By Annie Ross
The Temple Owls finished 2018 with an impressive 8-5 mark.
Especially when you consider they started 0-2 start after tight losses to both Villanova and Buffalo.
They even got themselves a Bowl Game in Louisiana, but they were manhandled by Daniel Jones and the Duke Blue Devils.
They hope to rebound from that defeat with a strong start in 2019.
Anthony Russo is entering his junior season, and he remains as starting QB. Last year he completed 57.5% of his passes and threw for 2,563 yards. His TD and INT ratio was 1:1 as he had 14 of each for the year. He added three scores on the ground.
Ryquell Armstead ran for 1,098 yards and 13 TD’s, but having graduated now, we will see Jager Gardner get a lot more carries as he steps into a starting role. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry on 65 attempts, and scored a single touchdown.
They lost their top receiver Ventell Bryant, but WR2 Branden Mack is back trying to make some big plays to help the receiving core find some success. Another guy to watch for is Isaiah Wright, who caught 33 passes and scored 3 TD’s.
Michael Dogbe was the leader of the defense last year with 72 tackles (12.5 for loss, 7.0 sacks), but now that he’s moved on, Quincy Roche takes over as the go-to pass-rusher, his six sacks from 2018 now the highest total among returners. Sam Franklin’s three sacks rank second among returners.
They will miss Rock-Ya Sin who had 12 passes defended, and a pair of interceptions. Benny Walls is the only player among their top four guys in passes defended that will be back in the fold this season. Walls along with Linwood Crump will be trying to continue to stay active in the secondary with all their interceptions.
Will Mobley, the redshirt sophomore, converted 54 of 55 XPA’s, and 11 of 15 field goal attempts. He will need to work on his accuracy a bit as he goes into year two as the starting placekicker.
Punter Conner Bowler decided to transfer after the announcement of Adam Barry, a junior, deciding to transfer to the Owls program.
They begin the year with a showdown against Bucknell, which should be an easy way for them to get to 1-0. They have a re-match with Buffalo which proved to be one of the best teams in the country last year.
Watch for Quincy Roche to lead the defensive line to more sustained success next season.