One win away are the Temple Owls from becoming bowl eligible as they head into week 12 and with it brings the Owl’s toughest matchup yet. Temple (5-5,3-3) will take on the 14th ranked UCF Golden Knights (9-0,6-0) at Lincoln Financial Field this Saturday afternoon.
Last Friday night, the Owls went into Cincinnati, Ohio, and took care of business earning their second straight win, and their second straight conference win. Isaiah Wright took home the honor of earning Conference Special Teams Player of the week, due to his 98-yard kick return for a TD. Also earning honors was RB David Hood, who was put on the Conference Honor Roll for his career day of over 100 yards.
QB Frank Nutile will once again get the start, make that his third straight as he tries to go 3-0 to start his career as starting quarterback, amidst Temple’s second-half season turnaround. Since Nutile took over for Logan Marchi, the atmosphere seems much more “juiced” up, as Nutile’s teammates like to call him “Frankie Juice.”
“Frank is a leader. He connects with all the receivers, he gets us together, we talk about things. I like Frank back there, he’s just so confident and poised in the pocket. I believe Frankie’s a good quarterback, so I’m happy he’s leading for us,” WR Adonis
Jennings, since Nutile has taken over at quarterback, has made 12 catches and racked up 205 yards and 3 touchdowns in the last 3 games. Right behind Jennings is sophomore Isaiah Wright, who, in the last 3 games, has caught 9 passes for 153 yards and completed a pass to Nutile for a 2-point conversion. Keith Kirkwood is not far behind either, in his last 3 games, he’s caught 11 passes for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The passing game isn’t the only thing that has sprung to life over the last 3 games though. RB’s Ryquell Armstead and David Hood have taken a leap as well. Armstead, while still fighting through injuries, was pulled from last Friday’s game against Cincinnati due to injury. It’s still uncertain if he will see the field this coming Saturday. Though in his last 3 games, Armstead has carried the ball 36 times totaling 205 yards and 2 touchdowns. David Hood has carried 38 times totaling 154 yards and 1 touchdown.
Temple has scored over 28 points in each of their last three contests and scored over 34 in their last two. The offensive outburst has lit a fire in the defense as well. Holding Navy’s offense to far below its average, and going into a brisk Cincinnati atmosphere and shutting down their offense as well. Credit Sean Chandler, Shaun Bradley, Delvon Randall, Quincy Roche and many more for outperforming their opponents week after week.
“Any game we play is going to be a big game for us. We’re a great defense, a learning defense. I think we’ve started to play very well. We’re doing some great things on defense and offense that definitely helps,” senior Jacob Martin said.
This weeks recipient of the No. 1 jersey is RB David Hood. Last week, Hood rushed for a career-high 108 yards and one touchdown. His all-around work ethic helped him earn this honor.
“It means I’ve put in a lot of work and it’s time to keep stepping up and be a leader on this team. It’s not much of a surprise, every day I strive and I feel like I should be a single-digit. I don’t want it to get my head too big, I’m going to continue to play like I’m still 24,” Hood said.
“It’s what he does in this building, in this program, on a day-to-day basis. His work ethic, his attitude, how he attacks everything he does. He’s just a positive person to be around. The reason he’s wearing the No. 1 is that of how he is every day in this building with his teammates in the locker room and how hard he works,” Head Coach Geoff Collins said.
The Owls will also be celebrating Senior Day this Saturday afternoon. And with one more win, that will give the senior class its 32nd overall victory and earn the title of the winningest class in school history.
They certainly do face a tough test though in one of the highest scoring offenses in the nation. The offense will look to keep pace, and the defense will look to shut them down, in the seniors last game at Lincoln Financial Field.
The game is set to kick off at Lincoln Financial Field this Saturday at noon. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNU and you can listen in on 97.5 The Fanatic.
Make sure to check back into the SportsDesk for the game preview later this week.