Temple hoping to reduce penalties Saturday vs. Rutgers

Posted: October 15, 2012

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - There's a point in many football seasons when a team wins a game it appeared destined to lose.

It doesn't execute perfectly, commits too many penalties, and the coach exits the stadium wondering how his team avoided a disaster.

Saturday was one of those games for Temple.

The Owls were penalized eight times for 78 yards - all in the second half - of their 17-14 Big East, overtime victory against Connecticut at Rentschler Field. The first four penalties came on returns.

"There was penalty after penalty after penalty," said Temple coach Steve Addazio after his squad improved to 3-2, 2-0 in conference. "And that's got to go away. That's my job. I have to make that go away. We can't afford that."

The Owls, who have won consecutive Big East games for the first time in school history, definitely can't afford that this Saturday when the Owls play No. 19 Rutgers at Lincoln Financial Field at noon.

The Scarlet Knights (6-0, 3-0) boast the nation's second-ranked rushing defense (60.8 yards per game) and third-ranked scoring defense (11.5 points per game), so points may be hard to produce. Committing costly penalties against Rutgers could lead to a lopsided loss.

At times, it appeared that penalties would stand in the way of Temple's come-from-behind victory over UConn.

"We had a chance, I felt, in the second half that we were going to open this thing up," Addazio said. "But we kept getting pinned with penalties down on the [7-yard line] and on the [9]."

The Owls were forced to start the opening possession of the second half at their 9-yard line because Daquan Copper committed a holding penalty on the kickoff return.

Temple's next series started at its 27 after Gary Onuekwusi was called for an illegal block on a punt return.

The Owls began their following drive at the 9 due to Rob Anderson's being called for an illegal block on a punt return. And Ahkeem Smith committed a personal foul the next time UConn punted, forcing Temple to start at its 7.

"We are not the kind of team that we can consistently drive the length of the field," Addazio said.

For the game, the Owls began four offensive drives inside their 15-yard line and were forced to punt on all of them.

"We can't play the long field against a defense like that," Addazio said of the Huskies. "You [aren't] going to come out with too many of these."

Contact Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939 or kpompey@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @pompeysgridlock. Read his blog, "Owls Inq," at www.philly.com/OwlsInq


comments powered by Disqus