T-minus-120 minutes — that’s the countdown to the end of the 2001 Temple football season. Will it end on a positive note or will Temple’s downward spiral continue?
Temple (2-7, 1-5) has lost seven out of their last eight games. Only a Rutgers visit to Philly helped this team’s cause. Temple lost 35-0 to Virginia Tech last Saturday at Veterans Stadium. The offense continued the ineptness they have shown all season.
“Our offense has had opportunities to get the ball in the end zone, but has not been able to take advantage of these opportunities,” Coach Bobby Wallace said of his team’s yearlong offensive struggles.
Next up are the West Virginia Mountaineers (3-6, 1-4). The Mountaineers are a team that is peaking and getting healthy just in time to play Temple.
Avon Corbourne, the No. 2 rusher in the Big East, who has averaged 5.1 yards per carry, leads the team. Coburne has rushed for 1,131 yards on 223 carries this season.
But stopping big runners has not been Temple’s main problem this season. Temple’s defense is ranked 37th in the country in run defense, only giving up 132.1 yards per game.
The problem lays in the offense and finding ways to score points.
“We need to keep working hard and find a way to put points on the board,” Wallace said. “From anywhere, whether it be from kicking or defense, we need to try to help this offense.”
Freshmen Mike McGann will once again be the starting quarterback for the Owls. This will be his eighth start of the season. Last week he was sick and didn’t see much practice time. Mac Devito played quarterback for most of Saturday’s game.
“Mike gives us the best chance to win, that is why I went with him this year,” Wallace said. “Offensive problems aren’t just with the quarterback. I would have taken criticism if I didn’t play him, and that was my decision and I am sticking to it.”
With McGann at the helm, this offense has not produced much. Temple has only scored 10 points in the last four games. Granted, those games have come against the top defensive teams in the Big East, but a team has to be able to capitalize on chances given to them in order to succeed.
After this week, only a game with Connecticut stands in front of Temple packing it up for the year. Two wins would match last year’s 4-7 record. It’s not what was expected, but it is an all right record.
And if they end with two losses? Then what?