, and he’s got a good feel for the field. He’s a guy we like to target.”

Keith Kirkwood also put together a solid day against the fighting Irish, finishing with 60 yards receiving, and one touchdown. Ryqeull Armstead will look to lead the run game against Villanova, after rushing for 67 yards against the fighting Irish.

As for the Wildcats defensively, they enter a week after a 38-35 victory over Lehigh, for their first win of the season. One Wildcat playerTemple has been focusing on is preseason All-American, and captain Rob Rolle.

The senior defensive back started all 13 games for Villanova a season ago, and totaled 63 tackles, per Villanova.com. He also led the FCS with seven interceptions on the season, with two touchdowns, and a fumble recovery. The Owls will definitely gameplan for Rolle come saturday afternoon.

“They got a great secondary,” said Marchi. “An all-conference guy [Rolle]. It’s gonna be a tough game.”

Rolle was named a pre season All American by Athlon Sports cred:// vuhoops.com

 “The safety they have, he’s a really good player,” said head coach Geoff Collins in his press conference on Tuesday. “I think their whole secondary is really good.”

The Wildcats defense gave up just 15 points per game a year ago, and will look to their secondary to help them slow down the Owls, and their talented wide receiving corps.

On the other side of the ball, Temple enters looking to prove itself after being routed by the Notre Dame offense in week one. The Owls allowed over 600 yards of total offense against the Irish, 422 of which came on the ground. That is thanks in large part to the Notre Dame offensive line and Josh Adams, but there is definite room for improvement for the Temple defensive unit. Sophomore linebacker Shaun Bradley wants to make a statement against the Wildcats.

“I definitely think we need to bounce back from last week,” said Bradley. “We’re gonna give it everything we’ve got this week, no matter what.”

Bradley tied for second on the team with seven total tackles against Notre Dame, he had a quarterback hurry on the afternoon. Bradley is one of the more experienced linebackers on this years unit, having a lot of work on special teams a year ago. He, along with the rest of the defensive unit are looking for a bounce back week against Villanova.

The defensive line is also looking to rebound after last week’s loss, and will do so with a new number along the front. Defensive tackle Michael Dogbe was awarded the number one for his efforts against Notre Dame, and will wear a single digit number for the first time in his Temple career.

Many believe if there was a runner-up for the #1 jersey this week, it would be Isaiah Wright for his week 1 performance. Expect the sophomore to compete for that jersey for weeks to come. // Credit: Don Otto

“Michael Dogbe I thought was a hero on saturday. He was supposed to play zero plays,” said Collins. “Dogbe played over half the snaps in a game when he was supposed to play zero. For that honor, he is going to wear number one this week.”

As for the secondary, the unit held Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush to just 184 yards passing, and are confident heading into week two behind a strong performance from newcomer Mike Jones, who totaled four tackles, and an interception last week.

“I’m always confident in my guys, I’ll take my guys over anyone,” said safety Delvon Randall. “We still have things to clean up, we’re gonna come in, watch film, get it cleaned up, and try and go 1-0 for the week.”

The Owls will face another dual threat quarterback against Villanova. Junior quarterback Zach Bednarczyk had strong performance to start the season against Lehigh. Bednarczyk threw for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week, and scored a touchdown on the ground as well. The Temple defense, who allowed over 100 yards on the ground to Wimbush last week, will look to container the dual threat quarterback in week two.

The Owls will look to keep pace in the American Conference, and secure Geoff Collins’ first career victory against the number six ranked FCS team in Villanova.

Follow @TU_SportsDesk for all gameday coverage.

Temple vs. Notre Dame: Position by Position Matchup

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Temple travels to South Bend Saturday to take on the fighting Irish for the first time since its four point loss in Philadelphia on Halloween in 2015. Although college gameday won’t be making the trip to Indiana for the game, the September 2nd showdown is still an important game for both teams. Here’s look at both teams, position by position, with an evaluation of which team has the edge going into the opening game.

