Look out Big East, these Temple Owls are winners.
Matt Brown ran for 141 yards and a long score, Chris Coyer had a touchdown passing and rushing, and Temple beat Villanova 41-10 on Friday night in its first game since returning to a conference that kicked them out eight years ago.
"I wanted us to establish that toughness and see us play that smash-mouth football," coach Steve Addazio said, pumping his fist for emphasis. "And, we did."
The Owls won their third straight Mayor's Cup — presented to the winner of this city rivalry — in the finale of this series played before 32,709 fans at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles.
These clearly aren't the same Owls who used to be a pushover and were booted out of the Big East in 2004. Al Golden turned the program around before bolting for Miami, and Addazio kept it rolling last year in the MAC.
Addazio led Temple to a 9-4 record and the second bowl victory in school history, a 37-15 rout of Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl.
The Owls picked up where they left off last December, dominating inferior Villanova from start to finish as Bill Cosby, the most famous of Temple alums, looked on.
Coyer connected with Kenneth Harper on an 8-yard shovel pass for a score to put Temple up 7-0 on their first possession. Coyer threw just three passes during the 14-play drive, completing all of them for 30 yards.
"We executed very well the first drive made a lot of really good reads," Coyer said. "Then we had some hiccups."
The Wildcats answered on the ensuing possession, driving down to Temple's 3. But they couldn't push it in and settled for Mark Hamilton's 21-yard field goal.
Temple went up 14-3 when Vaughn Carraway intercepted Chris Polony's pass and returned it 58 yards for a TD.
"We're a young defense and we're gonna get better," Carraway said.
Another turnover two plays later set up Coyer's 19-yard TD run that made it 21-3, and the rout was on.
Just when it seemed Villanova had gained momentum going into the half on John Robertson's 5-yard TD run late in the second quarter, the Owls struck back 43 seconds later.
Brown burst through the line and sprinted 56 yards for a score to make it 28-10 with 21 seconds left in the half.
"I think they broke our back with that run," Villanova coach Andy Talley said.
Harper had a 38-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Temple's Spencer Reid, son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, entered late in the game and carried three times for 4 yards. Andy Reid and his wife Tammy were there to greet their son afterward.
An energized crowd — the third-largest for Temple at the Linc — showed up hours before kickoff to tailgate in the parking lots. Once they made it inside, the maroon-and-white portion of the fans had plenty to cheer about.
Temple had 10 seasons of one or two victories spanning their Big East years of 1991-2004. The Owls were forced out of the conference after 13 years for failing to meet minimum requirements for membership, most notably in attendance, facilities and fielding a competitive team.
Temple played as an independent and eventually landed in the Mid-American Conference in 2007. While there, it turned its program around and ran off winning seasons the past three years.
The Owls rejoined the Big East for football in March and all other sports in 2013. They'll host South Florida on Oct. 6 in their first conference game. -- (AP)
When Temple and Villanova clash tonight in the Mayor’s Cup, Steve Addazio, Owls head coach, is expecting a big game from the Wildcats in this local matchup at Lincoln Financial Field. Addazio feels the Wildcats bring a lot of experience into this contest, which will begin at 7 p.m.
“We’re playing a Villanova team that obviously, last year, was a very inexperienced team,” Addazio said. “Now, they return eight starters on offense and 10 on defense. That’s a team coming back with all their guys. They got No. 8 Norman White who is an outstanding receiver. He’s a pro talent. He’s a big guy. He can go up and catch the ball and make plays on you. He’s a real threat.
“Chris Polony is their quarterback. He’s a guy who gets them in the right place. He brings consistency to their offense. He gets the ball to Norman White and players that can make plays. Austin Medley is their running back. He really came on at the end of last year. He’s a talented guy. They got a better offensive line coming back.
“On defense, Ronnie Akins is their safety. Their nose guard Antoine Lewis and their linebacker Dillon Lucas and Devon Bridges is a linebacker who runs like heck to the ball. I’m impressed with them.”
A year ago, Temple handled Villanova very easily, 42-7. The Wildcats did struggle with a lot of youth and inexperience last year. They finished the season with a 2-9 overall record. Villanova should be one of the top teams in the CAA this season, which happens to be one of the best FCS conferences in the nation.
Temple is coming off a 9-4 overall and a 5-3 record in the MAC (second East) in Addazio’s first year. In addition, Temple defeated Wyoming, 37-15, to win the New Mexico Bowl last season.
