OwlSports Update Staff Reporter
The Temple men’s cross-country team was in action for its fourth and final meet of the season
Friday at Florida State. It was a tough outing for the Owls as they ran up against some of the
best competition they’ve seen all year with Temple ending the meet at 4th place in the five-team
“Today was a good opportunity for our guys to get a chance to see what the next step needs to
look like,” commented Head Coach James Snyder.
The competition was fierce with the top-caliber teams such as Michigan, Syracuse and host
team Florida State. Both Syracuse and Florida State are ranked 3rd in their respective regions this
The Owls ended the day with 117 points. Senior Kristian Holm Jensen was Temple’s top finisher
taking 20th overall with a time of 24:36 in the 8k race. This was Jensen's final race in an Owls
uniform. “We didn’t manage to put ourselves in a position that was competitive in the race,”
the two-time, all-conference senior expressed. Freshman Christian Fitch and junior Ethan Koza
finished 27th and 31st respectively. Danish freshman Jeppe Risvig and the Owls first runner
from the state of New York, Tyler Fauvelle, rounded out the team’s top 5.
While it was not the results Temple had hoped for, Assistant Coach Cavender Salvadori says
tough days are all part of the growth process. “This is what running is though. You have
disappointing parts of the season,” he said. “We didn’t put ourselves in a position to compete
which is upsetting that we don’t get a chance to show off our fitness.”
Adriaan Wildschutt of Florida State topped the field winning with a blistering time of 23:30.
However, it was Syracuse that walked away with the team title scoring 31 points, followed by
the University of Michigan (42) and Florida State (49).
Despite the disappointing finish, Coach Snyder remains optimistic about what this young squad
can do in the coming years. “To see where we want to go, we need to see where we stack up. I
think today was disappointing as far as how we competed but at the same time it's encouraging
for where we can go.”
The Owls have their work cut out for them but Snyder believes they are up to the challenge. “It
was a chance for our younger guys to see this level of competition and it provides motivation as
we continue into our spring and summer training months.”
OwlSports Update Staff Reporter
The Temple men’s cross country team made back-to-back, weekend trips to Kansas. But it was
the most recent trip that was most satisfying – despite temperatures dipping into the low 30s.
This past weekend, the Owls used their trip to Wichita to finish in 3 rd place in the American
Athletic Conference Championships.
“A different kind of year, a different kind of team, a different kind of season,” said Head Coach
James Snyder after the team’s season was moved from the fall to the winter.
The Owls graduated four of the top five finishers from last year’s team that finished in second
place in the AAC. This time around, Temple was relying on returning senior Kristian Holm
Jensen and the new freshman crew to continue the journey.
The Owls felt good about their chances in Kansas after spending the entire fall semester training
remotely near a team cabin at high-altitude in Montana. One of the only positives of Covid for
Coach Snyder was the time it gave his runners to adapt to the training, stating “we are infinitely
better than we would have been in October.”
Jensen, a senior captain, took 8th place with a time of 24:41 in the 8K run. “Top 10 is always
fun” explained Temples’ top finisher who became a two-time all-conference selection. “It was
the 2020 championships in 2021, which was super weird, but fun. We did what we came to do.
The freshmen class also stepped up as Christian Fitch (18th), Erik Kain (20th), and Tyler
Fauvelle (27th) placing second, third, and fifth on Temple’s team. Junior Ethan Koza rounded
out the top five. “I was overall pretty pleased with the way we competed, considering the
circumstances with three out of the top five being freshmen was solid,” said Snyder. “In the first
8k of their lives, they did a great job competing throughout the duration of the race.”
The Owls’ 3 rd -place finish sat behind second-place Cincinnati and seven-time defending
champion and fourth-ranked Tulsa.
The Owls run again on March 5 th at what is expected to be a much warmer environment – at
Florida State in Tallahassee.
OwlSports Update Staff Reporter
The Temple Owls and Tulsa Golden Hurricane had a few things in common when they faced off
Tuesday at the Liacouras Center. Both teams were dodging Covid postponements and both
teams were coming off a loss to nationally-ranked Houston.
But it was the Owls who raced out to an early lead and never trailed in a 76-67 AAC win, moving
Temple to 4-4 on the year, 3-4 in conference.
“Everybody was in attack mode, everybody was aggressive and everybody was playing with
confidence early from the start,” explained De’Vondre Perry, who scored 17 points on 6 of 7
from the field.
The Owls did indeed attack as a team with four players scoring in double digits, highlighted by a
22-point and 11-rebound performance by Khalif Battle. “We have a lot of talent on this team. Still
a young group, mixed with some maturity,” said the sophomore guard. “I think that the sky's the
limit for us.”
Scoring has been an issue for this team so far this year. But Tuesday showed Temple’s
potential. The Owls shot 51 percent from the field and scored 44 points in the first half alone. On
defense, Temple held the Golden Hurricane’s leading scorer to a mere 12-point display. Coach
Aaron McKie expressed his delight in shutting down Brandon Rachal, “De’Vondre Perry and
Damian Dunn, the guys that we put on him did a pretty good job.”
The Owls look to continue this climb in the conference rankings with their next matchup against
Tulane on Sunday at 12pm at the Liacouras Center. The game can be seen on ESPN+.
Inside the Nest Host
Temple has not only been fighting for wins each Saturday in the AAC, but it’s also been fighting Covid all year in an effort to stay on the field. On Wednesday, Covid won the final battle as the AAC cancelled the Owls season finale vs. Cincinnati.
