Game 522: The Temple Owls shut out UConn Huskies, 21-0; One step closer to AAC East title

The Temple Owls shut out UConn Huskies, 21-0

East Hartford, Connecticut – The Temple Owls got off to a quick 21-0 lead with :20 remaining in the first quarter.  Thereafter, they dominated the UConn Huskies (3-7, 1-5) defensively to keep the score intact for the 21-0 finale.  UConn started Frosh QB Donovan Williams in place of Soph Bryant Shirreffs who started every previous game.  HC Bob Diaco hoped that the change would spark some offense after three straight losses.  It didn’t work.  The win keeps the Owls ahead of South Florida who they defeated two weeks ago for the AAC East because of their head-to-head win as the 2016 regular season winds down. 

Temple Owls WR Ventell Bryant picks up yardage on one of his four receptions for 82 yards.

Temple Owls WR Ventell Bryant picks up yardage on one of his four receptions for 82 yards.

      For Collegefootballfan.com, Guest Game Analyst Matt Wylie (Suffolk University) and I were waylaid by traffic conditions from Stamford to East Hartford.  Typically Fridays are a bad night for travel in Connecticut, but conditions were exasperated by an earlier vehicular fire on I-95 that forced us to take a chance on the Merritt Parkway.  On I-91, an accident about 8 miles from Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, home of the Huskies, caused lane closures that delayed us an extra half hour.  Matt and I took our seats with the Temple Owls ahead leading already, 14-0.  I used reports off the ESPN website to find out what we missed before we got there for this report. 

Temple Owl RB Ryquell Armstead (25) led all rushers with 133 yards in the game.

Temple Owl RB Ryquell Armstead (25) led all rushers with 133 yards in the game.

     We missed two Temple Owl drives finished with touchdown passes from QB PJ Walker to RB Jahad Thomas, former teammates at Elizabeth, NJ High school.    The first Owl drive resulted in a 23-yard TD pass, and their second finished with Thomas (73 yards receiving, two TDs, 83 yards rushing on 16 carries) hauling it in from ten yards away.  Walker (12 of 18 for 215 yards, three TDs, two INTs) completed his first eight passes of the evening.   We just missed UConn’s subsequent drive led by Williams that resulted in a missed 45-yard FG.  Leading 14-0, Temple started its next possession from its 23. Enter Collegefootballfan.com.  With :20 left in the first period, TE Romond Deloatch caught a pass over the middle and ran it in for an 18-yard TD and the 21-0 lead.  It looked like the game was going to be blow-out.

P.J. Walker fires down field to lead his Temple Owls to a 21-0 win over UConn.

P.J. Walker fires down field to lead his Temple Owls to a 21-0 win over UConn.

     UConn’s offense continued to sputter despite the change at QB.  Along the sideline, Diaco continuously shouted encouragement and clapped his hands hoping to see some improvement.  Despite Diaco’s optimism, the Temple Owls outgained the Huskies in total offense by the end of the game 431 yards to 160.   Williams accounted for 69 passing yards (12 for 21) and 66 rushing yards on 16 carries despite five sacks by the Owls.  RB Ryquell Armstead accounted for 133 Temple rushing yards on 20 carries. 

UConn Safety Obi Melifonwu (20) nabs a Temple Owl pass in the end zone to turn the ball over.

UConn Safety Obi Melifonwu (20) nabs a Temple Owl pass in the end zone to turn back six.

     Though dominating the game clock and sustaining long drives, the Temple Owls’ offense failure to score again can be attributed to one UConn bright spot.  Husky S Obi Melifonwu stopped two potential scoring drives with interceptions in the end zone.  The first came in the second period halting a 54-yard drive, and the second came in the final stanza ending an 87-yard drive.  His tight coverage and closing speed have him under consideration as one of the best DBS in next spring’s pro draft.

Melefonwu shows tight coverage before picking off his second pass of the evening in the end zone.

Melifonwu shows tight coverage before picking off his second pass of the evening in the end zone.

     One step closer to AAC East title

    The Temple Owls (7-3, 5-1) have a bye next Saturday before traveling to Tulane (currently 3-6,0-5) before finishing up the season at Lincoln Financial to host East Carolina (currently 3-6,1-4).  Winning both gets them into the AAC Championship as the East champ on December 3.  HC Matt Rhule and his staff continue to improve this team especially on defense after three key stalwarts graduated from last year’s team and are now on NFL rosters.  We hope to see them in the post season in this game and possibly in the Military Bowl in Annapolis which is one to the AAC’s post-season affiliations.

    UConn also has a bye week coming up which could give Diaco time to work with his offense that now seems to need a lot more improvement.  They will be visiting Boston College (currently 4-5, 1-5) on November 19 for a short and hopefully expeditious trip by bus up to Chestnut Hill.  They will finish their season at home to Tulane. 

       Matt and I headed back to his place in Stamford. He was heading to Maine the next morning as I was getting up early to meet Brian Donnelly for an early start to be at West Point for the 12-noon kickoff for the Air Force-Army game.

The UConn drum line wa certainly on fire Friday evening, but the Husky offense sure wasn't.

The UConn drum line was certainly on fire Friday evening, but the Husky offense sure wasn’t.

 Extra points: Matt and I met for a late lunch/early dinner (“Lunner”?) at Bobby Valentine’s Sports Bar at 225 Main in Stamford.  Great burgers there and plenty of sports memorabilia all over the place.  Great place to watch games and eat some good sports bar food.  Matt says the place was packed for the World Series.  Bobby V., the former major league player for the Dodgers  and manager for the New York Mets and the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball League among others, is now the Athletic Director at Sacred Heart University in nearby Fairfield.  Their FCS record in the Northeast Conference this season is 6-3, 1-3.

Matt gave me some direction on the value and use of Instagram for my website.  I’m going to check things out after the 2016 season.

The Huskies need to give their cheerleading squad more to cheer about!

The Huskies need to give their cheerleading squad more to cheer about!

About Steveo

This website is dedicated to my unique and ongoing adventure to continue to see every major Division 1A (I despise the moniker “FBS”) football team play in person at least once. I’ve seen all 124 teams in existence as of 2013 play and plan to attend games with the five newest editions in the next few years. This also records my ongoing adventures attending as many college football games as possible every season. I “officially” started this crazy goal in 1979. The upcoming 2014 season will be the 35th straight year of sharing this fun endeavor with others in person and through weekly reviews about each game I attend. Entering 2014, I have attended 459 NCAA football games at all levels. My book, Tales from the Tailgate: From the Fan who’s seen ’em all! published in 2011, tells my story over 30 years of when I attended a game in person played by each D1A team for the first time. Now, I haven’t attended a game at every major stadium on each campus (yet) because I’d probably be unemployed and definitely divorced by now. However, I’m proud to report that I remain gainfully employed and have been married to the same woman (“Saint Laurie”) for almost 25 years. We have two kids that have recently ventured away from our home in Byram Township, NJ over the last few few years. Our daughter Alex is a junior at the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!), and our son Eric is now enlisted in the United States Navy (Go Navy!). You will find that my site and my book focus on enjoying a passion for college football and great opportunities to have fun with friends and family around the country.

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