Quarterbacks- Notre Dame

The 6-2 228 lb. QB will make his first career start against Temple // (Credit: ndinsider.com)

Starting off with the most important position for any football team, the quarterback. Both teams enter the season with some uncertainty under center, as both saw their starting quarterback of a year ago leave for the NFL; ex-Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer is now with the Cleveland Browns, and former Owl Phillip Walker is currently a member of the Indianapolis Colts.

Starting with the visiting Owls, all four quarterbacks have been battling it out for the starting position since spring ball began. The candidates for the spot are freshman Todd Centeio, redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi, redshirt junior Frank Nutile, and redshirt freshman Anthony Russo.

Centeio is the dual threat that can come in and pick up where Walker left off. Like Walker, Centeio can get it done with his legs, as well as his arm, which will keep the defense honest, and open the door for the read option, as well as run pass options. Centeio was ranked as the 12th best starting quarterback in the American Athletic Conference in a usatoday article by Paul Myerberg. “There are four contenders for the starting job,” wrote Myerberg “But Centeio has the legs and mentality to separate himself from the pack.”

Next on the list of potential candidates is Logan Marchi. Marchi battled with Nutile to become the backup to Phillip Walker for his redshirt freshman season. He saw brief game action early in the season against Stony Brook, and Charlotte, when he picked up his first, and only completions of the season, and his career to this point. Marchi threw a total of 112 touchdown passes, and rushed for 12 more in his high school career according to Owl Sports, showing he can also get it done with his feet if he needs too.

Nutile backed up Phillip Walker in the 2015 season, and threw his only touchdown pass against Charlotte. He also saw action against Stony Brook, and Charlotte in 2016, along with Marchi. A three star prospect coming out of high school, Nutile was ranked as the 28th best player in New Jersey, according to Owl Sports. He had offers from other AAC schools in Cincinnati, and UCF, before choosing Temple.

The final candidate for the starting job is highly touted prospect Anthony Russo, out of Archbishop Wood. The redshirt freshman originally committed to play at Rutgers, and received looks from LSU and Les Miles before finally choosing Temple. The 6-4 228 lb. quarterback was first team all-state at Archbishop Wood, where he helped lead the Vikings to back-to-back state championships in 2013, and 2014. Russo has the best arm of the four, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top, and leads the Owls against Notre Dame.

As for the Irish, the job of starting quarterback has been taken by junior Brandon Wimbush. The 6-2 228 lb. quarterback has little game experience, like the candidates for Temple, but has been on the team since 2015. Wimbush was a first team pick by MaxPreps his senior year of high school, and was ranked as the number two dual threat quarterback in the nation by rivals. He threw for over 3,100 yards in his senior season at St. Peter’s Prep in New Jersey, where he completed the most passes of anyone in the state. Wimbush will look to take the Irish back to a bowl game after missing out a year ago.

Running Backs- Temple

The running back position is where the Owls should have an edge against the Fighting Irish. After the graduation of Jahad Thomas, the newest member of the New York Jets after his brief stint with the Dallas Cowboys, the Temple running back corps is as still as strong as ever- led by junior running back Ryquell Armstead. The 5-11 205 lb back is coming off a sophomore season in which he rushed for 919 yards and 14 touchdowns while sharing the starting position with Thomas. He averaged almost six yards a carry as a sophomore, and rushed for over 70 yards per game. Armstead is the newest single digit tough guy for the Owls, as he will wear the number seven of former standout, and first round pick of the Arizona Cardinals Haason Reddick.

The Owls also have good depth behind Armstead in running backs David Hood, and Jager Gardner. Both running backs have seen game action in the last two seasons behind Thomas and Armstead.

The Irish return their leading rusher from a year ago in Junior Running back Josh Adams. Adams rushed for 835 yards in 2015, and 933 yards in 2016, to go along with 11 touchdowns in that span. Adams will be the feature back again in 2017, behind an offensive line that returns four starters from a year ago. The Irish rushed for almost 2,000 yards as a team a season ago, and will look for the same productivity, if not more, to take the pressure off of a first year starting quarterback in Wimbush.