Temple nearly had its game cancelled last Saturday against ECU due to Covid complications. However, the game was still played with ECU coming away with a dominating 28-3 win.
Cancelling Saturday’s season finale against nationally-ranked Cincinnati was the result of positive COVID-19 cases and ensuing contact tracing of student-athletes at both institutions. The game has officially been ruled a no contest, which means the Owls (1-6, 1-6) will finish 2020 with their lone win coming back on October 17 in the home opener against USF.
"I have held firm that the health and safety of our student-athletes is the most important thing to me,” Head Coach Rod Carey said. “We were on the borderline of shutting down for the past few weeks but with an increase in Covid protocol cases in the past few days, the decision was made to shut it down.”
As mentioned, this cancellation was not just because of Covid complications on North Broad. The Bearcats have been battling Covid this season too. Cincinnati had its game postponed against Tulsa on October 17 due to COVID-19 issues. That game was rescheduled for December 12, the week before the planned date of the conference championship game, which could very well be the Bearcats and the Golden Hurricane.
Regardless, Temple’s season is over with its first losing campaign since 2013.
"This COVID-19 pandemic is real and it affects us in many ways,” Carey said. “I'm really proud of our team and this staff for all the work they put in to be ready to play each week. Our record is not indicative of how tough and relentless this group of young men are. We all look forward to decompressing, learning from this experience, and coming back stronger in 2021."
Inside the Nest Host
No fans. No cheerleaders. No band. Then at gametime, with the national telecast ready to go, there were no players, coaches or referees either. Temple’s season got even odder on Saturday afternoon after a 50-minute delay thanks to a Covid scare just minutes before kickoff.
“Honestly I didn’t think we were going to play and then got told we were going to play,” Head Coach Rod Carey said. “We had five guys an hour before the game going into Covid protocol. I didn’t know what to expect.”
Coach Carey might not have known what to expect, but the result was pretty much as expected with the Owls (1-6, 1-6) dropping their 5th-straight game, 28-3 to the visiting ECU Pirates (2-6, 2-5).
According to Carey, his team learned just 45 minutes prior to the game that one of its players might be positive with Covid-19. The game was officially delayed just three minutes prior to kickoff. When all of the dust settled, the Owls did have a positive test. And they did end up taking the field minus CB Christian Braswell, CB Kimere Brown, DE Arnold Ebiketie, LB George Reid, and CB Nate Wyatt -- all now in Covid protocol.
“We didn’t really know (if we were going to play),” Defensive Tackle Dan Archibong said. “(Carey) just kind of said we may get canceled, we may not, so keep your head in the game.”
All five players were scheduled to play on special teams in addition to their primary positions on defense. Temple allowed a 95-yard touchdown on a kickoff return to ECU’s Tyler Snead without nearly half of its starters.
And while the health of the Temple players was the biggest concern, it wasn’t their only concern. Heading into Saturday’s matchup, freshman Quarterback Matt Duncan was scheduled to start his first game in college football. But about an hour before kickoff, it was announced that Duncan was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. Freshman walk-on Kamal Gray, the team’s 5th quarterback at the start of the season, found out that he'd be the starter around 8:40 Saturday morning, just 10 minutes before the team meeting. Wide Receiver and former high school Quarterback Branden Mack and Running Back Tayvon Ruley were listed as the number two and three quarterbacks on the depth chart.
“I’ve imagined this moment my whole life,” Gray said, who finished 10/21 passing for 95 yards and 2 interceptions on the day. “Little different without fans or anything, so it was just kind of another football game. I went out and just tried to do my job the best I could. I always try to keep my composure because the team feeds off me. If I’m riled up and too antsy, they’re going to feel that way too.”
Gray played the entire first half with mixed results. His first red-zone interception late in the half led to a late ECU score and a 21-3 halftime lead for the Pirates. As a result, Mack started at quarterback for the first two drives in the third quarter.
“Just wanted to calm down Kamal,” Carey said. “Let him see the game, and Branden brings a little different element that we didn’t have with Kamal. That was it.”
“It felt pretty good,” Mack said. “It was pretty exciting. I got to go out there and show my athletic capabilities. Wide receiver is my position, but it just felt good to be back there and switch something up.”
The plan is to have Anthony Russo back from the Covid protocol list next week against nationally-ranked Cincinnati, but Carey warned that we may not see the same quarterback fans saw from Russo in October.
“From what I know, (Russo) comes out of protocol on Tuesday,” Carey said. “I don’t know what kind of shape he’s in. I don’t know where his arm’s at.”
The season finale versus Cincinnati will likely be Temple’s toughest of the year. The Bearcats come to town with a New Year’s Day bowl game, and maybe even a spot in the college football playoffs, on their mind. Meanwhile, the Owls already know they’ll be without several players due to injury in addition to the ones in Covid protocol.
WR Jadan Blue, CB Linwood Crump, OL Joseph Hooper, OL Adam Klein, OL Vincent Picozzi, and SAF Amir Tyler all missed Saturday’s game with injuries. This list doesn’t even include guys like WR Randle Jones and LB Isaiah Graham-Mobley, which likely means they’re done for the year. RB Tayvon Ruley was also injured during Saturday’s game and did not return.
“It’s building character,” Mack said. “We’re learning how to fight through adversity, because that’s all we’ve been fighting through all season.”
“It’s definitely chaotic,” Archibong said. “I think it’s kind of how this year has been. Just 2020 man. Chaotic.”
Saturday’s game will be at the Linc. The time and TV network are still TBD.