Season Report Card: Temple
That was the case in coach Matt Rhule’s inaugural year with the Temple Owls, who finished 2-10 (1-7 AAC) for a last-place tie with Memphis in the American.
Temple has been on a sharp decline since Al Golden left in 2010, going 9-4 (5-3 MAC) in 2011 but just 6-17 (3-12) from ’12-13. There was a lot to be desired in Rhule’s first season after he inherited a talented roster left by Steve Addazio.
Here’s Temple’s season report card for 2013:
Points scored against bowl-eligible opponents: 17.0. Against everyone else: 32.8. Temple has something to work with in freshman quarterback P.J. Walker, who threw for 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions in eight starts this season. If Rhule can build an offensive line to protect him and place a few playmakers around him, he should continue to develop nicely.
The Owls finished 108th in the FBS in total defense, unable to slow the passing game down due to lack of depth in the secondary and the inability to get pressure on quarterbacks. Teams found the end zone 24 times through the air and threw just three interceptions all season—a horrendous stat for the Temple back seven.
Special Teams: C
Temple owned one of the better punt coverage teams in the country, ranking 22nd in punt return defense and 12th in net punting. However, it only made three field goals all season long and struggled in the kickoff department.
An easy argument to make here is that Temple greatly underachieved, and that’s putting it lightly. By no means did Golden nor Addazio leave the cupboard dry for Rhule—both putting together strong recruiting classes before they left—and there was definitely more than enough ammunition to beat Fordham, Idaho and Connecticut. 16 starters returned from a very young 4-7 team, and there’s no excuse for the kind of losses Temple suffered.
Sure, the Owls lost seven games by 10 points or less—but anytime you lose to an FCS program (albeit a good one) and Idaho (which might as well be considered FCS at this point), you deserve a failing grade.
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