The Owls will miss running back Bernard Pierce who is a rookie for the Baltimore Ravens. Pierce surpassed Paul Palmer to end his collegiate career as the school’s all-time scoring leader with 324 points. Pierce also had 273 carries for 1,481 yards and 27 touchdowns. Temple will have to replace him. It looks as if they will use two running backs to bolster that ground attack with Matt Brown and Montel Harris.
Harris transferred to Temple for his fifth and final season of eligibility. He received his degree in communications from Boston College. The ACC’s all-time career rusher (3,735 yards), Harris leads all returning BCS players in career rushing yards.
Brown played extremely well last season. He had 916 yards and six touchdowns on 155 carries. Brown has been named to the All-Purpose Trophy Watch List. The 5-foot-5 running back handles kickoff and punt returns.
Offensively, the Owls will be led by junior quarterback Chris Coyer, who was named the Offensive MVP of the New Mexico Bowl completing 8-of-12 passes for 169 yards and rushed for 71 yards in the team’s victory. Temple also has junior signal caller Clinton “Juice” Granger from George Washington High. Granger provides the Owls with plenty of depth at quarterback.
This marks the 33rd meeting between the Owls and the Wildcats since 1908, renewing a 102-year old cross-town rivalry. The game is the last in a series of four Mayor’s Cup games. The Wildcats hold a 16-14-2 series advantage.
NOTES: Temple’s 2012 class of signees — three draftees in running back Bernard Pierce, tight end Evan Rodriguez and linebacker Tahir Whitehead and nine rookie free agents — set the school record for the largest NFL signing with 12 players.
Temple has certainly hired a coach who knows a lot about the football program. Matt Rhule was named the Owls new head football coach on Monday. Rhule, who has 15 years of coaching experience on the college and pro levels, will take the reins on North Broad Street.
Moreover, Rhule, a State College, Pa. native, and former Penn State player, is familiar with Temple football. He has 14 years of collegiate coaching experience, including six years at Temple and six bowl games—two with the Owls. Rhule most recently served as the assistant offensive line coach with the New York Giants. As soon as the season is over, he’ll be at Temple on a regular basis.
But Rhule, 37, knows most of the players. He recruited several of them. And they’re excited to have him as their head coach.
“He was the coach here for six years before this,” said Chris Coyer, Temple quarterback. “He’s a coach who has been very endearing to a lot of players. A lot of the guys on the team love him. We all felt that he was the right guy for the job.”
During his previous tenure with the Owls, his role changed on several occasions. Last spring, he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator after serving as the assistant offensive coordinator and tight ends coach as well as the recruiting coordinator under Steve Addazio in 2011. Addazio recently left Temple to become the head coach at Boston College. Temple’s 2012 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference. Rhule helped to lay the foundation for the program’s transition to the Big East Conference.
Under former Temple coach Al Golden, Rhule was promoted to offensive coordinator in the spring of 2008. He also coached the Owls quarterbacks. He coached the defensive line in 2006 and served as the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
In 2011, the Owls posted a 9-4 record and played in their fourth bowl game in school history, the New Mexico Bowl, where Temple defeated Wyoming, 37-15. It was the school’s first postseason win since the 1979 Garden State Bowl. Rhule mentored two-time first-team All-MAC selection tight end Evan Rodriguez. For the second time in his tenure, the Owls set the school single-season rushing yardage record and rushing touchdowns record behind the explosive efforts of All-MAC running backs Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown.
In 2010, he led the offense to the largest margin of victory in a MAC game. Rhule helped the team post an 8-4 regular-season record. The Owls put together two consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1978-79, including their first win over a BCS team.
In 2009, Rhule’s offense helped the Owls win a single-season record nine consecutive games en route to a 9-4 overall mark and a first place tie in the MAC East. Under his tutelage, the Owls set the Temple single-season rushing yardage record.
In 2008, he started as offensive coordinator, guiding Temple to its most wins in nearly 20 years. The Owls out-scored their opponents for the season for the first time since 1990. Bruce Francis, former Owls wide receiver, set school records for career receiving touchdowns (23) and consecutive games with a reception.
Rhule came to Temple from Western Carolina, where he was an assistant for four years. The Owls new head coach will try to get the team back on the winning track. Temple finished the season with a 2-5 league mark and a 4-7 overall record.
The players are happy to have him back. Rhule is happy to be back at Temple, too. Pretty soon he’ll have a chance to hit the recruiting trail in the Philadelphia area.
“It will always start right here in our footprint and really right here within the city itself,” Rhule said. “My philosophy is going to be this. We’re going to recruit and relentlessly recruit everybody within this one hour radius.”