Wide Receivers- Temple

Keith Kirkwood will be a big target for a young quarterback in 2017 // Credit: Getty Images

Wide receiver should be another position of strength heading into next week for the Owls, with a handful of returning starters, and impact receivers returning for this season. Leading the group is redshirt junior Ventell Bryant, who was a dominant force in the second half of the season after missing the first couple games with injury. Bryant posted 895 yards receiving on the season on 54 receptions, and four touchdowns on the season, according to Owl Sports. He posted an impressive 81.4 receiving yards per game, and 16.6 yards per catch. Bryant will look to remain the team’s number one receiver once again in 2017.

Following closely behind Bryant is redshirt senior Keith Kirkwood, who became a high value target for Phillip Walker as the season went on. The 6-3 220lb wide-out had 648 receiving yards on the season, to go along with four touchdowns. Kirkwood became the first player to be awarded a single digit number under new head coach Geoff Collins, and he will dawn the number five, formerly of Jahad Thomas. Other returning impact receivers include Adonis Jennings, Brodrick Yancy, Marshall Elllick, and Isiah Wright, who all were involved in the offense a year ago, and will look to continue to make an impact.

Notre Dame also brings back their leading receiver from 2016 in Equanimeous St. Brown. The junior receiver had just under 1,000 receiving yards on the season, with 961 yards on 58 receptions, to go along with nine touchdowns, tops on the team. The Irish also return tight end Durham Smythe, who caught four touchdowns out of the tight end spot a season ago.

Offensive Line- Notre Dame

(Credit: und.com)

The offensive line of Notre Dame will be one of the major strengths of the team heading into the 2017 season. A unit that led the way for Josh Adams, and the running game for the Irish that rushed for 1,960 yards as a team, will return four starting offensive lineman from a season ago. Leading the way is Philadelphia native, and William Penn Charter grad Mike McGlinchey, who started every game at right tackle for the Irish a year ago. The 6-8 315 lb tackle led the way for an offensive line that was a finalist for the first Joe Moore award, given to the nation’s top offensive line unit.

Another key member of the offensive line for the Irish from 2016, and heading into 2017 is left guard Quenton Nelson. Nelson started all but one game a year ago at the left guard position, helped the rushing attack average over five yards a carry collectively, which ranked eighth best in the nation. The Irish also averaged 207.6 rushing yards per game, ranking top 30 in the nation in that category, thanks in no small part to the offensive line, and Josh Adams. Along with McGlinchey and Nelson, Notre Dame also brings back senior offensive lineman in Sam Mustipher, and Alex Bars. The Irish will look for the running game to take pressure off of Wimbush, and lead the offense in 2017.

The Owls also return key pieces along the offensive line from a season ago. Redshirt senior right tackle Leon Johnson leads the way for a unit that rushed for 2,466 yards in 2016, according to ESPN. Johnson started all fourteen games last season, including the AAC championship, and military bowl. Lining up to the left of Johnson will be another redshirt senior in right guard Adrian Sullivan. Like Johnson, Sullivan started all fourteen games at the right guard position in 2016, after only seeing action in two games his sophomore season. Rounding out the returning starters from 2016 is redshirt sophomore Jovahn Fair. He started all but one game at left guard, helping to lead the Owls to 31 rushing touchdowns on the season. Temple will also count on two newcomers to the offensive line in Matt Hennessey at center, and Cole Boozer at left tackle. Redshirt junior Jaelin Robinson should also see some time on the offensive line, after partly sharing some offensive line duties with Leon Johnson a season ago.

Defensive Line- Even

Credit: Philly.com

Temple will bring back a strong defensive line unit again in 2017, which will have to play well against Notre Dame’s offensive line on Saturday. Leading the way entering the 2017 season for the Owls is redshirt junior Michael Dogbe. The 6-3 280 lb tackle totaled 43 tackles a year ago after becoming the starter in week five. He totaled 5.0 tackles for loss in 2016, along with a forced fumble against UCONN.

