Despite having his first subpar game in four starts, Frank Nutile is expected to be at quarterback when Temple visits Tulsa in an American Athletic Conference regular-season finale Saturday, when bowl eligibility will be at stake for the Owls.
Temple (5-6, 3-4 AAC) must win to be bowl-eligible for a fourth consecutive year.
Asked Monday during the AAC media call who was taking first-team reps, Temple coach Geoff Collins said it was Nutile. Collins added that Logan Marchi, the former starter before suffering an injury, and Anthony Russo were taking second-team reps.
Nutile threw four interceptions Saturday in a 45-19 loss to unbeaten Central Florida. In his previous three starts, he had thrown just two interceptions.
Collins says the game didn’t shake Nutile’s confidence in the least.
“He is a confident kid. All the kids on the roster have complete belief in him,” Collins said. “Frank is harder on himself than anybody else. He has taken the game, evaluated it and is very self-critical, and I think that is the sign of a great leader.”
Collins, who said two of the interceptions were “50-50 balls,” added that Nutile is ready to move on.
“He was out there [Monday] coaching and motivating the guys, and he does a great job,” Collins said.
Collins had no update on receiver Ventell Bryant, who left the game in the third quarter and apparently could not put any weight on his leg.
“He is still banged up and was getting an MRI this morning and we will maybe know more tomorrow or, at the latest, Wednesday,” Collins said. “The same with Isaiah Graham-Mobley.” A redshirt freshman linebacker, Graham-Mobley missed the last game because of injury.
Collins says he is hoping that starting right guard Brian Carter can return Saturday. Carter left Saturday’s loss with an undisclosed injury.
Even though Tulsa is 2-9 overall and 1-6 in the AAC, the Golden Hurricane are coming off a 27-20 loss to a 9-1 South Florida team that beat Temple, 43-7. USF is ranked No. 22 in this week’s Associated Press poll.
Against USF, Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer rushed for 163 yards and became the AAC’s all-time leading rusher with 3,662 yards. He is also Tulsa’s all-time rushing leader.
It will be senior day at Tulsa and Golden Hurricane coach Philip Montgomery says the chance to deny Temple bowl eligibility won’t provide any extra incentive for his team.
“We are trying to go 1-0 and finish strong, and being senior day, it is a chance for us to go out with a win,” Montgomery said on the call with reporters. “That is our motivation, not trying to keep them from being bowl-eligible.”