TEMPLE HEADS TO WEST POINT TO TAKE ON ARMY
After coming up just short in a 28-24 Homecoming loss to UConn, Temple reorients itself to face off against its final non-conference opponent of the season, as Army hosts the Owls at Michie Stadium with the game set to kickoff at 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday and air nationally on CBSSN.
This past weekend, Temple (3-4, 1-3 American) fought division rival UConn to the final second, failing to convert on the final possession for a game-winning score. The Owls put together solid performances across the board, as redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi compiled his second career 300-yard passing game. The first-year starter continues to distribute the ball beyond expectations, as Marchi found 10 different receivers over the course of the matchup against the Huskies.
Defensively, the unit held a high-powered UConn offensive attack to just three touchdowns, with redshirt sophomore LB Chapelle Russell leading the team with 12 tackles, one for loss, and two forced fumbles. Junior S Delvon Randall continued to impress, picking up five tackles and a key interception early, while redshirt senior DB Artrel Foster grabbed four tackles and the Owls’ lone fumble recovery.
Looking ahead to Army (5-2), Temple aims to shake off the tough loss at home by taking advantage of its much-improved offensive firepower. Under the direction of Marchi, the Owls’ passing game has featured a catch by an average of 8.7 wide receivers per game, including a season-best 11 against UMass. Meanwhile, the ground game has finally found some traction behind RB David Hood, as the redshirt junior led a unit that compiled 135 yards versus the Huskies.
As for Army, the Black Knights have put together one of their best seasons in recent memory, pushing to within one win of bowl eligibility following this past weekend’s exciting victory over Eastern Michigan. With less a minute to go, EMU scored a game-tying touchdown but failed on an aggressive two-point conversion, allowing Army to maintain its lead and end the game, 28-27.
LAST TIME vs. ARMY
Temple’s most recent clash with Army came in last year’s season-opener, as the Black Knights rolled into Lincoln Financial Field and defeated the Owls, 28-13. Behind 329 yards on the ground, including 121 with two scores from then-sophomore Andy Davidson, Army controlled the clock and secured the win. Owls’ QB Phillip Walker threw for 168 yards and three interceptions, keeping Temple close until the Black Knights put the game away in the final period.
In the game, multiple current Owls notched strong performances, as then-sophomore RB Ryquell Armstead racked up 77 yards and one touchdown while then-junior DB Sean Chandler accumulated 10 tackles, including five solo.
The backend of the Temple defense – safeties Delvon Randall (#2) and Sean Chandler (#3) – has been one of Owls’ strongest links since season kickoff, anchoring a veteran unit in both the passing and rushing games. Chandler, the senior, entered the year having already reached eighth all-time in career interceptions (7) at Temple; during UConn’s opening drive, Randall tight-roped the sideline for his third pick of the season, vaulting to the same plateau as his teammate. In an unrelated note, the Randall interception marked his third on the season, with one coming in each of the past three games. The last time the program saw such a feat came in 2001, when Chonn Lacey grabbed one interception in each of Temple’s final three contests that year.
MARCHI-NG DOWN THE FIELD
Since taking over under center to start the season, redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi has impressed with his passing ability. For the first time in his career, the young quarterback compiled back-to-back 300-yard passing performances, first against ECU (321) and then UConn (356). The Temple program hasn’t seen such an air raid since 2010, when Mike Gerardi accomplished the same feat.
THE DESTABILIZATION EFFECT
In terms of destabilizing opposing offenses, the Owls have been particularly disruptive, tackling opponents for a loss on an average of eight times per game. On the year, Temple has racked up an impressive 56 tackles-for-loss totaling 237 yards, good for ninth nationally and first in the American Athletic Conference.
AHEAD AGAINST THE ACADEMIES
Temple has a long history on the gridiron against the east coast military academies, Army & Navy. Across 24 matchups dating back to 1943, the Owls currently stand a combined 13-11 against the Black Knights (7-5) and the Midshipmen (6-6). The most recent battle with an academy fell in Temple’s favor, as the Owls knocked off Navy, 34-10, in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game last season. As for Air Force, the third and final military academy, Temple has yet to schedule a game with the Falcons.
HAVING A BALL (STATE)
The Temple offense has faced off against two Army defensive staffers before – a 42-0 dismantling of Ball State in 2011. Black Knights’ DC Jay Bateman and defensive line coach Chad Wilt managed the Cardinals defense from 2011-13, giving up 350 rushing yards to the Owls in that loss. Following a three-year stint together at Ball State, Bateman jumped right to West Point while Wilt had a two-year hiatus at Maryland before joining the Black Knights’ coaching staff in 2016.
The Temple air raid continued to churn through opposing secondaries against UConn, compiling 356 yards and one touchdown as QB Logan Marchi notched a career-best. While putting together the ninth best passing performance in school history, Marchi never got hung up on a single wideout, as 10 different wide receivers pulled in a catch throughout the game. On the season, the passing game has averaged 8.7 wideouts per game with a reception (only Washington State at 10.0 averages more for schools having played seven games).
Army’s 174-man roster, arguably the most diverse in the nation with athletes from 29 of the 50 states, boasts three greater-Philadelphia natives. Star junior FB Andy Davidson, rushing for 365 yards and two touchdowns for the Black Knights this year, hails from Allentown, Pa., junior OL Jeff Panara comes from Hatboro, Pa. and freshman DL Karl Holler calls Chadds Ford, Pa. home.
The Owls receive a well-deserved bye week following the road trip before turning their attention to conference foe and Army rival Navy, facing the Midshipmen in a night game on Thursday, November 2.