Another impact player making a return is redshirt senior defensive end Sharif Finch. Finch was granted a medical redshirt after playing in just four games a season ago. He blocked a punt week one against army, adding to his already impressive total of five blocked punts in his career. For his career, Finch has scored two defensive touchdown, and nearly had a third in 2015, returning an interception to the one yard line against Penn State. He has totaled 89 tackles in his career, along with 13.5 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. He recently was awarded the number six, formerly of Stephaun Marshall, and will look to continue his knack of forcing turnovers, and getting to the quarterback.

Other key members of the defensive line entering 2017 for the Owls are Jacob Martin, Greg Webb, and Freddie Booth-Lloyd.

Adding to the theme of returning starters, Notre Dame will bring back two starting defensive lineman in Jerry Tillery, and Andrew Trumbetti. Tillery started twelve games a season ago, and Trumbetti started seven. Other players to watch along the defensive line for Notre Dame are seniors Jay Hayes, and Jonathan Bonner, alongside sophomore Julian Okwara.

Linebackers- Notre Dame

(Credit: chicagotribune.com)

The Owls will enter 2017 with a young, but fast group of linebackers. After losing starters Avery Bradley, Stephaun Marshall, and Jared Alwan, Temple will look to have the young linebacking corps pickup where they left off, helping lead a top 10 nationally ranked defense from a year ago.

One of the major pieces for the defense will be sophomore William Kwenkeu. The 6-1 225 lb linebacker played in all fourteen games a year ago, mostly on special teams. The maryland native registered fourteen total tackles on the season, one tackle for loss, and a fumble recovery. The Owls will look to Kwenkeu, who has experience in important games, to help lead a tough, run stopping defense.

Lining up next to Kwenkeu will be fellow sophomores Shaun Bradley, and Sam Franklin. Franklin also played all fourteen games alongside Kwenkeu as a key member of the special teams unit. The Owls will look for his success to translate from special teams to success as a starting linebacker. Bradley has some experience at linebacker, as he received reps last season. The 6-1 225 lb linebacker totaled six tackles in eleven games in 2016, along with one forced fumble. Other players to watch at linebacker are Jared Folks, and Chapelle Russell.

The Irish bring back a couple of seasoned started in the linebacking group that will take the field on September 2nd. Senior Nyles Morgan will look to lead a strong defense entering the season, as he totaled 88 tackles a season ago, along with 6.0 tackles for loss, and 4.0 sacks. Coming out of high school Morgan was ranked as the 34th best player in the nation by scout.com, and has lived up to the expectations. For his career, Morgan has totaled 152 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. The senior will look to continue his dominance on the field in his final year for Notre Dame.

Returning alongside Morgan is junior linebacker Te’von Coney, who started eight games a WLB a season ago. Coney totaled 61 tackles in 2016, including 10 total tackles against Virginia Tech. He also picked up 1.5 tackles for loss on the season. Notre Dame will look to these two returning starters to lead the defense in 2017.

Secondary- Temple

Delvon Randall with one of his four interceptions in 2016

The Temple secondary is arguable the best unit on the team, and most likely the American Conference. It boasts a dominant safety duo in Sean Chandler and Delvon Randall, two single digits poised to lead the secondary in 2017. Beginning with Chandler, who made the transition from cornerback to safety in 2016, did not skip a beat in the defense. In a season where he missed four games early in the season, Chandler 51 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 3 pasess defended, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

Lining up beside Chandler will be Delvon Randall, the newest player to wear the number two in cherry and white. The junior safety emerged as the starter coming out of camp, and did not look back. He registered 65 tackles out of the strong safety position, to go along with 6.0 tackles for loss, and nine passes defended. He was also a turnover machine in 2016, with 4 interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. The Owls will look to the safety tandem to force turnovers, and make plays in the run game throughout the season.

The cornerbacks will also be a strength for the team entering the season. Artrel Foster, the newest single digit returns, and incoming transfer Mike Jones will look to make an impact in his first season with the Owls. The Temple secondary was ranked as the best secondary unit in the AAC by USAtoday’s Paul Myerberg. With the help of a good run defense, the group will look to once again be a top notch secondary unit in 2017.

