We're six weeks in. Most the teams have played six games, so this is the perfect time to dole out some midseason grades. All grades are final but protests may be submitted to the instructor, although this rarely helps.
Here we are, six games into the season, and Temple is going strong. A 4-2 record has them near the top of the conference and in contention, and Bernard Pierce is 7th in the country in rushing yards (692) and first in rushing TD's (15). Sure, there may be some issues, like having a quarterback that is even capable of intimidating himself, but hey, nobody's perfect, right? Follow after the jump for some grading. Harsh grading, in red pen. Ahhhh middle school....Offense: As mentioned above, Pierce has been a beast, and everything the team hoped he would be given the flashes he had shown the last couple of seasons. On the flip side, Temple's top two receiving options (Evan Rodriguez and Rod Streater) have combined for 30 receptions, 482 yards and two touchdowns...which is barely top 50 production.
It's hard to say at this point whether that is due to Pierce producing well enough that the Owl's haven't really needed to pass the ball much, and how much of that is Chester Stewart and Mike Gerardi's inability to move the ball downfield effectively. Speaking of which, Pierce's performance has obscured the fact that, while Stewart's performance the last few games has been good enough to help his team win, he isn't that much better than Gerardi for the year (66% completion for 519 yards 2 TD and 2 INT for Stewart, 51% completion for 423 yards, 3 TD and 2 INT). Perhaps it says a lot about Gerardi's performance that all Stewart has done is game manage and he's passed gerardi in the pecking order.
Midterm Grade: B+
Defense: Here we get to the real meat and bones of Temple's success. Not unlike the Baltimore Ravens' SUper Bowl run, this team is built around running the ball on offense and smacking them around on defense. The squad struggled against Toledo in surrendering five touchdowns, though in...defense of the defense?...two of those scores only required 90 yards of offense. In their other five games, the Owls defense has allowed only 10 points in the first three quarters, and 21 in the fourth (mostly garbage time scores).
Tahir Whitehead has been the leader of this squad - his 28 tackles are only third on the team, but ten of them have been for a loss, including four sacks that tie him for the team lead with Adrian Robinson. He has also forced four fumbles and recovered three.
The defense has been sturdy, they just need the offense to keep putting them in compromising positions
Midterm Grade: A
In terms of strength of schedule, the Ball state team that Temple destroyed Saturday is probably the best team they've beaten this season - a bad thing because it means they haven't truly beaten anyone, but the MAC isn't exactly the SEC in terms of competition, so we'll see if Temple is above, on par with, or below teams like Ohio and Toledo (I'm hoping for the first but expecting the second).
Final Grade: A- with demerits for not giving Pierce the damn ball down the stretch against Toledo.