Sunday, November 17, 2013, 2:02 AM
Temple still has two games left in the regular season.
However, after Saturday's 39-36 loss to Central Florida, coach Matt Rhule addressed the offseason and said that upgrading the team's talent - especially on defense - is a huge priority.
Rhule said he wants to add more athletic playmakers to the mix. He wants to add better pass rushers and improve the secondary, both areas of weakness this season.
"That's my job in the offseason," Rhule said. "Now we still have games to play and keep getting better. But the offseason is the time to find the athletes that can help us in those situations."
Freshmen quarterback P.J. Walker and sophomore receiver Robby Anderson have excelled lately, and both said Saturday that it is a result of watching a lot of film together.
"Every night we are in the room watching film together for about an hour and a half," Anderson said. "He has trust in me, and I have trust in him, and it's starting to translate to the field."
Walker passed for four touchdowns and completed 26 of 44 passes for 382 yards. It's the third-highest total in team history behind Henry Burris' 445 and 392 yards in 1996. Walker also ran for a touchdown. Anderson caught eight passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns, one of them going for 75 yards.
The pair had another monster day together on Oct. 26, when the Owls fell to Southern Methodist, 59-49. In that game, Walker passed for 293 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 108 yards and another touchdown. Anderson caught nine passes for 239 yards, a school record, and two touchdowns.
As Temple posted its second-highest point total of the season, two Owls scored their first career touchdowns. Fifth-year senior tight end Chris Parthemore caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Walker with 2 minutes, 4 seconds left in the game. Parthemore then caught a two-point conversion pass to give Temple a short-lived 36-29 lead.
Sophomore running back Jamie Gilmore scored his first touchdown late in the second quarter, when he pulled in a 32-yard pass from Walker.
Temple's home finale against Connecticut on Saturday will kick off at 7 p.m.
Central Florida coach George O’Leary had nothing but praise for Temple Monday during his American Athletic Conference teleconference on Monday.
Central Florida (8-1), ranked 17h in the nation, needed a 23-yard field goal with time running out over the weekend to pull out a 39-36 victory over Temple, which fell to 1-9 on the season with two games left to play.
“As I told Matt [Temple coach Rhule] after the game, keep plugging away because good things are going to start happening,” O’Leary said. “You’ve got the kids playing with great effort and that’s half the battle, and I think he knows that.
“It’s when you don’t win and they start pointing fingers at each other when the problems happen,” O’Leary said. “But when it happens it’s going to happen in bunches for Temple. I think they are building a great foundation. Those wins will come, and if they continue with the coaching they have going on there they are going to have a really good football team.”
O’Leary said that while it has not been reflected in their record, the Owls have gotten better each week, especially since going to quarterback P.J. Walker. Walker completed 26 of 44 passes for 382 yards and four touchdowns. He rushed for another.
“I saw him come in at mid-season and they’ve done nothing but get better with him at the helm. He can do so many things with the ball; he did it against us,” O’Leary said. “He puts another back in that backfield that you have to be worried about. But he’s throwing the ball where it needs to be thrown and I think he’ s a tremendous athlete who gets the ball to the playmakers who need to have it in their hands.”
The Knights made a dramatic turnaround under O’Leary in his first two seasons. After going 0-11 in 2004, CFU went 0-11 to 8-5 and a bowl appearance in 2005.
The Owls, he says, are well coached.
“Defensively you’ve got to beat them because they don’t beat themselves,” O’Leary continued. “That means, in my opinion, that there is a lot of good coaching going on there.
Nov. 3, 2013
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - When Temple, leading by 20-16 with 1 minute, 50 seconds to play, failed to convert on fourth and 1 at the Rutgers 27 and turned the ball over to the Scarlet Knights, Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova felt confident.
"I had no doubt we were going to win the game once we got it back," said Nova, benched last week in a 49-14 loss to Houston. "I knew we were going to go down there and score. We just trusted the guys, and everyone was on the same page. We executed at the end."
Another wasted lead
After trailing at halftime in five of their first six games, the Owls led Rutgers by 13-3 at halftime to make it three games in a row that Temple has led at the half.
Last week, the Owls led Southern Methodist by 28-14 at halftime, and the week before that they held their biggest halftime lead of the season, by 26-0 over Army, in their lone win.
That lead again failed to hold up for the Owls, who are 1-8 for the first time since they started the 2006 season 1-8 and finished 1-11. That year, the Owls lost their first eight games before beating Bowling Green, 28-14.
"We have to put a full game together," freshman quarterback P.J. Walker said. "Leading at halftime would only mean something if we played games that lasted two quarters."
Walker completed 21 of 31 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns, with a pair of interceptions.
Tight end Chris Coyer had two receptions for 18 yards but ended the game on crutches after suffering an ankle injury. The Owls were uncertain how serious the injury was. The good news for Temple is that it doesn't play again until it hosts Central Florida on Nov. 16.
"Hopefully, it's not that bad, and he'll be able to return for us," coach Matt Rhule said. "We asked him to do a lot of different things all season. You want to see him finish strong."
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