In a 49-16 blowout loss, Temple football started the Geoff Collins era on the wrong foot, and Collins after the game admitted to reporters he “coached like a rookie at times” in the season opener. Notre Dame proved to be heavily overbearing for the Owls, and the matchup discussed in the SportsDesk pregame report of Temple’s young linebackers against the Irish’s stout offensive line, was the story on Saturday.
Just 33 seconds into the game HB Josh Adams crossed the pylons on Notre Dame’s second play from scrimmage. Brandon Wimbush connected with Equanimeous St. Brown for 37 yards on the play before, and the 70-yard drive set the tone for an afternoon where the Irish outgained Temple 606 to 330 in total yards.
In the season’s first look at Temple’s offense, Logan Marchi took the reigns as starting quarterback and played like a quarterback with potential, in their first game as starter. The offense responded on the opening play as Marchi rolled out on a bootleg to hit Adonis Jennings for a 17 yard-reception to set up the Owls on their 40 yard line. The catch and run quieted a sold out crowd of 77,622 at the newly renovated Notre Dame stadium. The Owls gained 34 yards on the opening drive that ended in an Alex Starzyk punt, giving the ball back to a hot Notre Dame offense.
The first 12 minutes of action for Temple’s offense featured a sack, three penalties, and no points. A large reason why the Owls trailed 21-3 at the end of the first quarter (Austin Jones 36-yd FG 2:23 1Q) came as a result of the inexperience on both sides of the ball, a new coaching staff, and an exceptional rushing attack from the Irish. Josh Adams broke the 100-yard mark before the second quarter even started. Temple’s inexperienced linebacking corp featuring all first year starters Sam Franklin (so.), Shaun Bradley (so.), and Isaiah Graham Mobley (fr.) had all types of trouble shedding blocks, allowing Irish runners to reach the secondary before getting touched on most occasions. It’s never a good sign when both starting safeties, Delvon Randall and Sean Chandler, lead the team in total tackles.
Temple played a better second quarter which saw the first touchdown of the Owls’ season, a 12 yard, well-defended connection between Logan Marchi and Keith Kirkwood. The play capped an 11-play, 70 yard drive that featured 5 first downs and offered a sign of life for the Owls. They went into halftime trailing 28-10.
The second half featured a 21-6 Irish outscoring of the Owls, and there wasn’t much positives to take away on Temple’s end. The final 30 minutes saw even more of a rush attack from Notre Dame, as well as the emergence of Brandon Wimbush as a reliable option at signal caller for years to come. Josh Adams finished the game with 19 carries for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns; an eye-popping 8.5 yards per carry. Brandon Wimbush got it done in the air (17/30 184 yards 2 TDs) and on the ground with 106 yards on 12 carries and a score. Dexter Williams also broke onto the scene as a rushing compliment to Josh Adams, finishing with 124 yards on just 6 carries which included a 66-yard scamper to Temple’s 3 yard line in the final quarter.
Notre Dame outrushed Temple 422-85.
-According to Owlscoop.com’s Kyle Gauss, Logan Marchi was the first QB not named Phillip Walker to throw for at least 245 yards and 2 TDs without an INT since Adam DiMichele 2008.
-Mike Jones made his debut for the Owls starting at cornerback and recorded the first INT of the year for Temple’s defense. He returned the ball 43 yards and showed his playmaking ability in the secondary.
-Ryquell Armstead reminded fans why he has been talked about so highly by the coaching staff this season and showed flashes of big time playmaking ability. Although 19 carries for 67 yards is underwhelming, Amstead was running with purpose and made the most of his holes.
-Temple’s front 7 was embarrassed. Coming into the game there were doubts, but to allow 422 yards rushing on
any day is unacceptable. Defensive minded Geoff Collins will likely focus on suring that up moving forward.
-The Owls’ offensive line didn’t make it easy on the new starter at QB, and were not able to control the line of scrimmage against a Notre Dame defenseive line that was said to be one of the team’s weakest units.
-Red zone defense was very tough for Temple as they allowed the Irish to score all 6 times they were inside the 20 yard line.
-Missed tackles caused big plays, as if the Irish weren’t already controlling the line of scrimmage. There is no official count, but multiple big gains of 30+ yards for the Irish had a lot to do with their 606 total yards. It was the most yards allowed by Temple since 2013.
Temple will need to sure up problems they faced in week 1, and in a 12-game season it may be a benefit the Owls played Notre Dame in the first week. When conference play starts on Sept. 21st at South Florida, how Temple plays will dictate the outcome of the season more so than this loss to the Irish will. In between, Villanova and UMass should be games Geoff Collins takes advantage of to gain confidence back in the team.