The Irish also bring back two starting safeties in Drue Tranquill and Devin Studstill. Cornerback Julian Love also returns to South Bend as a sophomore starting at the cornerback position. A year ago the Irish secondary allowed under 200 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks, and will look for more of the same this season.

Special Teams- Temple

(Credit: gettyimages)

The Owls will have an advantage in the special teams game whether they start kicker Aaron Boumerhi, or Austin Jones. Jones, a senior, had a strong start to the season before injuring his knee against Memphis, knocking him out for the remainder of the season. Enter Boumerhi, who subsequently hit 15 of 17 field goals on the season, with a long of 48 yards. The punt game should also be a strength for the Owls with the return of Alex Starzyk, who will compete with freshman Connor Bowler for the starting tight end position. DE Sharif Finch also leads the nation in career blocked punts 

Notre Dame enters as a -17 favorite on September 2nd, and will look for the offensive and defensive lines to lead them in the opener of the 2017 season. Temple will rely on its secondary, and wide receivers to make plays and take pressure off whichever first year quarterback gets the start next Saturday.

Follow @TU_SportsDesk for all gameday coverage

O’Connor Irish Update: Notre Dame at a Glance

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After a disappointing 2016 season which resulted in a 4-8 record, Notre Dame will be looking for a bounce back season beginning on September 2nd, against Temple.

Amid the uncertainty surrounding the Fighting Irish in the offseason, the team made the choice to bring back Brian Kelly in what will be his eighth season as head coach of Notre Dame. Kelly has had success with the program, posing a 59-31 record as head coach, which includes a 2013 national championship appearance. Kelly will look to provide stability to the Fighting Irish this season.

Perhaps the biggest position to be filled for Notre Dame is quarterback. The Fighting Irish will enter the season having seen DeShone Kizer taken 52nd overall in the NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns. Kizer threw for almost 6,000 yards in his Notre Dame career, to go along with 47 touchdowns, and only 19 interceptions in his two seasons as the starting quarterback.

Enter Brandon Wimbush, the 6-2, 228 lb. junior who will take over as the Irish starting quarterback in 2017. Wimbush was rated as a four star recruit coming out of high school by 247sports, and had offers from Penn State, Ohio State, and Alabama among other teams before committing to Notre Dame.

Wimbush has played in just two games in his career with the Fighting Irish, both in 2015 as a freshman against Umass, and Pittsburgh. Wimbush completed the most passes of any quarterback in the state of New Jersey in his senior season, with 192 completions. He threw for 3,187 yards as a senior, with 37 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. Wimbush will look to continue to lead a passing offense that ranked in the top 50 in the nation in 2016.

    The 6-2 228 lb. QB will make his first career start against Temple (Cred:// ndinsider.com)

Something that will help take the pressure off of a first time starting quarterback is the return of fifteen starters from last season. The Fighting Irish will bring back offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, Sam Mustipher, and Alex Bars. Each started all twelve games a season ago, according to NBC Sports. The return of four starting offensive lineman will certainly help a first year starter having veteran leadership along the offensive line.

Along with the four offensive lineman, Notre Dame brings running back Josh Adams, and  wide receivers C.J. Sanders, as well as Equanimeous St. Brown, and tight end Durham Smythe, per NBC Sports. Adams rushed for 933 yards in the 2016 season along with five touchdowns, which followed a 2015 season of over 800 yards rushing. As for the receivers. Equanimeous St. Brown posted 961 yards receiving in 2016, the most on the team, and nine touchdowns, which was also the most of any receiver on the team. Sanders had 293 yards receiving, and two touchdowns on the season.

The Fighting Irish will also return a strong secondary in safeties Drue Tranquill, and Devin Studstill, along with cornerback Julian Love. They also bring back two linebackers in Nyles Morgan, and Te’von Coney, along with defensive lineman Jerry Tillery, and Andrew Trumbetti, according to NBC Sports.

