Further review: Temple (Updated)

I remember saying to my colleague Kevin Gleason on the walk up to our parking lot Saturday that this year’s Temple team reminds me a lot of Rutgers teams of years past during the Ray Rice era. And after watching Temple’s 42-35 win over Army over and over, my hunch was correct. Temple is athletic at just about every position down to its offensive linemen, who were able to get out in space and obliterate Army linebackers.

Here’s more observations:

What led to Temple’s 29 straight points in the second half? Sure, Army’s pass coverage was bad but the defense’s tackling wasn’t any better. Angles to the ball weren’t the best and there was a major over pursuit on Matt Brown’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Army should have called for a review on a first quarter run by Temple quarterback Chester Stewart. The ball was jarred loose when Sean Westphal tackled Stewart and was out before his knees touched the ground. Stewart was ruled down on the play.

The roughing the punter penalty on Army’s Justin Schaaf in the second quarter looked legit. Army left its starting defense with returner Josh Jackson on the field for the next punt.

Not sure why Army called a slotback pass on first down on its first series after Temple tied the game at 28-28. But after Malcolm Brown ate the ball before Temple had the play covered, Army used a valuable timeout, its first of the second half. I wonder if there’s still some difficulty getting in plays from the sidelines.

It looked like right guard Seth Reed completely missed a block when Muhammad Wilkerson went unabated and sacked Steelman for a 12-yard loss to kill that drive. Army’s passing blocking in general wasn’t great. I know Army’s offensive line is built for running. But Steelman was running for his life too many times against Temple.

Jonathan Bulls had a great punt, a career-high 69 yards, which was downed at Temple’s 1. But Bulls’ 28-yard punt to midfield with Temple leading 35-28 really hurt. The snap was low. Sophomore Parker Whitten saw his first game action, long-snapping on punts. Carson Homme, Army’s regular long snapper, had a leg injury and was in for extra points and field goals.

Army slotback Pat Mealy looked a step slow in his first game back from a knee injury. Freshman Raymond Maples played most of the fourth quarter for Mealy.

Army senior strong safety Donnie Dixon didn’t start because of a hamstring injury but he ended up finishing the game for Jordan Trimble. Dixon played the last three defensive series.

Fullback Jared Hassin and the starting offensive line of center Zach Peterson, guards Frank Allen and Seth Reed and tackles Anees Merzi and Jason Johnson played every offensive snap. Freshman slotback Jon Crucitti, whose blocking was key in Army’s win over North Texas and Duke, didn’t play.

Dave Ryan said Army junior outside linebacker Andrew Rodriguez had back surgery and a full recovery should be expected. I believe the surgery was on Sept. 13.

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