SportsDesk Weekly Profile: Sharif Finch

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Temple Athletics produced this graphic to spotlight Sharif Finch’s single digit honor during the off season. // Credit: Temple Athletics

As a player of the Temple University football team, one of the highest honors you can obtain is by earning a single digit jersey. Some of Temple football legends have worn single digits during their tenure at the school. Names such as Tyler Matakevich, Tavon Young and Haason Reddick. To wear a single digit at Temple means you represent what it means to be “Temple Tuff.” This year, Sharif Finch represented that at camp and earned himself a membership to the single digit club.

Finch is a 5th year senior, looking to make a huge impact during his last ride as an Owl. Started his collegiate career as a linebacker but converted into a defensive end his sophomore year as he showed blatant ability to get to the quarterback. In 2016, Finch battled chronic knee injuries that only allowed him to play in just four games. Due to the injures, he was granted a medical redshirt, giving him another year of eligibility of college football.

Finch spent his high school football days playing linebacker at Henrico High School located in Virginia. He led the team in every defensive category his junior and senior year. His junior year he racked up 161 tackles to go along with 10.5 sacks. As a senior, he got a total of 123 tackles and 7 sacks. Finch was a two-star inside linebacker in the 2013 recruiting class. He go to receive offers from several schools including Richmond, Old Dominion, Hampton, East Carolina, and Temple. Per Rivals.com, he committed to Temple on February 5, 2013.

Finch is the active NCAA leader in blocked punts in a career with 5. // Credit: Getty Images

Finch is a special play waiting to happen as he enters to the 2017 season as the NCAA active leader in blocked punts with five of them. In the opening game against Norte Dame, Finch was quiet with just 3 tackles but quickly made up for it the next week in the Owls home opener against Villanova. Finch recorded 6 tackles, and 2 tackles for loss of 8 yards’ total. He also recovered a late fumble that sealed the deal for Temple’s first victory in the Geoff Collins era. As the season goes on, when the Temple Owls go on defense, it’s a guarantee you’ll see number 6 flying around and wherever the ball is at, that’s where he’s usually at.

SportsDesk Spotlight Shines on TUWS Freshman, Emma Wilkins

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Coming into her freshman year, Emma Wilkins had a hard time adjusting to college soccer.

“It’s a drastic change from high school to college. You really have to be committed while here and you want to give it your all, even at practice. Having to manage your time wisely and taking care of your body more than usual is very important too because you’re playing more than you ever have before. It’s a lot more of a mental game as well. Coming in I wasn’t really confident in my game.”

Wilkins, a forward from Absegami High School in Galloway Township, NJ, was a high school standout, as she was named to Atlantic County’s First Team her junior and senior year. She played for Players Development Academy (PDA) United outside of high school and led that team in goals and won the NJ State Cup three times.

Her recruitment began around the middle of her junior year of high school and she was interested in coming to Temple right away. “Temple is very well known plus the campus is really nice and has a lot of improvements. We have a new locker room and a new facility but also it’s closer to my home than my other options were,” Wilkins said. “I’m familiar with Coach Seamus O’Connor and I know some of the other girls here. It was a much easier choice than the rest of my offers.”

Two of the girls that Dolan is familiar with are sisters Kelcie and Julia Dolan. Kelcie, a team captain and junior defender, and Julia, a freshman midfielder, attended Absegami with Wilkins. Having Julia come to Temple with her this year and being able to play with Kelcie again made it much easier for Wilkins to adjust to college. “It [playing together] has been a lot of fun. Everyone’s always said that me and Julia have a lot of chemistry together and I’m sure we’ll get to see that more as we get more comfortable. They’re both practically my sisters.”

The fifth game of the season is where Wilkins began to get into her groove. Wilkins has since adjusted and found her confidence. She put away two goals in The Owls matchup vs. Rider University, a comeback win for the Owls that also doubled as their first home win of the season. Moving along on September 3rd vs. Mount St. Mary’s, Wilkins added an assist to a 2-0 shutout win. She is currently tied for the team lead in points with five. Wilkins contributed her confidence boost to her teammates. “They believed in me before I really believed in myself. They may have not even known what I could do but they still knew that there was something in me,” she said, “They all really helped me out and putting and scoring those two goals really helped my game.”

While Wilkins’ contributions have helped the Owls in the last few games, she has attributed all of the late success to the team as a whole. Last year the team had a record of 3-16 and not even through at the halfway point of the season, the team has matched the win total from last year. She stated, “I’ve kept my confidence up and I just see how hard my teammates work and I don’t want to let them down,” Wilkins said, “We really want to do well in conference and to have a winning record in the end.”

