By Dave Willauer | Contributing Writer
Photos by John DeMatteo coming soon
Philadelphia, PA – It took longer than new Temple head coach Matt Rhule thought he would pick up his first win.
But the win had to be much sweeter, as Temple’s first win of the season came on their homecoming game. The Owls won 33-14 yesterday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field.
“Obviously I’m happy,” said Rhule. “I’m more happy for my son and my wife, because they live it every day. My son lives it every day. I’m thrilled, but I have to be honest. I’m more thrilled for our players. There were kids out there starting [yesterday] that started the year on the scout team. Those kids have been through it and they weathered the storm, and they have come back and worked and worked and worked. That to me is how you build something. You build something with work ethic, and eventually that results in wins. Obviously, I’m excited. At about 10 o’clock [last night], I’m going to start on SMU. I’m more happy for them because had we knocked that ball down against Fordham, we wouldn’t have earned that win. They earned that win against a tough, physical, hard-nosed Army team.”
Rhule returned to the Owls program after being with the New York Giants coaching staff last season. He replaced Steve Addazio, who resigned from the Owls head coaching job to take the Boston College head football coaching job.
The win has snapped a seven game losing streak and a six game losing streak at home, which both losing streaks had dated back to last season.
The Army Black Knights (3-5) have never won at Lincoln Financial Field, including games against Navy and Temple. The Black Knights are 0 and 11 in their games at the Linc since 2004, and they will return in December to face Navy on December 14th, as they attempt to stop a decade long losing streak to Navy.
The Black Knights scored two straight touchdowns after Temple was up 33-0 in the third quarter. Kelvin White threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Laird to make it 33-7.
Then, in the fourth quarter, White scored on a 1-yard rushing touchdown to make it 33-14.
Zaire Williams had a 15-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter, which was the Owls only score of the second half. Nate D. Smith would recover a 19-yard fumble to make it 26-0 in the second quarter.
“I got really hands-on with the inside linebackers this week,” said coach Rhule. “It was really fun for me to get involved with them again because that’s kind of my original position. Nate has always been tremendous against the run, and as we go to SMU, we’ll see if we can get him that way versus the pass. He went out as our game captain, and for a kid that was suspended for the spring game and to now be a game captain for our first win, I think that shows you the development and the maturity that he is having. Before you can win, you have to have some discipline and you have to have some accountability. He’s buying in and it resulted in the kid making a play and running the ball back. He would not come out of the game. Even at the end of the game, he wanted to stay in the game. I’m proud of him.”
P.J. Walker threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to John Christopher to make it 20-0, before the PAT failed. Walker also threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Fitzpatrick to put the Owls up 14-0.
“We’ve been practicing that play all week,” said Walker of his pass to Fitzpatrick. “We called it just to ensure that we would make a big play. I wasn’t going to take anything less. Jalen went out there, beat the guy on the stutter and kept it running; I saw him out there open. I had to make a perfect throw and Jalen made a great catch and the O-line did a great job protecting.”
Kenneth Parker added a one-yard rushing touchdown to put the Owls up 7-0.
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