Notre Dame will look to once again return to success by making a bowl appearance under first year starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush, and 15 returning starters from a season ago. It all gets underway on September 2nd, when the Owls travel to South Bend to take on Notre Dame, in a matchup of first year starting quarterbacks.

Temple Football 2018 Recruiting Update

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Wednesday was a big day on the recruiting trail for new head coach Geoff Collins and his staff. The day saw three separate 3-Star recruits commit to Temple, each becoming a member of the 2018 Temple recruiting class that has been gaining momentum ahead of Collins’ inaugural season.

Here is the breakdown of the three June 20th signees.

Trad Beatty, QB

The most notable commitment of the day was of one Trad Beatty. The 6-5 200lb southpaw quarterback out of Ben Lippen School in Columbia South Carolina becomes the first QB commitment of the 2018 Owls recruiting class.

Beatty is listed as a dual threat quarterback by 247sports, and is listed as a three star recruit. Beatty was an all-state selection in his junior season, and ran an impressive 4.62 40-yard dash, showing how he can do it with his legs, as well as his arm.

Beatty received offers from 16 other schools most notably from Mississippi State, and NC State. He also had offers from Western Kentucky, and Harvard.

After the graduation of Phillip Walker, the four year starter who could also make plays with his arm, as well as his feet, the Owls are in search of a new starting quarterback. Logan Marchi,  Anthony Russo, and Todd Centeio all factor to be in the race throughout the remainder of the offseason. Beatty will look to join the race when he arrives on North Broad Street for the 2018 season.

Kyle Dobbins, RB

The second offensive commitment of the day came in the form of Kyle Dobbins out of St. Augustine Preparatory School in Richland, New Jersey. The 5-10 188lb running back rushed for 1,282 yards in his junior season, along with 17 touchdowns, according to MaxPreps.

Those numbers come after a sophomore season in which he ran for 1,613 yards, for an impressive 161.3 yards per game, and 19 touchdowns, according to MaxPreps.

Including Temple, Dobbins had offers from eight schools, including Boston College, Army, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Rutgers, and Northwestern, according to 247sports.

Dobbins will join a stacked running back corps in 2018 even with the departure of record-breaking running back Jahad Thomas. The backfield includes former 4-star recruit

 Ryquell Armstead, who rushed for over 900 yards last season, David Hood, and Jager Gardner. Dobbins will look to compete from the start as a freshman, and earn meaningful snaps.

 

Jayde Pierre, DT

To round out the day Temple added a commitment from 2018 DT Jayde Pierre, out of Dominion in Sterling, Virginia. The 6-0 195lb defensive tackle had nine other offers including, Rutgers, Virginia, Arizona, and Purdue.

 Pierre becomes the first interior defensive line recruit of the 2018 class, under former Florida defensive coordinator, and now Temple Head Coach Geoff Collins.

Pierre will look to have an impact on a solid defensive line that helped propel the Owls to a top ten total defense ranking in 2016.

The Owls 2018 recruiting class now stands at 11 players. They include:

 

Name Position School State
Amir Gillis ATH Simon Gratz PA
Ronnie Stevenson WR Montour Pa
Daesean WInston OLB Arch Spalding MD
Elijah Clark CB Sayreville War M

emorial

NJ
Antonio Colclough WDE Cardinal Hayes NY
Chauncey Moore S Friendship Academy DC
Jean Paul Rodriguez OT Lakewood NJ

 

Christian Barmore OG Neumann Goretti PA

With the recent success of the program, including back to back bowl appearances, AAC championship game appearances, and the 2016 AAC championship victory, Temple is gaining momentum on the field, and on the recruiting trail.

 

 

Nate Hairston Goes 158th to the Colts

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Former Temple cornerback Nate Hairston was taken in the fifth round of the NFL draft on Saturday afternoon by the Indianapolis Colts. Hairston was selected with the 158th overall pick.

Hairston becomes the third Temple player to be taken in this year’s draft following Haason Reddick, who was taken 13th overall by the Arizona Cardinals, and Dion Dawkins, who was taken 63rd overall by the Buffalo Bills.