Wilkins will look to keep up the pace as the season continues. Although the team is going to take it game-by-game, her main goal is to, “…score more goals and win more also. That’s my favorite part about the game.”

SportsDesk Practice Report: Notes And Interviews (9/12)

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Walking into Tuesday morning’s practice, you could feel the high intensity flying around the field. Who else but DB Cequan Jefferson and LB Chapelle Russell were dancing to a Future song blasting from the sound system on Chudnoff field. It’s a short week for the Owls as they take on UMass this Friday night. Coming off a victory this past Saturday to rival Villanova, Temple looks to improve upon their success, while still correcting the hiccups of a fairly slow start.

Chapelle Russell has emerged as a force on this defense after leading the team with 10 total tackles vs. Villanova. // Credit: Zamani Feelings

This week, the No. 1 jersey will be worn by senior DE Jullian Taylor. Ventell Bryant will stay at No. 19, and Michael Dogbe is back to his No. 98 for week 3.  Last season, Taylor had eight tackles in only three games before he suffered a season ending injury. This season he’s back in the defensive line rotation, and said he’s excited for the opportunity.

“It’s a dream come true, I’ve always wanted to wear a single digit number all five years. I’ve battled a lot of adversity, so just to wear it for a week, it’s the most exciting thing for me. I found out this morning in a team meeting, [Coach Collins] just announced it and I had the biggest smile on my face,”

Collins stressed to Taylor, and the rest of the team how important it is to keep their minds sharp during a short week. The team has just three full days of practice before their walkthrough, then gameday. The defense will look to continue their successful run stopping displayed against Villanova. After allowing 422 rushing yards in week 1 to Notre Dame, the front 7 bounced back in big way limiting the Wildcats to just 20 yards total on the ground.

The secondary will also look to shut down UMass’s two big receivers who so far are both top 20 in yards in Division 1 (read more in the preview Thursday). The Owls will look towards their corners Artrel Foster, Mike Jones and Derrek Thomas with the help of their new CB coach Cory Robinson to shut down the targets. 

Sean Chandler and the secondary are ready for battle in Week 3. // Credit: Zamani Feelings

Junior RB Ryquell Armstead was limited last week against Villanova due to some minor injuries. He hopes to get back on the field this week, and is ready to break out.

“I feel good, I feel amazing to be honest. I was a little banged up after week one but I feel great now so I’m ready for this week….I’ve got to go back to the drawing board in order to correct my mistakes, watch more film to prepare myself and just trusting my offensive line.”

Geoff Collins also noted his support of the fan presence in the home opener. “That was as good of a student body and as good of a band I have been around since I’ve been coaching. The energy was great and it gave our kids energy and life to go out there and play.”

As you can expect, Collins is treating this week like he would any other week.

“UMass is as tough as any opponent we’ll face. They have a lot of formations with different personnel that we have to make sure we prepare for. Their offense is not an easy one to prepare for so we made sure we made the right adjustments,” Collins said.

The game is set to kickoff Friday at 7PM at Lincoln Financial Field. It is being broadcasted on ESPNU and you can listen on 97.5 The Fanatic. Make sure you check back in to the SportsDesk for the postgame coverage.

 

Offensive Woes Need Answers Moving Forward

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Temple’s only offensive touchdown on Saturday came via a 1-yard Nick Sharga run. // Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Temple Owls football team earned their first win on Saturday, clawing their way to a 16-13 point victory over Villanova. For other teams this could be a positive, but not for Temple. Whenever an FCS unit takes on a recent top-25 football team, you should expect the latter to win by a large margin. Looking around the NCAA (especially so far this season) that isn’t always the case, but for Temple football fans, a bar has been set- and a lot more convincing needs to be done this season.

After 2 games, there are several problems with the Owls group. The biggest of their problems lie within the offense.

The first offensive struggle is with the run game. Ryquell Armstead is an above-average running back, but the offensive line is rendering him useless. The big guys up-front have been struggling to get an push off the line, and Armstead has gathered a mere 86 yards on 31 carries through the team’s first 2 games. That’s just 2.7 yards per carry for the returning 900-yard rusher. Just like years past, If the Owls intend on seriously contending, they will need the help of their running game.

Anther offensive struggle has been well documented since the spring game — the passing game. Logan Marchi won the Owls quarterback battle this offseason and hasn’t exactly played good, but he hasn’t been bad either.

In Marchi’s defense, as well as the offense as a whole, many have questioned the decision making in terms of play calls by new Offensive Coordinator Dave Patenaude. In addition, Marchi has yet to turn the ball over through his first two games under center (69 pass attempts).

