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.
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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.
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