PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Temple Owls will look to make it two straight wins on Friday night when they welcome UMass to the Linc.
The Owls are coming off a hard-fought 16-13 win over Villanova this past Saturday. Temple led this one 13-0 in the third quarter, but the Wildcats came roaring back to tie the game late. Then Aaron Boumheri capped a 42-yard, seven-play drive with a 49-yard field goal with a minute left and the Owls held on from there. This was the first win as Temple head coach for Geoff Collins.
“We played good at times offensively,” Collins tells KYW Newsradio. “I thought defensively we played really, really well in the first half, especially getting off the field on third downs. But we knew it was crunch time (during that final drive) and our kids dug deep and found a way to make some plays. Then Boumehri, we have a lot of trust in him and he came in and nailed it. I mean that thing would’ve been good for another ten yards. So, proud of him, proud of the way the kids fought, the kids battled and came up with big plays when we had to have them.”
Collins talks about the group that took the biggest step forward between the loss to Notre Dame in the opener and win over Villanova.
“I think it was the linebackers,” he says. “The first game, the way we were defending the run wasn’t as clean as we would like. They did a great job of taking some tough coaching and really fixing their issues that needed to be fixed.”
UMass will bring an 0-3 record into Friday’s game. The Minutemen lost at home last week to Old Dominion, 17-7.
“We played them last year at Florida (when Collins was the defensive coordinator for the Gators),” Collins says. “We opened with them and they were very, very difficult to defend. They do so much offensively week to week. They have an I-back run game, they have a 22-personnel game, they throw tackle over, they throw formation into the boundary, tons of shifts, tons of motions. So I distinctly remember what a challenge it was last year playing them at Florida. They’re still doing the same stuff with Coach [Mark] Whipple this year. They are a pain to defend, a pain to prepare for. It’s a big challenge, but our kids our excited about it.”
Temple and UMass last played on September 19th, 2015 in Foxborough. The Owls came home with a 25-23 win.
Friday night’s game will get underway at 7:00pm.