If Rhule can do that, he’ll be off to a good start as Temple’s head football coach.
Matt Brown is a little man who has attracted some big time recognition. Brown, Temple’s quick-footed running back, has been named to the 2012 Paul Hornung Award Watch List. Now, in its third year, the award is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission and football legend Paul Hornung.
He is one of 49 players named to this prestigious list. He’s also one of the smallest running backs in the country at 5-foot-5, 165 pounds.
Brown, a two-time, All-MAC selection, played in all 13 Owls’ games with two starts last fall. He was the Owls’ second leading rusher with 916 yards on 155 carries while scoring six touchdowns. He was Temple’s top kickoff returner with 703 yards and a TD on 28 returns and best punt returner with 182 yards on 18 returns on the season.
“Matt is a hard worker that really likes football,” said Steve Addazio, Temple head coach. “He loves ball. He loves to compete. Those are the strengths of Matt Brown and he has the ability. He’s certainly a guy who will make his mark this year.”
Chris Coyer, Owls quarterback, knows Brown is a player who can make a lot of plays on the ground. Coyer also knows that size is not a factor in terms of the way Brown plays football.
“Matt may be a little guy, but he plays bigger than anyone I’ve ever seen,” Coyer said. “He’s one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with. When he’s on the field, he’s a tough guy who can take the load and take the hits and give a few hits. He’s just been a tremendous competitor ever since I’ve been on this team.”
Brown is impressed with the latest honor, which puts him in a special category for college football running backs. Although he’s pleased with the recognition, he plans to keep his sleeves rolled up.
“I’m just going to keep working,” Brown said. “I’m going to keep on working to get better. I just want to get better. That’s my thoughts. I just put my head down. I’m determined. I try to perfect my craft. I try to improve my weaknesses. I watch a lot of film. I just try to work on everything.
Brown played in the same backfield with Bernard Pierce, Owls brilliant running back. Pierce finished his Temple career with 653 carries for 3,570 yards and 53 rushing TDs. He caught 19 passes for 178 yards and one TD. He was selected as the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year. Pierce, former Glen Mills star, was selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
Brown will pick up a lot of Pierce’s carries. He will be the Owls major threat on the ground. Brown has some big shoes to fill. He seems to be up for the challenge providing the Owls with a great rushing attack. Brown keeps in touch with Pierce, who is currently in the Ravens training camp.
“I’ve been in contact with him a couple times,” Brown said. “We’ve met up a few times. We’ve been talking. I was asking him how he was doing out there. He was giving me feedback. I’m doing whatever I can do to get to where he is. He plays for the Ravens. That’s my hometown team. He’s in my hometown. I’m in his hometown.”
Brown, a Baltimore native, will be playing in a big hometown game for a lot of local fans in Philadelphia in a few weeks. Temple opens the season with Villanova in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup on Friday, August 31 at Lincoln Financial Field at 7 p.m.
“It’s definitely a big game,” Brown said. “It’s a cross-town rival. It’s going to be an exciting game. Every year, it’s been an exciting game.”
NOTE: The 2012 watch list is comprised of 25 seniors, 16 juniors and eight sophomores, representing 44 universities and 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The selection committee comprised of 16 national sports journalists and former college and NFL players, will narrow the field to a small group of finalists in early December. The winner will be selected in early January from among the finalists following the bowl season.
Spring practice is a time when college football players get a chance to get in shape and prepare for the upcoming season. Temple held its annual Cherry & White Game at Lincoln Financial Field last Saturday and backup quarterback Clinton “Juice” Granger had an opportunity to showcase his talents.
Granger, former George Washington High star, completed 14-of-20 passes for 125 yards and one interception. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior, displayed some good mobility in the pocket and did a nice job of throwing on the run as the Cherry nipped the White, 17-10. Granger feels pretty good about what he’s been able to do this spring.
“I was able to get a knowledge of the plays,” Granger said. “They put a lot in and I wanted to master the plays. I just wanted to learn the playbook. I feel good about my ability just knowing what I have to do.”
Chris Coyer is the Owls starting quarterback. Coyer helped Temple finish with a 9-4 overall and 5-3 record in MAC play following a 37-15 win over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl. The ex-Public League standout gives the Owls good depth at quarterback.
Granger displayed flashes of his playing days at George Washington High in the spring game. He was a big time player in the Public League. He led GW to the 2007 league championship.
“My game has grown a lot,” Granger said. “I’m more mature. I know the position more. I’m studying film more. The game is slowing down for me. It’s a growing process.”
