SportsDesk Preview: UMass vs Temple

Week three is upon us and the Owls (1-1) will host the UMass Minutemen (0-3) this Friday night. This will be the last non-conference game for Temple until late October, as next week, they open up their inter-conference play.

The last time these two teams squared off was back in the 2015 season at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The Owls won the matchup 25-23. It was quite the nail biter as it came down to a game winning field goal by now senior, Austin Jones with 12 seconds remaining.

Temple will look to jump ahead early this time and not have to worry about it coming down to the final 12 seconds.

“We respect every team we play, of course we respect UMass from our past play with them. It’s going to be a good game,” said senior DE Julian Taylor. “I don’t expect them to bow down and be like oh they’re Temple they’re conference champs, I expect them to come at us like we are any other team. So I’m excited to play,” said senior DE Julian Taylor.

The Matchups 

The Temple offense will look to put more points on the board after their first two games putting up 16 in both. QB Logan Marchi comes off another impressive start against Villanova throwing for 274 yards on 20-34 passing attempts and still with zero interceptions. Though he remains critical of his game, and offensive production.

“It’s got to be better, hands down. 16 points back to back is not okay. We should definitely be putting up more points than that.”

Ryquell Armstead rushed for just 19 yards against Villanova. (Credit: WBZW)

Marchi also wishes to get the running game going after just 79 rushing yards vs Villanova, and 85 yards in week one vs ND.

“We got to have the run game there, [vs] Villanova it wasn’t where we wanted it to be, we got a great running back and a great o-line, so we have to make sure we execute the running game.

Sure enough if they are able to get RB Ryquell Armstead and the running game active, it will take some pressure off Marchi and the WR core to make big plays.

In the game against Villanova, Armstead was limited to just 19 rushing yards due to some minor injuries. He looks to start this Friday and give the offense an electrifying jump that they need.

The play of the Owl’s receivers though, cannot go unnoticed. Redshirt junior WR Ventell Bryant made his return to the field last Saturday in a big way after a week one absence. He hauled in 7 catches totaling 79 yards, including a one-handed 29 yard reception that led to the game winning field goal.

Also with a big day was senior WR Adonis Jennings, who caught 3 passes for 75 yards, including one for 43 yards. Redshirt Senior Keith Kirkwood caught 4 passes totaling 61 yards.

As for the Minutemen, they have some talent of their own at WR and TE. Senior TE Adam Breneman leads the way for UMass in receiving with 21 receptions on the year totaling 323 yards. Junior WR Andy Isabella has caught 16 passes for 246 yards and 3 TD’s, including one catch for 60 yards and a touchdown in a 17-7 loss to Old Dominion.

UMass’ passing offense is led by star wideout Andy Isabella, and former Penn State tight end Adam Breneman (Cred:// Daily Hampshire Gazette)

“They’re athletic, they’re quick, we just got to come, watch and keep studying them and by the time Friday comes we’ll have a game plan for them,” said junior safety Delvon Randall. “They’ll go across the middle, they’ll go deep, it doesn’t matter, they’re great players.”

In the backfield for UMass, is junior RB Marquis Young. Young has produced big in his first two seasons, totaling 1,858 yards and 11 touchdowns. So far this season he’s already produced 148 yards and 4 touchdowns, matching his number of TD’s from a season ago.

Under center is junior QB Andrew Ford. This season, Ford has totaled 827 yards on 63-103 passing attempts, 4 touchdowns and only one interception. This is Ford’s second season as starting QB for the Minutemen, last season he threw 26 touchdowns and 14 INT’s, while being sacked 32 times. Only three games into this season, Ford has almost been sacked half as many times as last season, at 14. Temple looks to take advantage of that visible weakness this week, starting with this week’s No. 1 jersey, DE Julian Taylor.

When asked if batting the ball down at the line and not going for the sack would be suffice against Ford who likes to get the ball out quick, he said, “Oh yeah, of course, I would love that too, that would be just like a sack, but I like sacks though.”

On the defensive side of the football for UMass, leading the way is LB Bryton Barr who has 32 total tackles, 14 solo, 1.5 fumble recoveries and one sack. The leader of the defensive line  is senior Ali Ali-Musa who has 21 total tackles, 1.5 fumble recoveries and one sack.

For their secondary, sophomore CB Isaiah Rodgers has been excellent, totaling 16 tackles, one interception and two passes broken up. Rodgers also serves as the kick returner for the Minutemen, totaling 209 yards thus far.

The Owls look to get a winning streak going with their second consecutive win at home this Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:00PM at Lincoln Financial Field. The game is being broadcasted on ESPNU, and you can listen on 97.5 The Fanatic.

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