If the Temple football team wants to put itself back on the right track for a fourth straight year…
The Owls fell into a 24-3 halftime hole, and backup Clinton "Juice" Granger played most of the second half. After the game, coach Steve Addazio seemed ready to take a long look at his quarterback position.
Temple is 3-6 with just two games left – at Army next week and home against Syracuse the following Friday. A .500 record is needed for bowl eligibility and Temple is still trying to schedule a 12th game with Hawaii on Dec. 7.
Coyer, who started his 13th straight game dating back to last season, finished 5-of-16 for 56 yards with an interception and also ran for 34 yards. Granger was 7-of-15 for 86 yards with the first touchdown of his career – a 4-yard strike to tight end Cody Booth in the third quarter.
"(Coyer) needs to develop a little bit more, we've given him a tremendous opportunity here to take the next step," said Addazio. "He has played some good football, and some tough football.
"We're going to put the best players on the field. The job of the quarterback is to move the team, move the offense, be a leader and make plays. When Juice went down on that drive, he made plays. You have to make plays, especially when they're there to be made.
"Chris has made a number of good plays, but if that's not happening at a rate good enough, somebody else is going to get an opportunity to do that. We're going to make sure we found the right guy to move this football team."
It was the fourth straight game Coyer didn't finish – some because the game was out of hand and Addazio wanted to evaluate his other quarterbacks. The junior admitted his season has been one of highs and lows.
"It's really just been consistency, that's been my problem," said Coyer. "There have been times I made the plays I needed to make, made good reads, made good throws. Other times I've not. It's all about consistency.
"I feel good about the mental aspect of the game, and I'm just not consistent with my play right now. That's where it gets a little frustrating for me. These next few days will be tough. I got pulled, Juice went in there and did a good job. Me looking at it, I think he played pretty well. We'll see."
Granger is gaining confidence and said he's ready if Addazio gives him the call to start.
"I feel I played pretty well, messed up a couple reads," said Granger. "I'm a lot more confident because I'm out there making plays.
"I feel I can bring leadership, making the throws, making the runs, being an all-around quarterback. I feel I've shown flashes. If it's in the cards to be the starter, I'll do great things and put this team in position to be successful."
Temple continued to give up the big play on defense. Making his first start, Cincinnati senior Brendon Kay threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins in the first half and a 65-yard score to Chris Moore in the third quarter after the Owls had cut the lead to 24-10.
Overall, Kay was 13-for-21 for 244 yards and also rushed for 71 yards – including a 40-yard gain.
"They weren't able to sustain any long drives, but those big plays, those X-factor plays were the difference in the game today," said Temple defensive end John Youboty, who contributed two sacks. "It's just an extra tackle here, break on the ball here, sack there that would have changed the game. We didn't make the plays when the opportunity presented itself."
Running back Montel Harris gained just 19 yards on eight carries before leaving the game with a apparent knee injury, but Addazio said he didn't believe it was serious. Matt Brown – who had been limited for a month with a sprained ankle – rushed nine times for 35 yards.
Addazio said he remains optimistic about his young team, that they have the right attitude and better days are ahead. Freshman wide receiver Romond Deloatch made the first four catches of his career, leading the Owls with 42 yards.
"It's exciting – it's frustrating, but it's exciting," said Addazio of the Owls' development. "It's exciting where we can go and how fast we can get this done. We're in a footrace to do it now.
"We need a little taste of victory, we need to get that again. We're going to battle to see if we can find that this Saturday. Our day will come. It'll happen because we've got the right pieces in the foundation."
Addazio (Part 1):
Addazio (Part 2):
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