After his scholastic career, he played at Pierce College, a junior college in Los Angeles. In 2010, he threw for 1,176 yards and 10 touchdowns while rushing for 200 yards and tallying five TDs in seven games.
Granger is one of three players from GW on the Temple football roster. The others include wide receiver Daquan Cooper and linebacker Brandon Chudnoff. They all played for head coach Ron Cohen.
“It feels good,” Granger said. “It feels like I’m home with all these guys. I had family, friends and coaches. It’s a good atmosphere. It’s good to be back in Philly.”
Granger isn’t the only GW quarterback playing college football. Aaron Wilmer is a major star at QB for Delaware Valley College. Wilmer led GW to the 2008 Public and city championship.
“He had a big year,” Granger said. “He had an explosive, exciting year. It was something that I knew he was capable of doing. When I actually signed with Temple, he gave me a call. That was good because he supports me and I support him.”
Temple will be playing in the Big East Conference this season. The Owls will open the season with cross-town rival Villanova in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup on Aug. 31 at Lincoln Financial Field.
It is always good to have a playmaker in the backfield. The Temple Owls have one with running back Matt Brown, who is capable of making a big play at any time. Brown put on a great performance in Temple’s 41-10 victory over Villanova in last week’s Mayor’s Cup.
He had 19 carries for 145 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown run. Brown should be a key player again when Temple (1-0) hosts Maryland (1-0) on Saturday, Sept. 8 at Lincoln Financial Field. The kickoff will be at noon.
Chris Coyer, Temple quarterback, will be able to hand the ball off to one of the Big East Conference’s smallest, but most explosive rushers. The 5-foot-5, 165-pound senior, is off to a great start.
“He’s a tough guy,” Coyer said. He’s one of the most fierce competitors I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with. So, I’m really excited about the way he’s playing. It’s his versatility, his energy and leadership on the field. He leads by example and plays hard on every snap.”
Brown is one of four players named to the Paul Hornung Weekly Honor Roll. He leads the Big East in rushing, and recorded the 10th 100-yard performance of his career in the win over Villanova. He had a career-high four punt returns for a career-high 84 yards, including a 45-yard best in the fourth quarter. He also returned three kickoffs for 41 yards.
Brown is No. 3 in all-purpose running (270.00), No. 9 in punt returns (21.00) and No. 14 in rushing (145.00). Temple has 12 players on its roster from Maryland. Brown grew up in Baltimore. This is a big game for him.
A year ago, Temple defeated Maryland, 38-17 at Byrd Stadium. Bernard Pierce, who is a rookie running back for the Baltimore Ravens, had a big game for the Owls in that win. Pierce had 32 rushes for 149 yards while scoring four touchdowns. Brown wasn’t too shabby in that contest either. He had 12 carries for 75 yards. Maryland got its first win last week with a 7-6 victory over William & Mary. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
Clinton “Juice” Granger, Temple’s senior quarterback, had an impressive performance in the Owls Cherry and White spring football game in a losing effort. Granger, former George Washington High star, completed 26-of-44 passes for 302 yards including three touchdowns and one interception. The White squad defeated the Cherry, 34-28, last Saturday in front of 3,530 fans at Edberg-Olson Hall.
Granger displayed a strong arm in this contest. He hit redshirt freshman wide receiver Nathan Hairston with a 62-yard TD pass. Hairston had six receptions for 132 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Romond Deloatch was the game’s leading receiver. Deloatch had 13 receptions for 87 yards and a 16-yard score.
Granger wasn’t the only standout in the spring game. Senior Chris Coyer had two touchdown catches from junior quarterback Connor Reilly to help the White squad. Reilly completed 25-of-41 passes for 366 yards and four TDs. Junior running back Kenny Harper had a two-yard touchdown run. Harper was also the leading rusher for the White squad.
On the defensive side, redshirt freshman linebacker Haason Reddick was the top defensive player for the White. Reddick had eight tackles and two breakups. Senior linebacker Olaniyi Adewole had five total and four solo tackles.
For Cherry, sophomore running back Jamie Gilmore led the rushing efforts with eight carries for 25 yards. Sophomore linebacker Tyler Matakevich led all defensive players with nine solo tackles and a break-up. Daquan Cooper, a junior defensive back, had six total tackles. Cooper played his scholastic football at George Washington High School. The former Public League standout had a big game in the secondary. Freshman defensive back Jihaad Pretlow had six total tackles.
The Owls will open the season at Notre Dame on August 31. Temple’s home opener is set for Sept. 7 at Lincoln Financial Field with Houston in American Athletic Conference action.