UMass

Temple sneaks past UMass behind Quincy Roche's monster breakout game

Temple sneaks past UMass behind Quincy Roche's monster breakout game

BOX SCORE

In the beginning of the week, as Temple began its preparations for Friday’s game against UMass, Quincy Roche had an inkling this was his chance to break out. That after watching Haason Reddick and Praise Martin-Oguike torture quarterbacks last season, he was ready to introduce himself as the next potential great Temple pass rusher.

Roche didn’t keep quiet, either, about his intentions. As the redshirt freshman became more acclimated, he assured junior safety Delvon Randall that this was his week.

“He told me that they weren’t going to be able to block him,” Randall said, “and he came out and proved it. … He came out, he was balling. He was a different breed today.”

On Friday night, Roche announced his presence to the Minutemen with a commanding performance as the Owls escaped Lincoln Financial Field with a sometimes sloppy 29-21 win (see observations). It was Temple’s second straight win and second of the Geoff Collins era.

Roche didn’t waste any time tormenting UMass quarterback Andrew Ford. He sacked Ford twice and recorded three tackles for loss in the first quarter. That alone was impressive, but the night had just started for the Randallstown, Maryland, native.

After the Owls regained the lead at 10-7 with 1:04 remaining in the second quarter, Roche blew up the UMass offensive line, strip-sacked Ford and then recovered his own fumble. That turnover sprung the Owls to another quick touchdown before halftime.

When Roche went into the locker room at halftime, he had three sacks and four tackles for loss but no single play had a bigger impact on the outcome than the forced fumble.

“That was huge for us,” Collins said of Roche’s strip-sack. “That sparked the offense right before the first half [ended] and gave us some life going into halftime.”

With his three sacks Friday, Roche became the first Temple player since Tyler Matakevich against Cincinnati in 2015 to have a three-sack game. He finished with eight tackles and four tackles for loss, one shy of the American Athletic Conference record.

Collins described Roche as a “dynamic pass rusher,” and believes Roche is developing into an every-down player. While the sacks will put Roche on the map, it was the defensive end’s play on first and second down, Collins said, that impressed him most.

One play, in particular, stood out to Collins, when Roche broke up a UMass jet sweep, which the first-year head coach said was just as big of a play as the strip-sack.

Temple prepared for UMass to throw, Roche said, and the Minutemen did. Ford tossed 37 passes against the Temple secondary, which allowed 382 yards to Villanova last week, and came away with 377 yards, but the Owls’ pressure proved too much.

While Roche led the charge, the Owls sacked Ford nine times. Sharif Finch and Sam Franklin each had two, while Jacob Martin and Isaiah Graham-Mobley each had one.

“Quincy is a tremendous player but that performance today,” Temple cornerback Mike Jones said, “it shocked me. He makes a lot of plays in practice, but that was a big-time stage for him and for him to make all those players, that was tremendous.

“It helped us a lot. But I think the D-backs, the secondary, we were holding onto our coverages. We were both helping each other out.”

The Owls introduced a few new wrinkles into the offensive game plan, as true freshman Todd Centeio saw his first collegiate action on the first drive of the second quarter. Centeio replaced redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi, who made his third start and injected life into an offense that had another slow start.

Centeio completed two passes for 20 yards and picked up a first down, but as the Owls reached the red zone, Marchi came back in. Temple failed to convert on a 3rd-and-3, and then had a 43-yard field goal attempt blocked. Collins said they had a specific package for Centeio, but they exhausted it by the time they reached the red zone. 

“We knew all along that Toddy was going to get in this week,” Collins said, “and we were prepping him and we finally felt he was game-ready and he provided a spark.”

Marchi had a stagnant start against UMass, but he eventually settled in. He heated up in the second quarter and finished the first half on a high note. He hit Adonis Jennings for a 30-yard touchdown with a well-placed ball after rolling out right, and then an 11-yarder to Keith Kirkwood with 10 seconds left in the half. He finished the game 22 of 37 for 248 yards and three touchdowns. Marchi has yet to throw an interception, and through three games, Temple’s offense, which has looked inept at times, has just one fumble lost.

With Marchi, Temple began to showcase his athleticism more than it did in the first two games. The Owls ran several options with Marchi under center and he ran the ball seven times for 13 yards. While the options didn't hit paydirt, it wasn't something the Owls previously showed.