With three players taken in the past three days, Temple ties its school record for most players taken in one draft. It has happened six other times, most notably a year ago when Tavon Young, Matt Ioannidis, and Tyler Matakevich were taken by their respective teams.

(Cred:// philly.com)

Hairston started all 13 games for the Owls this season, collecting two interceptions, and three pass breakups throughout the season. He also racked up 25 tackles, to help lead the #3 pass defense in the nation.

In total, Hairston played 43 games in a Temple uniform, with his first two seasons taking place on the offensive side of the football, as a wide receiver. In his two seasons as a defensive back, Hairston collected two interceptions, including a key interception in Temple’s victory over Navy in the AAC championship. He also totaled 40 tackles in two seasons, to go along with three tackles for loss, and six passes defended.

Hairston joins an Indianapolis Colts defense ranked 26th by Pro Football Focus in 2016. Hairston will look to make an immediate impact with a Colts secondary that also ranked 26th in the league in opposing passing yards per game, according to ESPN. Hairston’s physical style of play will translate well against NFL receivers.

Delvon Randall: Temple’s Newest Tough Guy

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In the midst of a head coaching change, a coaching staff overhaul, and a new group of young freshmen coming in, one thing remains the same in this new era of Temple football; single digit “tough guys”.

(Cred://Zimbio.com)

Numbers 1-9 are not easily earned as a Temple football player, as the team votes for the nine toughest players on the team who will don a single digit jersey.

The tough guy tradition was something new head coach Geoff Collins emphasized early in his tenure at Temple. He had no plans on changing, or stopping the single digit tough guy tradition.

Wide-receiver Keith Kirkwood was the first to be awarded a single digit number under Collins. The redshirt-senior wide-receiver will don the number five, worn by former standout running back Jahad Thomas, who will hope to hear his name called in next week’s NFL draft.

As for the first new single digit number to be awarded on defense, Junior safety Delvon Randall will be the newest player to wear the number two, alongside safety partner Sean Chandler who dons the number three.

Randall won the starting safety job in offseason camp prior to his sophomore season, and didn’t look back. Randall was seemingly all over the field in his first season as a starter, racking up 81 total tackles, and six tackles for loss. He also grabbed six interceptions throughout the season, including a key interception of Trace McSorley in week three against Penn State; he also had two fumble recoveries on the season.

Randall was ranked third in the AAC with five his five takeaways this season, and was awarded the Defensive Production Player of the Week for his efforts in week 11, a 31-0 shutout against Tulane.

Wearing the number two doesn’t come without a little history, and some added pressure. Look no further than the last player to wear the jersey, Avery Williams. The former leader of the defense, and multi-year tough guy, was one of the top linebackers in the AAC as a senior, helping lead the Owls to their second AAC East championship in as many years, and first every AAC Championship victory.

(Cred://coachandplayer.com)

Williams was named Second Team All AAC in his senior season. He recorded 66 tackles in his senior season, to go along with nine tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and two sacks.

Another notable former player to wear number two is Tahir Whitehead. The former Temple standout, and current Detroit Lion played for the Owls from 2008-2011, where he helped lead the Owls to two winning seasons as a junior and season, and was also a Second Team All-MAC selection as a senior.

Other notables to don the number two include Anthoney Robey, and Andre Heblett. With the history and significance surrounding the single digits, and wearing the number two specifically, Randall will look to have another strong season at the safety positon. With a new defense, new coach, and a new defensive coordinator, Randall should thrive as a playmaking ball hawk in the new defensive scheme.

 

 

 

 

 

SMU Takes Down Temple 66-50

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25th ranked SMU took down Temple at the Liacouras Center by a final score of 66-50  for its seventh consecutive win, and 17th of its last 18th.

Mustang junior forward Semi Ojeleye led the way for 2nd ranked team in the AAC, with 30 points to go along with 10 rebounds. He also made 10-11 free throws on the night. Ojeleye was the leading scorer for SMU when they defeated Temple just over a month ago.

