PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Temple Owls will be back at the Linc on Saturday for a Homecoming match-up with the Charlotte 49ers.
Temple fell to 1-2 over the weekend, losing a hard-fought game up in State College to Penn State 34-27.
“We put ourselves in a hole going down 21-7, not really playing well on special teams early,” Temple head coach Matt Rhule tells KYW Newsradio. “So even though we were able to battle back and make it a one score game, we just needed to make one more play and that’s sort of the message to our kids, ‘Hey, we have a good team, you’re really good players, you played on a big stage and did well in a lot of ways, but we have to make one more play.’ There are no moral victories, there’s no, ‘Hey we kept it close.’ We have to find a way to win the game and we just weren’t able to do it.”
Listen: Matt Rhule With KYW’s Matt Leon
Senior running back Jahad Thomas made his 2016 debut against Penn State, after missing the first two games with a hand injury. Thomas rushed for 52 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also catching six passes for an additional 48 yards.
“He’s healthy, he played well,” Rhule says. “I thought he affected the game in a lot of different areas, running the football, picked up blitzes, came out of the backfield and caught the ball. I thought he played really well. It was really nice to have him back and to add another explosive element to the offense.”
Temple will be hosting a Charlotte team on Saturday that is also 1-2. The 49ers lone win cane against an FCS squad in Elon. Last week, Charlotte lost to Eastern Michigan, 37-19. These two teams met last season down in North Carolina. The Owls won that game, 37-3.
“I think when you start with them defensively, they are a tough, hard-nosed, physical group,” Rhule says. “They got after us a lot last year. Their nose tackle, Larry Ogunjobi, he’s an NFL caliber player. So they have some guys that were going to have to deal with, match-up wise. Their tailback, Kalif Phillips, really, really gave us problems last year. They went up and down the field with us, we were able to keep them out of that red zone. We learned first hand last year that these guys can move the ball against us and they can stop the run if we’re not playing really, really well.”
Saturday’s game at the Linc will kickoff at noon.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.