Temple Owls: CFN College Football Preview 2021

·10 min read

College Football News Preview 2021: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Temple football season with what you need to know.

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– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Temple Schedule Analysis
– Temple Owls Previews
2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

2020 Record: 1-6 overall, 1-6 in AAC
Head Coach: Rod Carey, 3rd year, 9-11 (61-41 overall)
2020 CFN Final Ranking: 110
2020 CFN Preview Ranking: 71
2019 CFN Final Ranking: 54

Temple Owls College Football Preview 2021: Offense

Temple didn’t have a lick of luck. It had a hard time getting the season going, it had a hard time coming up with any consistency, it never seemed able to get any sort of flow, and the offense wasn’t able to do much of anything right.

It finished tenth in the conference averaging just 348 yards and 20 points per game, the running game wasn’t there, the passing game was woefully inefficient, and …

The pass protection was great. It was one of the few strong areas on the attack – the Owls allowed 12 sacks and a league-low 1.7 per game. That’s not anything to blow off – it’s a good base the rest of the offense needs to work around. Four starters are expected back with only new Colorado State Ram Vincent Picozzi gone at right guard.

Now the backs have to get more production without leading rusher Re’Man Davis. He left for Vanderbilt, but the Owls are bringing in two interesting talents in Iverson Clement from Florida and Ra’Von Bonner from Illinois. They’re both 200-pounders who can grind, and Tayvon Ruley is back after finishing second behind Davis – by only two yards – with 306 yards and a score.

Things just got really interesting at quarterback. Six Owls threw at least two passes last year, but now leading passer Anthony Russo is gone to Michigan State, Trad Beatty is off to Georgia Tech, and in comes D’Wan Mathis.

The 6-6, 205-pounder was the starter for a cup of coffee at Georgia last year, and now the one-time star recruit combines with former Iowa State big get Re-al Mitchell to try making the passing game go.

The guys are there in the receiving corps. This might not a high-powered attack to showcase his skills, but Jadan Blue is one of the AAC’s better receivers, and he’s not alone with four of the top five targets back. That includes tight end David Martin-Robinson, who caught 11 passes for 147 yards.

– What You Need To Know: Defense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Temple Schedule Analysis

NEXT: Temple Owls College Football Preview 2021: Defense

Temple Owls College Football Preview 2021: Defense

The defense had issues. The offense didn’t help the cause, but the D couldn’t get off the field easily enough allowing 37 points and 433 yards per game. There’s an interesting mix of talent returning, but it’s going to take a whole lot of work to crank up the production because …

The defensive front is undergoing an overhaul. Manny Walker was one of the team’s better pass rushers with seven sacks, but top sack guy Arnold Ebiketie is gone to Penn State. The line loses defensive tackles Ifeanyi Maijeh (Rutgers), Khris Banks (Boston College) and Daniel Armstrong (graduated), too.

300-pound senior Kevin Robertson is back on the inside after serving in a backup role, and the line is getting help from the transfer portal with DE Will Rodgers (Washington State) and DT Lancine Turay (North Carolina) about to push for jobs.

The linebacking corps is fine with the top guys back. Leading tackler William Kwenkeu is back in the middle after making 49 stops, and there’s size, athleticism, and options on the outside.

The secondary managed two or the team’s three picks, and it’s going to take a bit to get the corners up to speed. Linwood Crump and Christian Braswell are gone to Colorado State and Rutgers, respectively, but Northwestern’s Cameron Ruiz and UConn’s Keyshawn Paul are coming in to be a factor. Safeties Amir Tyler and Jalen Ware are veterans who can hit.

– What You Need To Know: Offense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Temple Schedule Analysis

NEXT: Temple Owls College Football Preview 2021: Top Players

Temple Owls College Football Preview 2021: Top Players

Best Temple Owls Offensive Player

WR Jadan Blue, Jr.
The hope is for one of the quarterbacks to be the star of the show, but no matter who it is, the receiving corps will be there to make it work. The 6-0, 185-pound Blue led the team with 41 catches for 371 yards and five scores, but he has the ability to make more big plays.

He earned all-AAC honors two years ago with 95 catches for close to 1,100 yards and four scores,

2. OT Isaac Moore, Jr.
3. QB D’Wan Mathis, RFr.
4. RB Tayvon Ruley, Sr.
5. OG Adam Klein, Jr.


Temple Football Schedule 2021, Analysis

Best Temple Owls Defensive Player

S Amir Tyler, Sr.
One of the better defenders over the last two years, he’s a steady veteran for a team that needs as many as it can get. He’s a good-sized 205-pound safety who came up with 85 tackles with nine broken up passes and three fumble recoveries over the last two seasons.

He missed what turned out to be the regular season finale against East Carolina, but he still finished third on the team in stops. He’ll be in the all-star mix as one of the team’s leading tacklers.

