Temple Owls

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


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 put back on its heels in AAC tourney ouster

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Temple put back on its heels in AAC tourney ouster


ORLANDO, Fla. -- No. 11 Wichita State has advanced to the semifinals of American Athletic Conference tournament.


Landry Shamet scored 24 points, Rashard Kelly had 16 and the Shockers held off pesky Temple for an 89-81 victory on Friday night.

Wichita State (25-6) also got a strong performance from its reserves, including 13 points from Austin Reaves. Next up is the winner of the Houston-Central Florida game.

The Shockers won two of three against the Owls this season, and the outcome was in doubt every time.

"We certainly do bring out the best in them," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. "The bottom line is that they make a lot of shots against us, but we usually do get great contributions from our bench. We go 10 or 11 deep and that's a good thing."

Wichita State led 78-75 with 2:23 left and closed it out with 11 foul shots.

Temple stayed close with its perimeter shooting. The Owls went 11 of 24 from 3-pointg range and shot 50.9 percent from the field overall.

Quinton Rose led Temple (17-15) with 25 points. Shizz Alston and Josh Brown each had 15 points for the Owls, who didn't have enough depth to keep pace with Wichita State in the final minutes.

"I loved our fight, I loved how we were hanging with them each and every moment," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "I think late we just needed another basket, another stop, but they're a really good basketball team. They made some veteran plays at the right time."

The Shockers were clinging to a 63-61 lead with eight minutes to play when Reaves, fellow reserve Markis McDuffie and Kelly powered a key 13-3 run. The three combined for 11 points in the surge and helped cool off Rose while leading Wichita State to a 76-64 advantage with just over four minutes remaining.

Shaquille Morris made two foul shots to put the Shockers up 55-45 early in the second half, but the Owls rallied behind Rose. The sophomore guard scored 12 of his team's next 14 points to cut the deficit to 61-59 with 9:10 left.

"Quinton did a great job in that stretch and got us where we needed to be," Dunphy said. "But again, we needed a little better effort at the defensive end and just be a little smarter."

Big picture
Temple: The Owls had some nice early season wins -- Wisconsin, Clemson, Auburn, South Carolina -- but need to take the next step in the conference season. The Owls were only 8-10 in AAC play.

Wichita State: The Shockers are aching for a rematch with top-seeded Cincinnati, but first they'll have to get past the winner of the Houston-UCF game and they've struggled with both. Houston handed Wichita State its worst loss of the season, and UCF took the Shockers to overtime before losing in the second-to-last game of the regular season. Wichita State will need another good night from its reserves to reach the finals.

Temple narrowly avoids disaster

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Temple narrowly avoids disaster


ORLANDO, Fla. -- Shizz Alston Jr. hit three free throws in the final minute and Temple avoided being upset by a lower seed in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament for the second year in a row, holding off Tulane 82-77 Thursday night.

Temple, the No. 7 seed, advances to face second-seeded Wichita State on Friday in the tourney quarterfinals.

Last year the eighth-seeded Owls were upset by No. 9 seed ECU.

Nate Pierre-Louis made a free throw with 1:01 left to give Temple a 77-71 lead, but the 10th-seeded Green Wave roared back behind two Cameron Reynolds 3-pointers sandwiched around an Alston free throw to make it 78-77 with :37 remaining. Alston was fouled with :16 left and hit both free throws to make it 80-77, and Caleb Daniels missed a 3 with :05 left that would have tied the game. Josh Brown added two free throws with a second left to set the final score.

Obi Enechionyia led the Owls (17-14) with 19 points. Alston added 17 points and dished eight assists and Brown added 15 points, six boards, three assists and two steals.

Reynolds hit 3 of 7 from distance and paced Tulane (14-17) with 22 points. Melvin Frazier added 15 points and Samir Sehic and Ray Ona Embo added 11 and 10 points, respectively.