“We talked about all week using the quarterback run game a little bit more,” Collins said, “because Logan is ridiculously athletic. We want to make sure we use those things, use that package, use that skill set. He made some really nice plays on the run.”

Temple has another short week ahead, but perhaps its stiffest challenge of the season lies ahead Thursday night in Tampa against conference favorite, No. 22 South Florida, which has scored at least 30 points in its last 20 games, the longest streak in the nation.

The nine-sack performance against UMass was a result of Temple being able to rotate, Collins said, and going forward, it’ll be key as the Owls enter conference play.

“We have to continue that going forward,” Collins said, “especially as we get in our league with the dynamic offenses that we are going to have to face each week.

"Especially the one coming up here on Thursday night on ESPN. We have to be ready to rotate those guys and keep them fresh.”

Temple-UMass observations: It wasn't pretty but Owls hang on to top UMass

Temple-UMass observations: It wasn't pretty but Owls hang on to top UMass

BOX SCORE

It wasn’t pretty and it was much closer than Temple probably would have wanted, but the Owls dispatched UMass, 29-21, Friday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Owls badly needed to gain momentum ahead of a critical matchup against the American Athletic Conference favorite — No. 22 South Florida — and after a sloppy start, they did.

After UMass took a 7-3 lead with 2:23 left in the second quarter, Temple sprung off 16 unanswered points and grinded out a gritty win in front of an announced “22,911” fans.

Temple quarterback Logan Marchi connected on two quick touchdown passes to close out the first half — a 30-yard TD toss to Adonis Jennings and then an 11-yarder to Keith Kirkwood with 10 seconds left in the second quarter. After Marchi’s TD pass to Jennings, redshirt freshman defensive end Quincy Roche forced and recovered a fumble.

Roche’s turnover allowed the Owls to take a 16-7 lead into halftime. Despite UMass keeping it close in the second half, TU was able to escape because of that momentum.

It’s Temple’s second straight win and Geoff Collins’ second win as coach. UMass is 0-4.

• It was quite the first half for Roche, who had three tackles for loss and two sacks in the first quarter, and then the forced fumble and recovery in the second quarter. He had three sacks, four tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery at the half.

• Temple sacked UMass QB Andrew Ford nine times. Roche had three, Sam Franklin and Sharif Finch had two, while Jacob Martin and Isaiah Graham-Mobley had one.

• While the Temple defense had a solid night stopping the run — allowed just 81 yards on the ground — and creating pressure, its pass defense left much to be desired. Ford threw for over 377 yards and UMass picked up 25 first downs against Temple. But credit goes to defensive back Derrek Thomas for coming through in a big moment.

On a 4th-and-10 on the Temple 28-yard line in the fourth quarter, Ford went deep intended for Brennon Dingle, and if it weren’t for a heady play by Thomas, UMass could have tied the game with a two-point conversion. Thomas turned his head around and defended the ball. A flag was thrown but then picked up for no foul.

• Temple needs to find a way to get Isaiah Wright the ball more. He’s dynamic. Wright put the game away with a beautiful one-handed TD grab in the corner of the end zone with 3:48 left. Wright’s touchdown gave Temple a 29-14 lead. It was gorgeous.

Wright had four catches for 69 yards and a TD.

• We got our first glimpse at freshman quarterback Todd Centeio on the first drive of the second quarter. Centeio completed his first two passes for 20 yards, picked up a first down and the offense appeared to have more life with him under center than Marchi. But then Collins put Marchi back in on a 3rd-and-3 on the UMass 24-yard line. Temple failed to convert, which led to an Aaron Boumerhi 43-yard blocked field goal attempt. But the decision to take Centeio out was questionable. The Owls’ offense finally had some flow, some positive plays, some momentum. Then the switch at QB.

It didn’t make much sense, and it potentially cost TU seven points. Collins is a rookie coach, and these type of decisions are something he’ll learn along the way. Temple rotated QBs from Marchi to Centeio in the second quarter. Marchi got the brunt of the workload Friday. It was a grisly start for the redshirt sophomore, but he settled down.

