Temple Owls

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

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

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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 blows chance at another resume builder

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Temple blows chance at another resume builder

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WICHITA, Kan. -- As his teammates headed to the locker room after allowing 56 first-half points, Wichita State senior center Shaquille Morris witnessed their frustration.

And he saw opportunity.

Would No. 19 Wichita State allow Temple to beat the Shockers for a second time in 15 days? Or would Wichita State storm back?

After the Shockers' 93-86 victory Thursday, thanks in large part to Morris' 23 points and 13 rebounds, he had his answer.

"Tonight defined our team," Morris said. "We've gotten better.

"We needed a game like this, especially being down second half and showing resilience."

Darral Willis had 24 points for the Shockers (20-5, 10-3 American Athletic Conference). Morris and Willis, senior big men, were combined 18 of 21 from the floor.

"We rode them," Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said. "When they play like that, you can ride them."

Austin Reaves scored 11 points for Wichita State, and Landry Shamet and Conner Frankamp each scored 10.

Temple (15-11, 7-7) hit a season-high 16 3-point shots on 29 attempts. Obi Enechionyia led Temple with 17 points and other Owls were in double figures -- Quinton Rose (16), De'Vondre Perry (15), Shizz Alston (15) and Josh Brown (13).

Temple brought a five-game winning streak into the game and was hot in the first half. The Owls were 11 of 15 from the 3-point line while building that 56-42 halftime lead.

Enechionyia spurred the offensive outburst, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 11 points in a 13-7 run the start the game. He entered the game averaging 11.1 points.

"Obi really got us started," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "I don't think we could have played any better offensively in the first half."

Shamet acknowledged he was "pretty frustrated" at halftime. "You don't want to be getting beat like that at home," he said. "It was like we couldn't find an answer."

Wichita State did after halftime, opening with an 11-0 run and eventually taking its first lead, 66-62, on a Willis 3-pointer with 11:31 to play.

"We made some coaching tweaks," Marshall said, "but it was really just about finding a way."

Morris did much of the damage with 16 points and eight rebounds in the second half. Dunphy credited Morris with "having a basketball IQ off the charts."

Morris' putback resulting in a three-point play with 1:54 remaining gave Wichita State an 84-81 lead it would not lose. The Shockers outscored the Owls 36-8 in the in the paint.

"Stickbacks killed us," Dunphy said.

Marshall said Morris diving in a pile of players to retrieve the ball, resulting in a Conner Frankamp layup, showed him more than any other play.

"This might have been Shaq's finest game as a Shocker," Marshall said. "He was a beast."

Big picture
Temple: The Owls backed up their hot streak, going toe to toe on the road with a top-20 team in a crazy environment.

Wichita State: The Shockers overcame a huge deficit to beat a hot opponent and, combined with Cincinnati's loss, get back in the conference race.

Coaching voice
Dunphy has been to more than his share of arenas, but Thursday was his first game at Koch Arena.

"You hear a lot about it, and it's a special place," Dunphy said. "Late in the game, we were trying to get our guys to come off the center line to press. We had no chance of them hearing us."

Marshall said it was "the loudest Koch Arena has been in many a year."

Shamet helping
Shamet had five assists, giving him 252 for his career. He is just the third Shocker to reach 250 before the end of his sophomore season, joining Fred VanVleet (282) and Joe Griffin (306).

Up next
Temple: The Owls host Houston on Sunday

Wichita State: The Shockers travel to No. 5 Cincinnati on Sunday. The Bearcats lost at Houston on Wednesday.

Temple secures 5th straight win with dominant 2nd half

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Temple secures 5th straight win with dominant 2nd half

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TAMPA, Fla. — Quinton Rose scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half when Temple pulled away from USF for its fifth-straight win 73-55 on Saturday.

Shizz Alston Jr. 19 points, 10 in the second half, and Josh Brown had 12 points for the Owls (15-10, 7-6 American Athletic Conference).

Brown's layup with a second left in the first half tied the game at 30 and he opened the second half with a 3-pointer before Rose capped a nine-point run with a dunk and a 37-30 lead. Isaiah Manderson had back-to-back baskets to pull the Bulls with two. Rose then scored five straight points and, after a 3-pointer for the Bulls, had 3-point plays to begin and end a 12-0 run that made it 63-47 with 5:43 to play.

The Owls went 7 of 13 from distance and shot 55 percent in the second half.

Manderson led USF (8-18, 1-12), which has lost five straight, with 18 points.