How the Owls fared in 2004: 2-9 overall, 1-5 Big East
(Links to USA Today game stories)
Sept. 4 — Virginia 44, TEMPLE 14
Sept. 11 — MARYLAND 45, Temple 22
Sept. 18 — TEMPLE 38, Florida A&M 7
Sept. 25 — TOLEDO 45, Temple 17
Oct. 2 — Bowling Green 70, TEMPLE 16
Oct. 9 — Pittsburgh 27, TEMPLE 22
Oct. 16 — RUTGERS 16, Temple 6
Oct. 23 — CONNECTICUT 45, Temple 31
Nov. 6 — WEST VIRGINIA 42, Temple 21
Nov. 13 — TEMPLE 34, Syracuse 24
Nov. 20 — Boston College 34, TEMPLE 17
Sept. 1 – at Arizona State
Sept. 10 – at Wisconsin
Sept. 17 – TOLEDO
Sept. 24 – WESTERN MICHIGAN
Oct. 1 – at Bowling Green
Oct. 8 – MARYLAND
Oct. 15 – MIAMI (Fla.)
Oct. 22 – at Clemson
Oct. 29 – MIAMI (Ohio)
Nov. 5 – at Virginia
Nov. 19 – at Navy
Starters returning: 13 of 24 (5 offense, 6 defense, 2 kickers)
Coach Bobby Wallace: Entering his 18th season as a head coach, and eighth at the helm of the Owls, Wallace is 101-96-1 (Temple and North Alabama) in his career. He is 19-60 at Temple.
Versus Wisconsin: The Badgers lost to Temple 24-18 in Madison on Sept. 22, 1990, in the teams' only meeting prior to this season. The Badgers finished 1-10 in 1990, the first year with Barry Alvarez as head coach.
Owls' 2004 season in brief
Temple was ravaged by injuries and ineligibility, with 11 players on the 2004 spring roster missing the entire season, while 15 starters during the season missed time with injury. When you are Temple, never a program with sufficient depth, such personnel issues are calamitous.
And so it was for the Owls in their 2-9 campaign last year. Temple's defense was a wreck, allowing more than 35 points per game and 40.9 per outing in the nine losses.
But the Owls were respectable on offense and junior quarterback Walter Washington was truly spectacular. Washington led all Division I-A quarterbacks and set a Big East record for quarterbacks with 15 rushing touchdowns. He rushed for 889 yards (also a conference record for a signal caller) and passed for 2,207 yards and 10 more touchdowns, smashing Temple's record for total offense and leading the Big East with 281.5 total yards-per-game. The second-team all-conference pick completed 56 percent of his passes and was intercepted just six times in 332 attempts.
But aside from Washington and All-Big East linebacker Rian Wallace, there was little to cheer about in this corner of Philadelphia last year. An exception to that rule was certainly the win over Syracuse, which kept the Owls' last season in the Big East from being a winless affair.
Looking ahead to 2005
Temple's official spring prospectus calls its 2005 schedule "ambitious." Ambitious? Try masochistic.
The Owls play a daunting slate this year as an independent, before joining the Mid-American Conference for football in 2006.
On paper, the Owls should have a shot against Western Michigan and Navy. The other nine games could be really ugly. Temple should not have as bad of luck with injuries and ineligibility this year but that will be little comfort when Bowling Green is pushing 70 points again. Traveling to face Arizona State and Wisconsin, then hosting Toledo, is not exactly a pleasant way to break in 11 new starters.
Washington chose to forego his senior year for a shot at the NFL. But fifth-year senior quarterback Mike McGann is a new starter only on paper. He has played in 28 games, starting 26, and is among Temple's all-time leaders in passing yardage. Though the Owls need some receivers to emerge, McGann is capable and should be an efficient signal-caller, though perhaps not as prolific as Washington was a year ago.
The real problem is that Temple's bottom feeding defense is likely to be a close approximation of 2004. The Owls lose their top three tacklers from a year ago. And while the defensive line and secondary ought to be better, do not expect a substantial improvement from a unit that ranked 94th in the nation against the pass and 93rd against the run.