Temple started its season off in grand fashion as they beat Vanderbilt 37-7 in a game that was delayed due to lightning. Getting a win on the opening day of college football is always a good thing, getting one against an SEC opponent is even better. The last time Temple had beaten an SEC opponent FDR was the president. Temple beat Florida back in 1938.
Up next for Temple is Navy at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. But before you look ahead to the home opener, you have to look back and see what helped Temple win against Vandy.
Though putting up 37 points is nothing to overlook, the aspect of the game that sticks out the most is holding Vanderbilt to seven points.
The seven points were scored on a botched punt attempt by Temple deep in their own zone. Other than that mistake on special teams Temple could do no wrong.
A big problem they had in 2013 was the kicking game, which after one game did its job to make the PAT after a Temple score.
But what looks to have improved the most is Temple’s defense.
In the first game they forced five fumbles, had three interceptions and capitalized on the turnovers by scoring 27 points off of them. The stat of the three interceptions is mind blowing for Temple fans since all of last year they only picked off three passes.
To do that in one game shows a turnaround that hopefully will stay with this team for the rest of the year.
But will Temple be able to duplicate the performance against an always tough Navy team? With the injuries that Temple suffered against Vandy will almost hinder their ability to do the same.
Free safety Alex Wells suffered a tear in his knee and will miss significant time. This leaves a big hole in the secondary for Temple, one of their biggest struggle. Nate L. Smith who would replace Wells at the free safety spot also got injured.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Owls most explosive receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick and John Christopher suffered injuries that hindered their practice time on Monday.
Coach Rhule and the Owls will need to have a healthy roster if they want to be a contender in this years season. Injuries one week into the year can change a game plan for the next week. With Navy and their triple option offense the secondary won’t be as influential but will be needed to help stop the run.
Look for Tyler Matakevich to have a big game as Temple will need to have a linebacker on Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds at all times. If anyone will step up to the plate it will most likely be Matakevich.