The football team didn’t lose on Saturday. Having a bye week can do that for a team.
The Owls (0-10) will look to fellow-Division I-A Independent Navy this Saturday for their first win of the season. A loss would be the Owls’ 31st defeat in their last 34 games, dating back to the end of the 2002 season.
A loss would also mean the Owls’ worst stretch of seasons in almost five decades. From 1955 to 1959, Temple went 4-36, and was winless in three of five seasons. The current Owls haven’t won a game in a calendar year, their last victory a 34-24 win at home against Syracuse.
The Owls haven’t played a full season without at least one win since 1986, and even then they won six games. Their 6-5 record that year was wiped away due to Heisman Trophy runner-up Paul Palmer’s ineligibility.
As if it couldn’t get any worse for the Owls, the statistics they’ve compiled this season would indicate that their chances of winning at Annapolis, Md., this weekend are slim.
The Owls, among all I-A teams, rank near the bottom of several offensive categories. Their 90 points through 10 games puts them dead last. Three passing touchdowns and 234 yards per game are also the fewest in the nation.
Five different players have combined to throw for the second-worst completion percentage in the country, and the Owls are in the bottom 10 in rush yards and first downs per game.
The Midshipmen are having a down year after posting a 10-2 record in 2004. The Midshipmen are 5-4, but of the teams they have beaten to attain their winning record, only Air Force has as many as three wins.
Navy is led by quarterback Lamar Owens, who might as well be listed as a running back. The Midshipmen have thrown 119 passes this season, relying heavily as always on their running game.
Owens has completed 53.1 percent of his passes for 994 yards and four touchdowns. More importantly, he also leads the team in rushing, with 647 yards on 162 carries and six scores. Seven Midshipmen have at least two rushing touchdowns.
Navy went toe-to-toe through the first quarter of its matchup with sixth-ranked Notre Dame last weekend. The second quarter was a different story altogether. The Irish put up 21 unanswered points in their 42-21 win.
The Midshipmen’s three scoring drives covered 68, 80 and 78 yards, a positive number to take from their loss.
Nearly 70 percent of their weekly offensive output is earned on the ground. The Midshipmen average 277.8 rushing yards per game, and throw for only 121.4 yards. By comparison, the Owls do not match up well with Navy, which averages more running yards per game than the Owls’ entire offense (234.1).
The Owls expected to be competitive against teams within their new conference affiliation in the Mid-American Conference. So much for expectations. The Owls finished 0-4 against MAC teams, losing to Western Michigan, Toledo, Bowling Green and Miami (Ohio) by an average score of 43-13. … The Owls have suffered seven 30-point losses this season. In coach Bobby Wallace’s seven previous seasons at Temple, the Owls lost 14 games by such a score.
Christopher A. Vito can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.