It sure did not feel as though the Temple Owls (8-5) were playing with an interim head coach in the first half of the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, but the second half proved there was a decided coaching advantage for Duke (8-5). Duke outscored Temple 35-0 in the second half en route to a 56-27 victory. The victory gave Duke the first back-to-back bowl victories in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.
Temple simply had no answers for Duke, led by quarterback Daniel Jones. After going up 20-7 in the second quarter, Temple allowed Duke to score touchdowns on seven straight offensive possessions as Duke blew by the Owls in all facets of the game. Miscues by Duke helped give Temple a lead at halftime but the inability to move or control the football in the second half did Temple absolutely no favors.
Jones passed for 423 yards and five touchdowns in his final game in a Duke uniform. Both were Independence Bowl records, and Jones also scored a rushing touchdown. T.J. Rahming was a monster in the passing game with 240 receiving yards on 12 receptions as Temple simply could not stop him.
The Blue Devils now have six all-time bowl victories, and David Cutcliffe has won three of them, all since 2015.
Temple was playing the game under interim head coach Ed Foley. Foley generated some buzz with his press conferences leading up to the game and his enthusiasm for leading the Owls in the game following the departure of Geoff Collins to Georgia Tech, but he was no match against Cutcliffe in the second half as Temple just crumbled. Incoming Temple head coach Manny Diaz checked in on the game form New York as he was preparing to coach his final game as defensive coordinator for the Miami Hurricanes. That game was next on the bowl schedule on Thursday. This game alone should not suggest Temple is a complete disaster for Diaz to take over, because Temple was competitive in the second half of the season and showed some good promise down the stretch and almost made a push to potentially play for the AAC title. But this loss will give Diaz something to either completely ignore with a clean slate or offer as a reminder of how much Temple still has to do to move forward.
The loss by Temple was yet another disaster of a bowl result for the American Athletic Conference, a conference who is having a difficult time convincing anyone this bowl season they are truly a power conference. The conference’s only win to date was Tulane’s victory over Louisiana in the Cure Bowl at the beginning of the bowl season. Since then, South Florida was defeated by 18 points in their own stadium by Marshall and Houston gave up 70 points to Army. Memphis also lost to Wake Forest, although that was at least a close game.
Next up for Duke? Alabama in Atlanta to open the 2019 season on Aug. 31, 2019. The countdown is on for the Blue Devils.
In the NFL, you’ll often see teams sign a player who was just cut off another team the week or two before they wind up playing that opponent. We could sort of have a college football version of that scenario in the case of wide receiver Dillon Spalding.
The former West Virginia redshirt freshman announced on Twitter that he had committed to James Madison and would be transferring to join the team in 2019. The team’s opponent in Week 1? None other than the Mountaineers in Morgantown.
Of course any knowledge Spalding might bring with him is limited given that both JMU and WVU have new coaching staffs in place this year. The former three-star recruit is moving a little closer to his Lorton, Va. hometown and will have all four years of eligibility remaining between redshirting last season due to an injury and the drop down to the FCS level.
The Dukes have added a solid amount of FBS talent recently for new coach Curt Cignetti. In addition to Spalding, former Penn State wide receiver Brandon Polk joined the program this offseason and both will catch passes from ex-Pitt QB Ben DiNucci.
Arizona posted a disappointing 5-7 campaign in Kevin Sumlin’s first season in Tucson but Arizona fans still came out and enjoyed themselves thanks, in part, to the school allowing beer and alcohol sales for the first time.
As the Arizona Daily Star reports, attendance for the Wildcats home football games actually ticked up last year an average of 2,804 people while incidents of ejections at the stadium did the same — though were below historic averages.
“We’ve been very pleased with the rollout across the board in Arizona Stadium and McKale,” athletic director Dave Heeke said. “This was really focused around a number of things that we’ve done in the area of fan amenities and food service, and beverage selection was a key component.”
Some 43 people were kicked out of seven home games at UA, which is double the 21 from 2017 but well below the numbers the school reported for seasons when they played in-state rival Arizona State. It seems that Territorial Cup contest was the biggest indicator of above-average ejections in a year though game-by-game data was not given.
“I really haven’t noticed an increase in any type of criminal behavior due to beer and wine sales,” UAPD spokesman Sgt. Sean Shields told the paper. “Obviously from year to year the ejections and different numbers change and they fluctuate, but it’s very hard to pinpoint the reason why those happen.”
The amount of revenue generated by beer and alcohol sales wasn’t detailed by the school but Heeke noted it covered the additional costs on game days and the profit overall wasn’t hugely significant. Still, it seems the atmosphere at Arizona Stadium was still enough to lure fans into their seats despite plenty of late starts and a football team that was largely up-and-down in 2018.
Not many people can say they worked for the very different styles of head coaches Lane Kiffin and Les Miles back-to-back but Tony Pecoraro certainly can.
The recently let go Florida Atlantic defensive coordinator has apparently landed a new gig in Lawrence as a senior defensive analyst, primarily serving under Jayhawks DC D.J. Eliott.
Pecoraro took over the Owls defense in 2018 after spending the previous two seasons running things on that side of the ball for Southern Miss. Things didn’t quite work out in Boca however as FAU couldn’t get off the field like they did in Kiffin’s first year and allowed 31.8 points per game.
The veteran coordinator, who has Power Five assistant experience from a stint at Florida State, was replaced at FAU by longtime Oklahoma State DC Glenn Spencer back in December.
Wisconsin fans are known to hold more than their own when it comes to enjoying an adult beverage or two before, during and after Badgers football games but they apparently will have to keep waiting for the opportunity to buy a cold one at Camp Randall on game days.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, a decision on whether or not to allow beer/alcohol sales in the general seating sections of the stadium rests with school chancellor Rebecca Blank and that she is not inclined to change the status quo on such prohibition anytime soon.
“The university believes that there is already an atmosphere of energy and excitement around Badger game days,” a school statement to the paper read. “The addition of alcohol to general seating areas isn’t needed to improve that experience and could detract from it for our students and fans.”
Just in the last two months, Indiana, Rutgers and Illinois have turned on the taps for football games in 2019. That will result in fully half of Big Ten schools allowing such sales in general seating areas as a result this season and it’s turned into yet another lucrative revenue stream for those that have too.
Wisconsin appears resistant to the idea however, doing so in the face of declining attendance for games too. While it is certainly too early to remark ‘never say never’ when it comes to the Badgers, it’s pretty clear this trend isn’t making its way to Madison anytime soon.