It was not a day of happy returns for Geoff Collins. The Georgia Tech coach returned to Lincoln Financial Field, where he had guided Temple the previous two seasons, and received a rude homecoming.
Temple, coming off last week’s 38-22 upset loss at Buffalo, took a while to get in gear. But once they did, the Owls controlled the Yellow Jackets during Saturday’s 24-2 win.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
It took Temple a little while, but once the Owls committed to the run, it was the beginning of the end for Collins’ Georgia Tech team.
The game was scoreless when Temple took over at its own 42-yard line with 10 minutes, 22 seconds left in the first half. That is when the Owls committed to the run. They went on a 9-play, 58-yard drive and ran the ball on seven of the plays, including Re’Mahn Davis’ 18-yard scoring run.
Temple went on a 13-play, 73-yard scoring drive the next series, capped by Davis’ 1-yard touchdown run. The Owls ran the ball 11 times in that drive.
Georgia Tech entered the game 129th among 130 Football Bowl Subdivision schools in rushing defense. The Yellow Jackets allowed an average of 274 yards in their first three games.
Temple rushed for 118 yards on 27 carries in the first half. Consider that in last week’s 38-22 loss at Buffalo, Temple had 23 rushing attempts the entire game.
Temple rushed for 195 yards on 49 attempts. Davis finished with 29 carries for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
Temple coach Rod Carey is a proponent of running the ball and playing strong defense, two staples of Saturday’s win.
Even though he isn’t a starter, redshirt junior linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley, from Upper Merion, receives plenty of playing time on Temple’s most experienced unit. Graham-Mobley saved a touchdown by forcing a fumble before Tech quarterback Tobias Oliver crossed the goal line early in the second quarter. Cornerback Christian Braswell recovered, and Temple had escaped damage.
Graham-Mobley has great speed to track down ball carriers, and the fact that he didn’t give up on the play saved a score. He had six tackles and two tackles for loss and is like a fourth starter in Temple’s three-linebacker alignment.
At least the expectations weren’t high in Collins first season at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets were picked seventh and last in preseason ranking in the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division. Georgia Tech, under former Temple offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude, has totally reshaped the offense, scrapping the triple option that was run the previous 11 years under Paul Johnson for a spread offense. The biggest threat on offense was when quarterbacks Tobias Oliver and James Graham ran the ball many times out of desperation. Neither appears to be a pin-point passer.