Logan Marchi will look to take control of a productive offense this week vs. 0-3 UMass // Credit: USA Today Sports

However, he hasn’t necessarily made plays for the Owls. He’s made risky decisions that, luckily, have not come back to bite him. On top of that, he’s struggled to connect with several of his receivers. This was on full display last week when he missed a wide-open Brodrick Yancy early in the second half on Saturday. Marchi’s QBR ratings of 29.9 Week 1 and 66.6 Week 2 highlight his struggles to get on the same page as his receivers.

The unit has several crucial games in the near future where they need their offense to click on all cylinders. It may not be this Friday against a struggling UMass team who dropped all 3 of their games so far this season, but conference play opens with a bang at South Florida the following week.

Editor’s Note, Week of 9/11: Starting this week, a recap from Tuesday football practices will be brought to you by Brian Steinmetz. Our weekly profile (Wed.) from Chris Zeigler will look at DE Sharif Finch. Temple vs. UMass game preview on Thursday, kickoff from Lincoln Financial Field is Friday night (9/15) at 7 p.m.. Follow @TU_Sportsdesk on Twitter for updates all week.

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.

Men’s Soccer 2017 Season Preview

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Top Players

With the loss of Jorge Gomez Sanchez, the Owls leading scorer in 2016, the men’s soccer team is turning to Joonas Jokinen, Albert Moreno, Nick Sarver, and Zach Brown to make a real difference for the team. The Owls will also turn to the leadership of their four team captains, Mark Grasela, Alex Cagle, Hermann Doerner, and Brendon Creed to help mesh well with their young talent.

Courtesy OwlSports

Senior, Joonas Jokinen returns as Temple Men’s Soccer’s best player and looking to be their primary goal scorer, with Jorge Gomez Sanchez graduating. In the 2016-2017 season, Jokinen appeared in 14 games, while starting 12 of them. The Finnish native scored 3 goals while leading the team with 6 assists as well.//On defense, Mark Grasela will look to fill the void left by Carlos Moros Garcia and Matt Mahoney, who like Gomez Sanchez, have also gone pro. The Owls will also look for a strong showing again this season from Goalkeeper, Alex Cagle. Cagle was the best keeper in the greater Philadelphia area last season and was honored with the award of Goals Against Average leader at the annual Philadelphia Soccer Six banquet this spring. Cagle will play a key role in the Owls success this season.

Stats from previous season

The Temple Owls were lead in every category last season by Jorge Gomez Sanchez who was recently drafted to the MLS. Jorge Gomez Sanchez was the powerhouse player not only on Temple, but in the entire NCAA. In the 2016 season, the Owls were able to outscore opponents 23-15, and Temple was able to average 1.28 goals per game while competitors were only averaging 0.83 goals per game. The Owls were also able to outshoot opponents 297-151. They also had almost double the amount of assists that their competition had (20-11). Their strong defense shined through as well last year leaving their goalie with only 52 saves while their challengers had 93 saves. Temple also had an advantage over competition  last year with corner kicks and penalties having more than double the amount of corner kicks than their competitors and having less than half the amount of penalties than their competition. Without their star player, the Owls will be looking to other players to keep up the outstanding stats.

Courtesy OwlSports

Schedule Outlook

The Owls will play a total of 17 games this season, 7 of which are American Athletic Conference games. The men’s soccer team will try to redeem themselves against Rider University who they lost to last year 0-2. They will also play crosstown rival Drexel on October 3rd to try and compensate for their loss last year. The Owls also play Penn State University who is always good competition, but Temple did finish with a win against the Nittany Lions last year. Jorge Gomez Sanchez helped pave the way for this team’s success last year, so this season, the Owls will have to continue proving themselves and making a name for Temple men’s soccer in the American Athletic Conference.

SportsDesk Weekly Profile: Isaiah Wright

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4 receptions for 79 yards led the Owls in receiving in the season opener- which was 1 yard shy of top game receiver, Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown. // Credit: Getty Images

Sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Wright started the season hot, and is expected to make an explosive impact for the Temple Owls offense in their 2017 campaign. Wright possess raw natural talent and athleticism that makes him the ultimate dual threat on offense.

As a true freshman last season, Wright carried the ball 42 times racking up 232 yards to along with one rushing touchdown. He also caught 8 passes for 74 yards. As a kick returner, Wright returned 11 kickoffs for 278 yards.

Before Saturday, Wright was completing his senior season of high school football the last time Temple and Notre Dame met back on October 31, 2015. He was a two-way athlete, playing both sides of the ball at quarterback,  wide receiver and defensive back at Kingswood-Oxford high school in Hartford, Connecticut. He was a three-time conference honoree in high school.

