Week 11 is here and the Owl’s season is winding down. With only 3 games remaining in Coach Collins’ first season as Head Coach, his team (4-5) needs two more wins to become bowl eligible. This week, the Owls look to come one game closer when the visit the Cincinnati Bearcats (3-6).
This past Thursday, Temple knocked off their conference opponent, the Navy Midshipmen, 34-26. An offensive and defensive clinic put on by the Owls. QB Frank Nutile made the absolute most of the opportunity to make his second career start. In the game, Nutile went 22-30 passing, with 289 yards and 4 touchdowns, earning himself onto the conference’s weekly Honor Roll.
“I think I’m feeling pretty confident. Like I said before, it’s really easy to play at a level when the offensive line is playing the way they are, the running backs are running the way they are, the receivers running the right routes, the tight ends running routes and blocking,” Frank Nutile said on his confidence. “And the way the defense plays, it’s great to have those guys out there. I think they held Navy to 130 rushing yards which is amazing. So when all those things are going together it makes my job pretty easy.”
On the receiving end of Nutile’s passes were WR’s Adonis Jennings, (5 catches 127 yards, 2 TD’s) and Keith Kirkwood (7 catches, 87 yards, 1 TD). Jennings looks to remain confident and build off his big game,
“I’m going to try. All I care about is winning these last couple games. I’m going to go out there and play the best I can play. We’re trying to come out of this week 1-0 and prepare the best we can.”
Keith Kirkwood earned some honors as well this morning. The Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year selection committee released its list of 20 nominees for the national honor this Tuesday morning, putting Temple’s own senior WR Keith Kirkwood as a semifinalist.
The award aims to identify the most exemplary leader in college football, weighing ideals such as “exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field.”
Kirkwood began his collegiate career as a wide receiver at Hawai’i, but wanted to transfer home so he could have more of a primary role in the raising of his daughter, Aria. Aria’s biological father passed away before her birth and Kirkwood stepped into the role without giving it a second thought. He’s earned his degree in criminal justice prior to this season and is currently taking on graduate studies.
On the field, in his career, he’s started 26 games and gained 1,399 yards and 12 touchdowns. His teammates recognize his toughness by honoring him with a single-digit jersey, #5, and was the first to receive the honor under Coach Collins.
“It’s not secret how I feel about Keith Kirkwood, the amount of respect I have for him, as a player, as a man, as a father, as a person. I can’t say enough about him and what he means to me and this program,” said Coach Collins.
Also receiving honors this morning was senior DE Sharif Finch. Finch led the defense last week that limited Navy to 362 yards of offense. He led the team in tackles with 9 including 3 and a half for loss, and 2 sacks. For his performance, Finch earned Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
The player who will be wearing the coveted No. 1 jersey this week will be junior DT Freddie Booth-Lloyd. He had a sack along with two tackles last week in a dominant performance, making hustle plays all game long to give his teammates the opportunity to go and make a play, and for that Freddie will be honored with the No. 1 jersey.
“It means a lot. For my coaches and peers to give me the No.1 for this week, I feel privileged to be known as the guy to wear No. 1 this week,” Booth-Lloyd said.
Safeties Sean Chandler and Delvon Randall are entering this week with 8 interceptions each, tied for 11th on the school’s all-time list. One more interception would put them in a tie for 8th in Temple’s record books.
Cincinnati is coming off a 1-point victory at Tulane following a 5-game losing streak. Both teams are looking to win back-to-back conference games for the first time this season. Last time between these two teams, the Owls cruised to victory for their sixth win on their way to the conference championship. The Owls looks for the same success this year against the Bearcats.
The game is set to kick off from Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, this Friday night at 7:00pm. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN2 and you can listen in on 97.5 The Fanatic.
Make sure to check back in with the SportsDesk for the game preview later this week.