In the 100 days leading up to the kickoff of the college football season on Saturday, Aug. 25, HERO Sports is ranking the top 100 teams in the FBS. Each day, starting May 17 and ending Aug. 24, a new team is revealed in the HERO Sports Top 100.
No. 53 Temple
Temple has one of the better front sevens in the AAC, a stud at safety in Delvon Randall and may have found their short-term solution at quarterback during a late-season run that included four wins in their final five games.
Once again, they lost several all-conference players, but appear in better position to not only withstand those losses but potentially improve their win total.
2017 Record: 7-6 (4-4, American)
Two years after nearly beating Notre Dame in Philly, Temple was throttled by the Irish in Week 1, 49-16. And they narrowly avoided a disastrous start to the Geoff Collins era a week later by kicking a late field goal vs. Villanova after squandering a 13-point second-half lead.
Temple lost to a bad UConn team (at home) and their five regular-season FBS wins came against teams that won a combined 20 games, though this year was more of a stay-afloat transition year than anything else.
Head Coach: Geoff Collins (2nd Year, 7-6)
Collins was born in Georgia, played football at Western Carolina and spent 21 of the first 24 years of his coaching career in the southwest. So, yes, it was a surprise to see him take the Temple job, even if his predecessor Matt Rhule is one of his best friends and gushed about the opportunity.
A year later, Temple isn't coming off a third straight 10-win season but Collins did manage the transition well with seven wins and a third straight bowl game.
Temple's three previous head coaches all left for Power Five jobs. How long can they hang onto Collins?
WR Keith Kirkwood, WR Adonis Jennings, G Brian Carter, DE Sharif Finch, DE Jacob Martin, DT Julian Taylor, S Sean Chandler
Temple had zero players drafted from 2013-15. They've had eight players drafted in the last three years, including defensive end Jacob Martin (sixth round, Seahawks) and defensive tackle Julian Taylor (seventh round, 49ers) in April. Those two and Sharif Finch combined for 37.5 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks in 2017.
Offensively, one of their big-play receivers, Adonis Jennings is gone (17.7 yards per catch), as is Keith Kirkwood, a back-to-back 600-yard receiver who has an incredible story.
Returning Offensive Players
QB Frank Nutile, RB David Hood, RB Ryquell Armstead, WR Isaiah Wright, WR Ventell Bryant, C Matt Hennessy
Temple got behind early a lot, averaging just 3.2 points in the first quarter, 119th in the FBS, and with poor quarterback play for most of the first half and an often-stagnant run game, they rarely had the balanced offense to fight back.
Frank Nutile replaced Logan Marchi under center in late October and led the offense to 31.2 points per game over their final six games (19.4 in their first seven games). While he played poorly against good competition (17-for-40, two interceptions vs. UCF), the 6-foot-4, 225-pound pro-style passer looked comfortable in Dave Patenaude's fast-paced system and earned a revered single-digit jersey for his senior season.
The red-zone offense was poor, failing to score on 20 percent of their possessions and has been a major focus for Patenaude this offseason, particularly using senior running backs David Hood and Ryquell Armstead behind a Matt Hennessy-led line.
"At the end of the day, we’ve got to be able to power run the ball for a yard," Patenaude said in March. "You’ve got to be able to bang it in there. So, we’re really putting a lot of concentration on being able to line up and being able to power the ball.”
Leading receiver Isaiah Wright is back, as is 2016 leading receiver Ventell Bryant, though the Owls expect to go deep in search of targets of Frank Nutile.
"We are going to play six to seven guys," receivers coach Stan Hixon said.
Returning Defensive Players
DE Quincy Roche, DT Dan Archibong, LB Shaun Bradley, LB Sam Franklin, LB Chapelle Russell, S Delvon Randall
Most of Temple's defensive numbers worsened from 2016 but that was expected after the departures of Haason Reddick, Nate Hairston, three starting linebackers and several other key contributors. Still, their sack rate was sixth nationally and they allowed a respectable 4.3 yards per carry.
They also ranked 11th nationally with 7.8 tackles for loss per game. Six players had at least nine tackles for loss, three of whom return in Quincy Roche (11.5), Shaun Bradley (10) and Sam Franklin (9.5).
"[Roche] told me that they weren’t going to be able to block him,” safety Delvon Randall said before the UMass game, when Roche had three sacks and a forced fumble, “and he came out and proved it. … He came out, he was balling. He was a different breed today.”
Fellow sophomore Dan Archibong gives Temple a good mix of upperclassmen and rising youngsters that could apply as much pressure as any team in the conference. And in addition to Shaun Bradley and Sam Franklin, the linebacker group also returns Chapelle Russell, who's breakout sophomore season (before he missed the final four games with injury) included three 10-tackle games, including 13 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss vs. USF.
Delvon Randall, meanwhile, leads a secondary that lost three starters. Like most of last year, he was briefly banged up during spring practice but should be 100 percent by fall camp and is a rising draft prospect.
"The big thing with him is how intelligent he is, and his ability to anticipate,” Geoff Collins said in December. “He anticipates the quarterback and has unbelievable ball skills.”
CB Rock Ya-Sin
There aren't a lot of openings, as of now, in Temple's two-deep for new faces, but corner Rock Ya-Sin won't have any trouble making an instant impact after his transfer from Presbyterian. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior enrolled for the spring semester and was praised by the coaching staff.
“He can press the line. He can cover. He can tackle. He’s tough,” defensive backs coach Nathan Burton said in April. “I love the kid.”
After hosting Villanova in Week 1, Temple hosts old MAC foe Buffalo, whom they haven't met since the Owls left the conference for the Big East after the 2011 season.
They also play Boston College for the 37th time but the first time since 2004.
|Saturday, Sept. 1||vs. Villanova|
|Saturday, Sept. 8||vs. Buffalo|
|Saturday, Sept. 15||at Maryland|
|Thursday, Sept. 20||vs. Tulsa|
|Saturday, Sept. 29||at Boston College|
|Saturday, Oct. 6||vs. East Carolina|
|Saturday, Oct. 13||at Navy|
|Saturday, Oct. 20||vs. Cincinnati|
|Thursday, Nov. 1||at UCF|
|Saturday, Nov. 10||at Houston|
|Saturday, Nov. 17||vs. USF|
|Saturday, Nov. 24||at UConn|