Owls Dominated On National Stage, Still Finding Identity

A 43-7 loss to the USF Bulls sets Temple back to 2-2 heading into week 5, and this was certainly not the way the unit wanted to open up conference play. The best thing about this game for the Owls was that time expired.

QB Logan Marchi entered the game without one interception, that quickly ended when he threw one in each of the first three quarters. Absolutely nothing doing for Marchi, as he simply couldn’t get it going tonight passing for only 32 yards going 3-13 with 3 INT’s. His two rushing attempts were even more unsuccessful resulting in a total loss of 24 yards. He was also sacked twice.

Logan Marchi came into the game leading the AAC in pass yards. // Credit: Tampabay.com

Kyle Gauss from OwlScoop noted Marchi’s -2.4 passer rating is the worst by a Temple QB with at least 10 pass attempts in the last 18 years.

So, in came junior QB Frank Nutile who was able to gain some garbage time yardage passing 4-12 for 57 yards and 1 INT. Nutile also contributed to the negative run game with 3 carries for -7 yards. Also getting some time under center was freshman QB Todd Centio, although he did not attempt a pass, Centio rushed twice for -12 yards and was sacked twice.

Yes, there was some rushers who gained positive yards in tonight’s affair. Majority coming from junior FB Rob Ritrovato (5 carries for 24 yards), and junior RB David Hood (5 carries for 13 yards). The starting backfield had little to no impact on the run game tonight with RB Ryquell Armstead carrying 11 times for 3 yards and FB Nick Sharga carrying twice for 2 yards.

Even with the positive yards from the backfield, it wasn’t enough to keep the rushing numbers positive, totaling out to -4 rushing yards on the night.

Given the lack of consistency at QB, the receiving core as a whole totaled 7 receptions for 89 yards. A big chunk of that coming from this week’s No. 1 Adonis Jennings, who caught 2 passes for 33 yards. The only other receiver with more than one catch was junior Ventell Bryant (2 catches, 13 yards). Also catching passes were sophomores Randle Jones (1-17), Isaiah Wright (1-14) and freshman Freddie Johnson (1-12).

The only score for the Owls came on a Jacob Martin strip sack return for a touchdown at the end of the first half that brought the score to 20-7. There was life heading into the locker room. However, Temple’s offense simply could not get going, posting just 85 total yards, opposed to USF’s 408 total yards coming from a multitude of places, starting with their senior QB Quinton Flowers.

Temple’s woes on offense took a lot of pressure off what many believe to be the best athlete in the conference. // Credit: NY Daily News

Temple’s defense was able to slow Flowers down for the most part and contain him from having an extraordinary game, though his numbers were still impressive. Flowers went 8-20 passing for 96 yards, 0 TD’s, and 0 INT’s, though he rushed 16 times for 59 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the sidelines, you could tell Flowers was not pleased with his game due to his poor passing.

Doing the most damage were the Bulls two big senior RB’s Darius Tice (15-117, 2 TD’s) and D’Ernest Johnson (24-106). Tice’s longest carry of the day came on the opening play of the second quarter on a 47 yard touchdown run for the game’s first touchdown.

The Owls secondary did a good job on shutting down the Bull’s receivers only allowing a total of 8 receptions for 96 yards. Most of that number coming from seniors D’Ernest Johnson (2-29), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (2-26) and junior Tyre McCants (2-29).

The Owls defense did all they could to stop this high powered offense, sophomore LB Chapelle Russell had 13 total tackles including 9 solo, and 1.5 for loss. Every time they would get off the field, it seemed as though they were right back on it. It wasn’t until about 2 minutes to go in the first half, when senior defensive lineman Jacob Martin gave the Owls some life when he strip sacked Quinton Flowers and took the fumble 44 yards to the endzone to make it a 20-7 game going into halftime. Though that would be it for the visiting Owls.

Turnovers hurt Temple badly tonight, 6 turnovers led to 19 points for the opposition. Four interceptions, and two fumbles lost, to compare to USF’s 2 fumbles lost. 

It’s back to the drawing board for Head Coach Geoff Collins as he tries to salvage what he can from this loss. Next Saturday, the Owls will continue their conference play against Houston at home in hopes of their first conference win and improve to 3-2.

Keep up with @TU_SportsDesk this week for more analysis on the game, and the coming week’s matchup.

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