There were many standout performances in Temple’s 44-36 victory at Middle Tennessee State.
There was the return of running back Makonnen Fenton, and the frenetic, 22-point rally by the Blue Raiders in the final quarter.
But a perfect night from beleaguered kicker Jared Davis stood just as tall as anything else. He hit all four extra point kicks and, more important, was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts.
It would seem Davis has regained his confidence and a tingling sense of vindication after a horrendous start to the season.
“Going into the season I was confident and excited. After the first game I got off to a rough start,” Davis said. “Technically, I had some glitches in my form. The team kept supporting me, coach kept supporting. Eventually, I came around. I’m feeling better and a little more confident.”
Prior to Middle Tennessee State, Davis was an unacceptable 4 of 13 on field goals. His inaccuracy hindered the Owls during a three-game span. In total, his misses cost the Owls 28 points.
Quarterback Mike McGann and the high-octane offense is constantly giving the Owls scoring chances, but some drives have been wasted because of Davis misses.
“It’s frustrating,” Davis said. “You put in so much time and effort and you have your teammates working their tails off trying to get in scoring position and you just feel like you let your team, coaches and fans down.”
Davis admitted he lost his confidence, especially after coach Bobby Wallace replaced him with backup Roger Price in the fourth week. Things got so bad at one point that Davis kicked the ball into one of his lineman’s helmets.
Last week’s win provided a major sense of relief to Davis and the team. Take away the nine points he hit on field goals, and the Raiders would have won by a single point.
“He just kept fighting,” running back Makonnen Fenton said. “That’s pretty much the character of the whole team. We’re in a bad situation right now, but nobody seems to give up.”
Last week’s performance was an encouraging sign, but Davis still feels he hasn’t totally gotten the monkey off his back.
“It’s one of those things; either it’s good or it’s not,” he said. Either you’re a hero or a bum. It’s one of those all or nothing deals. It’s such a direct indicator of how you perform. You just want to fix it and you just want to get back out there and try and make up for it.”
Fenton fully recovered
While the Owls are battling a rash of injuries, Fenton’s return was welcomed. He hadn’t played since suffering two cracked ribs in Temple’s loss to Villanova at Lincoln Financial Field last month. But after they healed, Fenton wore extra padding around his torso. He rushed for 77 yards but fumbled twice at Middle Tennessee State.
At halftime, Fenton took the extra padding off, claiming it left him prone to fumbling.
“It was hard for me to carry the ball,” he said. “I just didn’t feel real comfortable playing with them.”
After missing the past two games, Fenton said the reps in practice helped ease him back into football shape. He should see the bulk of the carries this weekend against Boston College at Lincoln Financial Field.
“We got a win, but it’s time to get back to work,” he said. “You got to put that behind you and get ready for BC.”
Jason S. Haslam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.