• Marchi made his third start and was underwhelming before heating up in the second half of the second quarter. He finished the half on a high note, with two TDs — the 30-yarder to Jennings and 11-yarder to Kirkwood. He was better in the second half. Final line: 22 of 37 for 248 yards, three TDs. He has yet to throw an INT.

• I think it’s time to throw the option play out of the playbook as long as Marchi is the quarterback. It’s not working and it’s a momentum-killer.

• Ryquell Armstead, who entered the game averaging just 2.8 yards per carry, finally gained some traction on the ground. While it was as a result of a few big runs — including a 56-yard scamper — Armstead, a junior, had 91 yards on 17 carries.

• It was a rough night to be a kicker. UMass kicker Michael Schreiner missed two field goals in the first half. For Temple, Austin Jones missed an extra point and Boumerhi had a field goal blocked. All of those came in the first half, which featured largely bad football.

• Just kidding. Boumerhi redeemed himself with a 52-yarder in the third quarter. It barely cleared the goal post. It was a career-long kick for Boumerhi, and the longest by a Temple kicker since Brandon McManus’ 53-yarder Sept. 3, 2010, against Villanova.

• Schreiner missed another FG in the second half. He is 0 for 4 so far in his career.

• Temple has a short week. The Owls move on and head to Tampa for a Thursday night game against conference favorite, No. 22 South Florida, easily their stiffest challenge of the season. Sure, Temple began the Collins era in South Bend, Indiana, against Notre Dame, a storied program with NFL talent but one that has lost 11 of its last 16 matches, including bowl games, under Brian Kelly’s guidance. USF offers a healthy challenge.

The Bulls, led by Charlie Strong, the former University of Texas head coach, feature dual-threat quarterback Quinton Flowers that should provide the Owls’ defense with nightmares. Collins came to Temple regarded as a defensive guru, and the defense is going through growing pains having to replace seven starters. The USF game will be the measuring stick to see where this Owls team is. I wouldn’t expect a pretty outcome.

But, hey, Temple won Friday night. The Owls are 2-1. There is no reason for Temple fans to come down to earth yet. The Owls can enjoy this one for a couple of days.

Temple vs. UMass: Owls' chance for momentum under the lights

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CSN

Temple vs. UMass: Owls' chance for momentum under the lights

Temple (1-1, 0-0 AAC) vs. Massachusetts (0-3, Independent)
Lincoln Financial Field
Friday, 7 p.m., ESPNU

 
It was far from easy and there were many bruises to heal this week, but Temple secured its first win of the Geoff Collins era last week when the Owls held on for dear life against a scrappy Villanova squad for a 16-13 victory.
 
Now, less than a week later, the Owls return to the Linc under the bright Friday night lights to face off against a struggling UMass squad.
 
Head coach Mark Whipple’s Minutemen have stumbled out of the gate to an 0-3 record that includes losses to Hawaii, Coastal Carolina and Old Dominion. In those three games, the Minutemen have given up a total of 93 points.
 
This is clearly a prime opportunity for the Owls to get some needed momentum in all phases.
 
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:
 
Scouting Temple
While it certainly wasn’t the most polished performance, redshirt sophomore quarterback Logan Marchi looked more comfortable in the pocket last week against Villanova. Sure, the FCS Wildcats aren’t the Notre Dame team Marchi went up against in Week 1. But he was still making better decisions and reads. Last week, he went 20 of 34 for 274 yards and also executed a near flawless two-minute drive at the end of the first half that gave Temple its only TD of the day. He still needs to get rid of the ball more frequently when he’s in trouble and not take a sack or force a throw, but that will come in time for a young QB.
 
Marchi was aided by the return of junior wideout Ventell Bryant, last season’s leading receiver, who missed the Nore Dame game with a hamstring injury. In his season debut, Bryant reeled in seven catches for 79 yards on the day, including a spectacular one-handed snag as the Owls drove and kicked a field goal to take the 16-13 lead that held. Senior Keith Kirkwood leads the Owls with eight grabs for 121 yards and a TD this season.
 
Collins admitted the workload of running back Ryquell Armstead was limited last week as the junior suffered an undisclosed injury the prior week at Notre Dame. With that, the Owls’ rushing attack was stifled for the second consecutive game. Temple had just 79 yards on 22 carries last week. Thought to be a strength coming into the season, Temple rushers have just 164 yards on 64 carries on the season.
 
