Temple mows over FIU 28-3

The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl is not an ordinary bowl game. The name itself is derived from a pirate who was known to frequent the St. Petersburg, FL area. The game itself is played in Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays, a major league baseball team.  With the 28-3 win over FIU Thursday, the Owls did something they have not done since 2011: Win a bowl game.

The game itself was a microcosm of the whole season. It was incredibly close early on with a few miscues. The team committed a Gasparilla Bowl record ten penalties. Injuries to key players happened during the game. But what the team did at the end and secured the victory showed that it had done the most important thing, learn how to win down the stretch.

Sitting on the dais after the game with the bowl trophy in front of him, Temple head coach Geoff Collins was all smiles after his team’s victory.

“It was a great game,” Collins said. “I couldn’t be more proud of this group of guys. The senior class is the all-time winningest class in Temple University history. What they did the last five games showed throughout the entire bowl season was as good or better than I’ve ever been around. The content of character in this group of young men is amazing and it should be celebrated.

FIU’s offense had trouble in the first half after FIU senior starting quarterback Alex McGough suffered a broken collarbone during FIU’s opening drive. Sophomore backup quarterback Maurice Alexander came in to lead the Panther attack but struggled early, only completing 4 of his first 11 attempts. Alexander settled in and led the Panthers to one of their better drives of the game in the third quarter. However, the Panthers settled for a field goal, their only points of the game.

Photo by Zamani Feelings

“At the time we weren’t exactly sure whether or not it was his shoulder and it turned out to be a fractured collarbone,” said FIU head coach Butch Davis. “He couldn’t pick his arm up, he is such a tough kid but he’s gotten hit a lot of times scrambling, creating plays and some of the times on triple option plays, he gets up and he will shake it off. Clearly, it was the right call by our training staff and our medical people to take him out of the game.”

After the victory, it is hard to find one storyline to lead the story.  Maybe it could be quarterback Frank Nutile. Nutile, who was tapped midseason to quarterback a team and try to lead it to bowl eligibility, won the game’s MVP award for his two total touchdown performance. Another storyline could focus the fact that linebacker William Kwenkeu, who had to rush back to the team after obtaining his American citizenship Wednesday and have his best game as an Owl, a six tackle, two-sack game. Maybe it was the fact the senior class wanted to go out as the winningest class in Temple football history and was able to do it. It’s hard to choose one. One thing is for sure, this will go down as one of the best senior classes ever to go through North Philadelphia.

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Speed Sweep: Temple defeats Navy 34-26

(Photo courtesy of Zamani Feelings)

In a rematch of last year’s American Athletic Conference Championship game, the Temple Owls defeated the Navy Midshipmen Thursday night in front of a nationally-televised audience 34-26.

Collins Comments

“I’m proud of the team’s resiliency,” Collins said. “To hold an offense like that under to 136 yards rushing, I have to say hats off to the defensive staff and defensive players. They really did a great job defending the option.”

Collins said after the game that the Owls defense was down to two available cornerbacks and two available defensive tackles, a situation in which Navy took advantage of by cutting the Temple lead to one possession late in the fourth quarter.

(Photo courtesy of Zamani Feelings)

Nutile playing well as the starting quarterback

The Temple Owls offense looks different at it begins with the quarterback. In Frank Nutile’s second game as the starter, he looked very poised. He finished the game completing 73 percent of his passes (22 for 30) and amassing 289 yards and four touchdowns. Nutile has been taking what defense gives him and not forcing passes into precarious situations.

His decision making and accuracy have helped his receivers as of late. Adonis Jennings had a career-high 127 yards and two touchdowns. He along with Keith Kirkwood took advantage of the Navy cornerbacks playing off of the line of scrimmage. When the corners did come up, Nutile provided enough touch on the fade patterns and let the receivers have a chance to make a play. Keith Kirkwood also had a good game. Kirkwood finished with seven catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.

The run game is still a bit of an issue. Except for Isaiah Wright’s 29-yard run from another unique formation, Temple averaged less than three yards a run (2.78). The short passing game allowed the Owls receivers the opportunity to run with the ball after the catch, effectively making them long handoffs.

Play of the game

There have not been many opportunities for Temple to get its hands team on the field. However, in the fourth quarter and Navy attempting an onside kick with two minutes remaining, Keith Kirkwood recovered the ball. He may have even had a lane to return it but made the safe play and took a knee. Temple went on to run out the clock.

(Photo Courtesy of Zamani Feelings)

Worth Noting
Collins said in the post-game press conference that Ventell Bryant was not available for tonight’s game due to an internal matter.

Temple played a 3-4 for most of the game to try to attack the triple option. They also ran a few run blitzes and slanted the line once they began to figure out what Navy was starting to do.

What’s next

Sitting at 4-4, Temple now goes on the road Friday, Nov. 10 at Cincinnati. The Owls will have to win two of their next three games (Cincy, UCF and Tulsa) to become bowl eligible. Game time will be 7 p.m.