The leading receiver in the football team’s 24-14 win over Kent State Saturday wasn’t even a receiver during his high school career.
Sophomore Dy’Onne Crudup was a quarterback and running back at Hyde Leadership School, in Hamden, Conn., leading his team to back-to-back state titles under center.
But Crudup did his thing against Kent State, catching seven balls for 85 yards, both game-highs, and a 20-yard touchdown from the arm of signal caller Vaughn Charlton.
An injury to Bruce Francis, which was suffered earlier in the week, thrust Crudup into the primary receiving role and he did not disappoint.
He was patient in his waiting and his patience paid off.
“It wasn’t my time,” Crudup said. “I know I had to step up with [us] losing our main receiver and I had to wait to showcase my talent, but before it just wasn’t my time.”
It was Crudup’s time on Saturday, but he’s been working his way into the offense all season.
Crudup has emerged as the Owls’ second receiving threat, opposite Francis, on the offense. He had collected 38 grabs for 367 yards and three scores, prior to Saturday’s game.
With his quarterback experience helping him read defenders and zone defenses, Crudup has been working very hard on one particular aspect of his game.
“I’ve really worked on my route-running,” Crudup said. “Coming out of cuts and breaking at the right depth are things that the quarterback has to time up. And being a quarterback in high school, I understand its importance, so I really have tried to develop that timing.”
The second-year receiver’s efforts versus Kent State did not go unnoticed by his coach, Al Golden.
“Dy’Onne stepped up,” Golden said. “He’s just that kind of kid. He’s a leader and he’s tough.”
RUSHING GAME ERUPTS
Freshman running back Daryl Robinson notched his first career 100-yard rushing game versus the Golden Flashes, netting 105 yards on 17 carries.
The Owls’ rushing game has been inept, at best, over the last two weeks, gaining a combined 52 yards in the previous two games.
Not only did Robinson top the century mark against the Mid-American Conference’s second-ranked rushing defense, sophomore Jason Harper carried the pigskin 22 times and gained 79 yards, including a 9-yard trip to the end zone.
The newfound running success came mostly behind the tandem of right guard Derek Dennis and right tackle Andre Douglas.
In addition, center Alex Derenthal, left guard Brison Manor, substituting for an absent Colin Madison, and left tackle Devin Tyler, held their own in the trenches.
Golden credited the success to hard work and talent of the right side of his offensive line.
“We only had one more practice to adjust [to Madison’s temporary departure from the team],” Golden said. “But obviously on that right side, we feel Dennis and Douglas are all-league caliber players.”
They proved their worth Saturday, leading the charge for Temple’s rushing attack as the Owls amassed 184 rushing yards.
Though the Owls won their fourth game of the season their struggles in the red-zone have been well-documented.
The Owls ranked 12th in the 13-team MAC in red-zone efficiency, converting at a 65 percent clip before the game.
The Owls didn’t do much to improve that number, as they reached the red- zone nine times and got points on six trips, for a 66 percent conversion rate.
Four of the six conversions came from the boot of sophomore Jake Brownell, who nailed four of his five field goal attempts.
Brownell, who said his missed field goal versus Penn State was “probably the lowest point of my life,” missed his first attempt against Kent State, also. But he came back to hit his next four attempts.
Terrance McNeil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.