2022 Temple Owls Preview

by Matt Fargo

Temple Owls

2021-22 Season Record 3-9 (1-7 American) - 2-10-0 ATS - 7-5-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 7
Defense - 6

Overview

Well that did not go as planned. Former head coaches Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins put Temple back on the map with a combined 41-23 record from 2014-2018 and Rod Carey, who turned Northern Illinois into a force in the MAC, was brought in to keep it going and he did for one season with an 8-5 record in 2019 but the wheels fell off quickly as the Owls went 4-15 the last two seasons. After a 3-2 start last season, Temple closed with seven straight losses, all by 20 or more points and the writing was on the wall before the season ended as the team quit on Carey. Stan Drayton takes over after a five-year stint at Texas where he was associate head coach but has never been a coordinator let alone a head coach yet has worked under some great ones from winning programs. It is not a complete rebuild but this is more about turning around the culture that went south fast. 

Offense

Since Collins left the program, the offense has regressed each season, bottoming out last year averaging just 286.9 ypg and 16.3 ppg which were No. 125 and No. 127 in the country respectively. The Owls were awful in both the running and passing games and there is no where to go but up. Quarterback D'Wan Mathis showed promise last season but was unable to stay on the field as he missed two games early as well as the final three games so keeping him healthy is goal number one. That will be the priority of the offensive line that has three starters back and needs to improve its pass protection after allowing 29 sacks last season and the rotation is strengthened with incoming transfers. Two of the top three receivers are back and more plays need to be made downfield which can be accomplished by establishing a running game led by Edward Haydee who had just 321 yards.

Defense

The defense has been gashed over the last two seasons, allowing close to 38 ppg and an inability to stop the run where they gave up nearly 5.0 ypc. Last season, the Owls were No. 82 in total defense but that is skewed as opposing offenses just killed the clock by running the ball which gave the defense a misleading ranking of No. 5 against the pass as it simply was not thrown on very often. Fixing the defensive line is the main concern and it will not be an easy repair as the rotation is young and lacking experience so it will be up to the linebackers to help cause disruption in the backfield after registering just 17 sacks.  Jordan Magee and Kobe Wilson combined for 104 tackles last season but had just one sack between them. The secondary lost safety Amir Tyler who was the leading tackler but Alex Odom and his 65 tackles is back along with a group of corners that was never really tested.

2022 Season Outlook

It was shocking to see a team move to 3-2 on the season with an upset over Memphis to completely imploding on both sides of the ball, getting outscored 42.7-8.4 over the final seven games. Enter Drayton who has his hands full in getting his team back in the moment and not dwelling on the end of last season. Helping out is a very favorable early schedule that can get the confidence brewing. Temple travels to Duke for the season opener and then hosts Lafayette, Rutgers and Massachusetts to close September. The conference schedule is tough with three difficult road games at revenge minded Memphis, Central Florida and Houston and getting Tulsa, Cincinnati and East Carolina at home is no walk in the park either. The O/U win total is 2.5 and while Temple will likely be staying home during bowl season, the nonconference schedule is good enough to snatch three victories. 

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