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).
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.