To hear from Isaiah Wright during training camp, watch his Mic’d Up video from Temple Athletics. Disclaimer: Wright can land a front flip wearing full pads.

Isaiah Wright showed flashes of playmaking ability as a true freshman, now his workload will grow in year 2. // Credit: Philly.com

The Owls went into South Bend with a lot of confidence and high expectations as they had an excellent summer camp but unfortunately walked away with a loss. Wright snagged 4 catches for 79 yards in the season opener- and likely played more minutes due to Ventell Bryant’s lagging hamstring injury. In his chance to shine, he led the team in receiving yards and proved he can contribute to an offense in a big way. He’s already got a new career high in receiving yards for a season in just one game (74 rec. yards in 2016). Look out for number 13 in cherry and white this upcoming season as he looks to make an immediate impact on the field whenever his number is called.

Owls Offensive Line Set For Week 2 Rebound

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Last weekend the Temple Owls took on Notre Dame. Unfortunately, the Owls were no match for the Irish as they fell to the score of 49-16.

Credit: Indiana Sports Coverage

There were many parts of the Temple football units that seemed to contribute to their loss, but the offensive line noticeably struggled. Throughout the game, the fighting Irish was able to put constant pressure on quarterback Logan Marchi. Marchi was able to avoid some of the pressure, but was still sacked 3 times for a total loss of 20 yards. This constant pressure resulted in missed opportunities for the Owls’ offense — most notably the inability to fully capitalize on Mike Jones’ interception in the 3rd quarter.

Credit: CSN Philly

The offensive line’s struggles came to a head in the rushing game. Even with a proven running back in Ryquell Armstead, they were only able to muster 85 total rushing yards. Armstead accounted for 67 of those yards on 19 attempts averaging 3.5 yards per carry. The next highest rusher was Jager Garner with a mere 19 yards. The Owls’ line struggled to get an initial push at the line of scrimmage which resulting in this lack of production. The only Temple football player who was an effective blocker was Nick Sharga. Sharga routinely made good blocks setting up running lanes for Armstead.

Credit: WBZW

Temple should fare better against Villanova. Nova scarcely beat Lehigh 38-35 this past weekend. While the Wildcats played great against the run (78 yards allowed, 2.7 ypc), the team barely blitzed. This will result in less pressure on Marchi and allow him to play within the offense. It is important to note that Nova’s defense is built to produced without constant pressure on the quarterback. Instead they play within the system, put their “No Fly Zone” defensive backs on an island and putting a massive amount of trust in their linebacking core.

Expect the Owls to fix their mistakes against Villanova this Saturday at 3:30.

 

Men’s Soccer Fall Short in Overtime in Defensive Stalemate

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PHILADELPHIA- Temple Men’s Soccer fell to 1-2-1 after losing their second game of the season due to the overtime heroics of Rider’s, Clement Bourret, who scored by launching the ball over the Owl’s goalkeeper, Alex Cagle, in the 94th minute of the game.

The Owls played a very physical contest with the Broncs as there were a combined 20 fouls between the two teams, with a yellow card handed out on each side. There was a lot of chirping back and forth after hard fouls and oftentimes during the game, even with a hard foul, the referees let them play on without a whistle.

Temple marginally out played Rider in the first two halves, as the defensive back line shut down any Rider opportunity. Senior defenseman, Mark Grasela, played a huge role in preventing any scoring opportunities from arising. As well as midfielders, Brendon Creed and Divin Fula Luzolo, who both did their part to get back on defense and keep the game in hand.

With the defense stopping anything in sight, they made life easy for the Owls goalkeeper, Alex Cagle. With only two shots on goal and one of those being the only goal of the game, Cagle and the Owls did not have to bat an eye at any Rider opportunity during the first 90 minutes of the game.

With 12 shots and 6 of them on goal, the Owls looked bound to break the defensive stalemate. With 4 minutes left in the first half, Senior forward, Joonas Jokinen was all alone with the goalkeeper and produced a nice shot, which was saved by the Rider goalkeeper, David Pastuna, who had 6 saves of his own and made life impossible for any Owl trying to score.

Sophomore forward, Thibault Candia, manufactured 4 shots in total, with 2 of them being on goal. As the main source of Temple’s scoring opportunities, Candia looked bound to break the game open. 58 minutes into the game, he had a great scoring opportunity but was fouled hard outside the box, and there was no call from the referee, creating a lot of confusion.

Even though the Owls outplayed the Broncs, missed opportunities turned into an early overtime goal for Rider to spoil Temple’s home opener and hand the Owls their second loss of the season.

The Owls will look to rebound next Saturday night, as they take on St. John’s at Belson Stadium in Queens, New York.