The Owls matched up well with SMU early in the first half, and were tied with the Mustangs after the second media timeout. SMU subsequently went on a 10-0 to take a 13 point lead at 28-13.

Temple’s offensive woes continued in the opening 20 minutes of play, shooting  just 24 percent from the field in the first half, and just 3-14 from beyond the arc.

SMU capitalized on 11 Temple first half turnovers, scoring 11 points on the other end. SMU also had nine turnovers, allowing seven Temple points off turnovers at the other end of the floor.

The Mustangs, who lead the AAC in three point percentage, shot just 1-7 from three in the first half, and just 32 percent from the field overall. Junior forward Semi Ojeleye led all scorers at the half with 13 points.

Temple managed to stay within single digits for most of the second half, cutting the lead to six with under eight minutes remaining in the game.

Shizz Alston led the Owls with 13 points.

SMU took from that point forward, closing out the game on a 15-5 run. Both teams finished the game with 16 turnovers apiece, and each team had 72 possessions. The game marked the 7th in a row with double digit turnovers for the Owls.

“We did not handle it well, it certainly hurt us in the first half,” said Fran Dunphy on the full court press of SMU.

Shizz Alston led the way for the Owls with 13 points, followed by Quinton Rose with 12, and Daniel Dingle with 10.

The Mustangs dominated the glass, with a 49-32 rebound advantage. SMU also collected 15 offensive rebounds on the night. Obi Enechionyia led the Owls with a 11 rebounds.

“We didn’t get to the glass enough, we could’ve done that better,” said Enechionyia.

Senior guard Sterling Brown was the only other Mustang in double figures besides Ojeleye on the night, followed by two more SMU players with nine points.

“I give Temple credit, I thought they defended very well, they made us uncomfortable at times,” said SMU coach Tim Jankovich.

The Owls held SMU to under 40 percent shooting from the field, and just 23 percent from beyond the arc. The Mustangs entered the game the leading team in the AAC in terms of three point percentage.

Temple has little layover time, as they travel to Tennessee on Sunday to take on the 18-7 Memphis Tigers, whom the Owls defeated 77-66 on January 25.

 

Dawkins, Reddick Shine at New Positions in Senior Bowl

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Just over a month ago Dion Dawkins and Haason Reddick were competing against Wake Forest in the Military Bowl in their last game at Temple. Today, the two former Temple standouts were showcasing their game for NFL teams in the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

Both Dawkins and Reddick played new positions in the senior bowl, with Dawkins moving from left tackle to left guard, and Reddick moving from defensive end, to inside linebacker.

Reddick tied for the North team lead with nine total tackles in the game, and was the starting inside linebacker for the team. Dawkins, who protected Phillip Walker’s blindside for three plus years at Temple, had success at left guard against some of the top defensive players in the country.

Dawkins drew praise from NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock in the final game of his collegiate career.

“Nice play by Dion Dawkins,” Mayock said after Dawkins made a kick out block on a run in the second half. “I think {Dawkins} has the capabilities to be a
starting guard in the NFL.”

The pair of 2016 AAC champions received high praise throughout the practice week.

Both players were recognized for their performance this week, as they were voted as the top practice players at their respective positions by NFL scouts.

Mayock continued his praise of former Temple players, naming Haason Reddick his star of the week.

“{Reddick} showed versability that people didn’t realize he had,” Mayock wrote in an article on NFL.com. “Reddick can be an inside linebacker in a 3-4, inside linebacker in a 4-3 and even line up occasionally as an edge rusher. He really helped himself this week.”

Along with Mayock, NFL.com writer Daniel Jeremiah praised Reddick for his performance leading up to the game.

“This was basically a flawless week for Temple ILB Haason Reddick,” Jeremiah wrote. “He made the most money of anyone here.”

With the 2017 NFL draft fast approaching, Dawkins and Reddick will both take part in the NFL combine beginning on February 28th. They will look to become 4th and 5th former owls to be selected in the draft since last season.