The Temple defense has been a Jekyll and Hyde show the first two weeks of the season. After getting scorched by the Notre Dame ground game for 422 yards and five touchdowns out in South Bend, the Owls smothered the Wildcats for just 20 yards on 30 carries last week. But after holding the Irish in check through the air with just 184 yards, the Owls had no answer for Villanova QB Zach Bednarczyk and his 382 passing yards on 27 attempts last week. So, what exactly is the problem with Temple’s defense? Or, even worse, is there more than one problem?

Scouting Massachusetts
Offense hasn’t been the issue for the Minutemen, who are averaging 23.3 points over their first three contests. Junior QB Andrew Ford has been efficient, throwing for 827 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception so far this season. Last week vs. Old Dominion, he went 21 of 32, for 236 yards and a score. He did go over 300 yards in the loss to Coastal Carolina two weeks ago.
 
Junior tight end Adam Breneman has been Ford’s favorite target on the season. The 6-foot-5, 255-pounder has recorded two games of over 100 yards receiving on the season already — 179 yards on nine grabs vs. Hawaii and 126 yards on nine more catches vs. Coastal Carolina. His 323 yards on the season are already almost halfway to his total from last season.
 
Junior Marquis Young has been the lead horse at running back for the Minutemen. He’s rushed for 149 yards and four TDs this season. Those four TDs already match his total from all of last season. The guy knows how to find the end zone as he’s got 15 TDs over his first two seasons and change at the collegiate level.
 
The UMass defense … well, let’s just say it’s not great. The unit gave up 38 points and 513 yards of total offense, including 391 through the air to Hawaii three weeks ago. That included a seven-yard TD pass with 48 seconds left that sealed the win for the Rainbow Warriors. Hawaii WR John Ursa had 272 receiving yards that day. But much like Temple, UMass followed it up the next week by getting torched in a different way — on the ground by Coastal Carolina, to the tune of 321 rushing yards. While the Minutemen were better against ODU last week, they still present a chance for Marchi and the rest of the Temple offense to get rolling. That said, senior linebacker and Towson transfer Bryton Barr is a player to keep an eye on. He leads UMass with 44 tackles on the season and can disrupt plays.
 
History
Friday evening will mark just the second meeting between Temple and UMass, which joined the FBS level in 2011.
 
The Owls took the first meeting, a wild 25-23 victory at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, home of the New England Patriots. On that September day in 2015, the heavily-favored Owls were as flat as could be all afternoon long and were on the verge of getting upset by the Minutemen. That was until a late UMass extra-point attempt was blocked and the Owls returned it for a two-point conversion that cut the Minutemen’s lead to 23-22 with 1:20 left. QB Phillip Walker led the Owls down the field on the ensuing drive and Austin Jones nailed a 32-yard field goal with seven seconds left to give Temple the win.
 
If that late comeback doesn’t take place, who knows what road Temple’s 2015 dream season that included the nationally televised primetime showdown with Notre Dame at the Linc and College Gameday at Independence Mall takes?
 
Storyline to watch: Where’s the improvement in Week 3?
The first two weeks have clearly been a feeling-out process for Collins, a first-year head coach, and his Owls, who are in the midst of replacing a four-year starter at QB and seven starters from a ferocious 2016 defense.
 
As expected, there have been some lumps over the first few weeks. But Friday marks the third game of the new era and, with all due respect to these Minutemen, this UMass team offers a chance for the Owls to take steps in the right direction in many areas. Can Marchi get more comfortable in his new role? Can the rushing game finally get on track? Can the defense begin to form some type of identity?
 
Temple better hope a few questions are answered Friday because there will be no room for error next week …
 
What’s at stake: Momentum before next week’s huge test at South Florida.
Temple needs to get the momentum rolling this week because the sternest test of the season looms ahead — next week at conference favorite No. 22 South Florida.
 
The young Owls can ill-afford to fall flat on their faces Friday against an underwhelming UMass team and then head to Tampa on yet another short week Thursday with the confidence waning.
 
That’s like losing half the battle right there. And facing the Bulls, especially in Tampa, is already hard enough.
 
Prediction
Though the Owls have yet to find their groove in many areas this season, they still have way too much talent for this UMass team to deal with. The Owls should win this one pretty handily.
 
Temple 34, Massachusetts 13