TAMPA, Fla. – As Temple attempts to bounce back from Thursday’s 43-7 loss at No. 21 South Florida, the Owls once again have an unsettled situation at quarterback.
Coach Geoff Collins played three quarterbacks in the first half alone, looking for a spark.
Logan Marchi started and was in an out the entire game, completing 3 of 13 for 32 yards and three interceptions.
Freshman Todd Centeio appeared for two first half plays, was sacked both times and didn’t play again. Redshirt junior Frank Nutile saw his first action of the season and completed 4 of 12 for 57 yards and an interception.
“We started off slow and I tried to jump start it with Toddy [Centeio] and they just brought double edged pressure every play Toddy was in there and that makes it tough on the kid,” said Collins, whose team is 2-2. “We brought Frankie Nutile in to try to jump start the offense again, he came back in the second half but it wasn’t our night so that is on me, getting those guys ready, finding out who is going to be the guy who leads it.
So much is made of the Bulls blinding speed on offense, but Temple had great difficulty dealing with the USF defensive speed.
“They are a fast, experienced defense and were playing the routes well and we just didn’t execute out there,” Marchi said.
This was Nutile’s most extensive action. He previously had five career college pass attempts.
“I was glad to get the opportunity,” Nutile said. “I made some good throws and also made some mistakes. I have to go in tomorrow and watch the tape see what I have to fix and go from there.”
Temple’s fourth quarterback, redshirt freshman Anthony Russo didn’t get in because the Owls only had the time during the week to prepare three to play, Collins said.
“The three we had we had prepped,” Collins said.
It will be interesting if Russo, who has the best arm on the team, will eventually get a shot.
As for USF (4-0), the Bulls have no problem at quarterback. While reigning AAC offensive player of the year Quinton Flowers struggled throwing, completing 8 of 20 for 96 yards and no touchdowns, he helped key the running game. Flowers rushed for 59 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. The threat of him running opens things up for everybody else.
USF had two 100-yard rushers, Darius Tice (117 yards, two touchdowns) and D’Ernest Johnson (106 yards).
When South Florida took a 30-7 lead over Temple on Emilio Nadelman’s 25-yard field goal with 8 minutes and 58 seconds left in the third quarter, it extended the Bulls current NCAA best streak of consecutive 30-point games to 21.
The Bulls are two shy of tying the NCAA record of 23 straight games of 30 or more points set by Oregon in 2011 and 2012.
Last season against Temple, the Bulls barely kept the streak alive in a 46-30 loss at Lincoln Financial Field.
Sullivan earns first start
Temple redshirt senior Adrian Sullivan made his first start of the year at left guard. He was replacing redshirt sophomore Jovahn Fair, who was suffered an undisclosed injury in last week’s 29-21 win over Massachusetts in the second quarter and didn’t return.
Sullivan started all 14 games at right guard last season. He didn’t play in the opener against Notre Dame and saw minimal action in the Owls 16-13 win over Villanova.
It won’t get a lot easier for Temple, which plays host to AAC West contender Houston at noon on Saturday Sept. 30.
Houston hosts Texas Tech on Saturday in a game between 2-0 teams.
This season the Cougars won 19-16 at Arizona and last week earned a 38-3 home victory over Rice.