2. DE Manny Walker, Sr.
3. LB William Kwenkeu, Sr.
4. LB George Reid, Jr.
5. DE Will Rodgers, Sr.

Top Incoming Temple Owls Transfer

QB D’Wan Mathis, RFr.
He’s a great story that might have a happy ending with the Owls.

A great recruit for Georgia, the 6-6, 205-pounder got through an emergency brain surgery, recovered, and got the start to kick off last year for the Dawgs. He struggled in the win over Arkansas, was replaced, and now he’s in Philadelphia.

The talent and mobility are there, but he might need time to grow into the job. There could still be a Temple quarterback rotation – Re-al Mitchell is still going to be a factor in the race – but the upside is there to be special.

– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Keys To The Season
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Temple Schedule Analysis

NEXT: Temple Owls College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season

Temple Owls College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season

Temple Owls Biggest Key: Offense

Crank the passing game up. With no due respect, if you struggled throwing the ball against East Carolina and UCF last season, you had an issue.

Temple’s offense had plenty of issues.

The passing attack worked early on, but it got progressively worse, and then it fell off the map. The Owl O that threw four touchdown passes against USF and Memphis managed just two in the final four games, none in three of those four, and couldn’t get anything working down the field.

That’s mainly because starter Anthony Russo was done after the first three games and Temple couldn’t find the right solution. If Mitchell can settle in, or if D’Wan Mathis can be the answer, the receivers are there to make it all go.

Temple Owls Biggest Key: Defense

The pass defense has to be better. It did a decent job of holding most teams from getting into a groove – it allowed teams to hit just 57% of their passes – but it gave up way too many big plays.

The D came up with just three picks, struggled with third down stops, and after the rough year and combined with 2019, it has yet to come up with more than one interception in any game in the Rod Carey era.

The Owl defense two seasons ago gave up ten yards per throw to UCF. That was the only time it allowed more than 8.5 yards per pass, and it gave up an average of 6.3 per pass on the year.

2020? The D gave up 9.2 yards per pass and allowed over 8.3 yards per throw in every game but the win over USF.

Tulane, SMU and UCF combined for over ten yards per throw, and only Navy – the run only team only threw two passes – failed to throw two touchdown passes or more.

Temple Owls Key Player To A Successful Season

DT Kevin Robertson, Sr.
And/or former North Carolina transfers Lancine Turay and Xach Gill, and/or a slew of freshmen who need to rise up in the middle of the Owl defense.

The offense is experienced and will be better – the passing game will be stronger. The defensive back seven returns enough veterans to be fine, and the ends are good enough.

Now Temple has to rebuild the front wall after losing the top tackles to the transfer portal or graduation, and it’s going to be a battle.

At 6-2 and 300 pounds, the former JUCO transfer has the size the Owls need, he has a few games under his belt, and now he – and a few other parts – have to be factors.

Temple Owls Key Game To The 2021 Season

Memphis, Oct. 2
Temple will be 2-2 to start the season. It’s almost certainly going to lose to Rutgers and Boston College and beat Akron and Wagner. If there’s an upset against either of the Power Fivers, great.

And then the American Athletic Conference season kicks off with a bang. Beat Memphis at home, or it’s going to be a rough run with a trip to Cincinnati to follow, kicking off a run of three road games in four dates.

The Owls and Tigers are 2-2 in the last four meetings.

Temple Owls Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

2020 Temple Owls Fun Stats

– 3rd Quarter Scoring: Opponents 82 – Temple 26
– Time of Possession: Temple 32:15 – Opponents 27:44
– Fumbles: Opponents 18 (lost 9) – Temple 8 (lost 3)

NEXT: Temple Owls College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction

Temple Owls College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction

It’s going to get lost in the fog of 2020 that Temple football is better than 1-6.

Blow off last year.

Everyone had to go through the global pandemic, and everyone had issues. It’s not that Temple wasn’t able to deal with them, but it couldn’t get its season going – Navy was playing for a month before it got the Owls in their opener – and it showed.

Again, it’s going to be forgotten in all the attention paid to Cincinnati, UCF, and the potential rise this year of Houston and others, but Temple has been a factor in the AAC for a while.

The program that couldn’t do anything right for a long, long time had five straight winning seasons before 2020 and hadn’t had a losing campaign since 2014.

Set The Temple Owls Regular Season Win Total At … 6

That’s not to say the Owls are going to rip through the conference and take it over, but it’s got enough in the bag to be the thorn-in-the-side team that screws things up for others with giant dreams.

If the quarterback situation can be better and more settled – there should be an improvement – and if the defensive line can reload in a hurry, Temple can beat Akron and Wagner in non-conference play and get through at least four wins in the AAC season.

And it shouldn’t be a shock.

Temple is good, head coach Rod Carey is good, and the program will get things back on track.

– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
Temple Schedule Analysis

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