After a losses in the AAC Championship and the Boca Raton Bowl, Temple Football has adopted the motto “Unfinished Business.”
Tomorrow night, they have a chance to take the first step towards filling that goal.
The Owls open their 2016 season Friday night against the Army Black Knights at 7p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field. This will be the 12th meeting all-time between the two programs, and the first since 2013. Temple holds the advantage against Army all-time, with a record of 7-4.
The Owls will look to continue their recent success against the Black Knights, having won each of the last six matches.
Walker, asking to be called Phillip over P.J, is coming off of a 2015 season in which he threw for 2,972 yards, with 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Walker was awarded a single digit number this offseason (8), exemplifying his hard work and toughness on, and off the field.
Thomas was the workhorse for the owls in the 2015 season. He rushed for 1,262 while scoring 17 touchdowns on the ground. He ran for a career high 193 yards and returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Cincinnati. After starting last season on fire, injuries slowed Thomas over his final games. With his durability during training in question, he will look to establish himself as the star in a crowded backfield.
Army will look to senior linebackers Jeremy Timpf, and Andrew King to slow down the Temple offense. The duo recorded 92 tackles on the season, including King with a team high 16.5 tackles for loss. Both players were named captains for the 2016 season.
The Owl’s will look to slow down the Black Knight’s high powered rush attack- including a triple option threat. Key Starters Tyler Matakevich, and Tavon Young are onto the NFL; leaving holes to be filled in the defense. Senior Linebackers Avery Williams, and Stephaun Marshall will look to match the productivity of current Pittsburgh Steeler in Matakevich. The linebackers will have their hands full against an Army team that averaged 244 rushing yards per game in 2015. Temple will be facing a triple-option offense for the first time since they took on Navy in 2014.
Quarterbacks Ahmad Bradshaw & Chris Carter are in competition for the starting job under center- expect to see both dual-threat options to get snaps against the Owls.
Players to Watch:
With the departure of wide receivers Robby Anderson, Brandon Shippen, and John Christopher; sophomore wide receiver Ventell Bryant will likely have an expanded role in the offense. Following a record-setting freshman season in which Bryant had 39 receptions for 579 yards, and 3 touchdowns, the Owls will be looking for Bryant to be the number-one target for Walker.
Entering his junior season, Sean Chandler will be taking on a new role in the Owls defense: safety. For the first two years of his collegiate career, Chandler played cornerback; including a 2015 season in which he totaled 5 interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, and was third in the American Athletic Conference in passes defended.
Prior to the season, Chandler was named Jim Thorpe Award watch list, given to the top defensive-back in the country. Chandler will look to continue his fine play, and lead the Owls defense in 2016.
Temple looks for another strong season under Head Coach Matt Rhule. Meanwhile Army will look for its first winning season since 2010. Both teams look to start the season strong tomorrow night at 7p.m. under the lights at Lincoln Financial Field.