The Army Black Knights committed four turnovers in a disappointing 33-14 loss to the previously winless Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Temple's new freshman quarterback, P.J. Walker, struck early against the undermanned Black Knights defense and jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead. Army lost quarterback Angel Santiago to his recurring ankle issue and the Black Knights offense was lost without him. Backup quarterbacks Kelvin White and Tevin Long both lost fumbles which were converted into easy touchdowns by the Owls. Temple had a 33-0 lead before Army scored two touchdowns. The loss drops Army's record to 3-5. Temple earned their victory first victory to improve to 1-6.
PASSING OFFENSE: D
Angel Santiago completed 1-of-2 passes for 4 passing yards. He threw a perfect long pass that Terry Baggett dropped. Army was already down 14-0 and really needed Baggett to make that touchdown catch. Kelvin White completed 7-of-16 passes for 71 passing yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. White was inconsistent as he was off target a number of times and saw a few throws dropped. White was sacked twice on one series in the second quarter when he took short drops and failed to release the ball immediately. When reinserted in the lineup in the second half he threw a nice 14-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Laird on his first drive in the third quarter. He completed an 8-yard pass to Larry Dixon (2 rec., 21 yards) which set up Army's final touchdown. White ended Army's hopes of a comeback on the following drive when he threw a poor deep ball that Xavier Moss (5 rec., 40 yards) had no chance to make a play on and it was intercepted. White was picked off again on the next series when he floated a pass towards an open Terry Baggett but Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich made a tremendous interception. Tevin Long smartly threw away his only pass attempt when his protection broke down. There were some plays that should have been made down field. Ejay Tucker and Moss dropped passes from White during the two minute drill before the half.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D
The Black Knights rushed for only 255 yards, averaged 4.4 yards per carry and had only one rushing touchdown. Army was totally out of synch after quarterback Angel Santiago (8 att., 32 yards) reinjured his ankle. Army had only 81 rushing yards in the first half. Larry Dixon was able to get the running game going a bit in the second half. Dixon ran 16 times for 84 yards. Terry Baggett ( 7 att., 24 yards) didn't find a lot of running room. Kelvin White (10 att., 47 yards, TD) lacks the quick feet to run the option well. He has some speed when he can get it in gear which he demonstrated on a 36-yard run which set up the last Army touchdown. White's first half fumble on a pitch behind Trenton Turrentine which was returned for a touchdown by Temple was a back breaker. Turrentine (5 atts., 32 yards) ran hard but missed a block on White long run or it would have been a touchdown. Fullback Matt Giachinta (4 atts., 21 yards ) played well in place of injured Hayden Tippett. Tevin Long (3 att., 6 yards) opened the second half with two series but wasn't ready for the moment. He fumbled twice on his second series and lost the second one which set up the Owls final touchdown. I didn't see Long fumble a snap last season at USMAPS so it was a case of nerves.
PASSING DEFENSE: D
Temple quarterback PJ Walker completed 10-of-16 for 203 passing yards. He had two touchdowns with an interception. With Bobby Kough and three other Army defenders also missing there were a number of breakdowns and Army produced no sacks. Cornerback Josh Jenkins (4 tackles) had his worst game this year. On the opening series he was beat on a Jalen Fitzpatrick 45-yard reception tackling him on the 1-yard line. The Owls scored on the next play. Army had blitzed on the play and Walker had plenty of time to make the throw. Jenkins missed a few tackles in the open field. Chris Carnegie (3 tackles) and Hayden Pierce (1 tackle) were beat by Jalen Fitzpatrick for 37-yard bomb after Temple quarterback faked a quarterback sneak and they both bit. SAM safety Shaquille Tolbert (5 tackles) made a coverage mistake when he sat in a zone and let John Christopher run free for a 39-yard touchdown catch. He lost leverage and was beat by Jalen Fitzpatrick on a short pass on the second series for a 30-yard gain. Rover Justin Trimble (5 tackles, INT) made a few nice hits and ended a drive with an interception. The Black Knights generated little pressure on the freshman quarterback.
RUSHING DEFENSE: C
The Black Knights defense really struggled in the first half with so many backups on the field. There were too many missed tackles. The Owls ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Colby Miller (16 tackles, 2 TFL) played hard and was able to make some tackles with a few hard hits. Miller did miss a few tackles but played very well. Malcolm Hudson (3 tackles, TFL) was knocked off the ball on a few plays. Mike Ugenyi (5 tackles) played his best game in weeks. Joe Drummond (2 tackles) was too tentative when he had PJ Walker trapped on one play and let him run by him. Army's nose tackle Richard Glover was in on three tackles. The Black Knights struggled against a faster Temple team with so many back-ups on the field. I give the defense some credit for its play in the second half. The Owls tried to pound the ball but the Black Knights forced five punts.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Punter Alex Tardieu had a busy day with seven punts for a 40.9 average with three punts placed inside the twenty yard line. Julian Crockett had four kickoff returns for 60 yards. Scott Williams is sure handed but returned 5 punts for just 13 yards. The Black Knights have the worst return game in FBS football. Army's coverage teams did a good job against Temple allowing just 14 yards on four punts. The Black Knights allowed just 19.3 yards on three kickoff returns.
Rich Ellerson's team wasn't ready to match up against a very motivated Temple team. I didn't have an issue with Ellerson going to quick plebe Tevin Long at quarterback at the start of the second half. Even though Long spit the bit when given the reins. Ian Shields' offense was out of synch after Angel Santiago left the game with an injury. Shields did a decent job tailoring the offense to White on the fly in the second half. Ian focused on what White could do in the second half and it produced two scores. Payam Saadat's defense was sound but with so many starters out the defense did not match up well with the speed on Temple's offense. This game was probably more of an indictment of this staff's recruiting efforts than its coaching ability.
OVERALL GRADE: D
This was one of the ugliest first half's under Ellerson. What's sad is that this was a winnable game but Angel Santiago's ankle injury killed that chance. Army defense battled but they were so shorthanded. Temple caught the Black Knights on the right week. This team doesn't have the depth to play without so many key starters.
Army Report Card: Temple
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