Uggla'd: Halladay Loses Second Straight Complete Game

Uggla'd: Halladay Loses Second Straight Complete Game

Those of us hoping to see some flash from the bats on Sunday were left wanting, and for the second straight outing, Roy Halladay pitched a complete game loss. Tim Hudson held the Phils to a pair of runs, and Dan Uggla knocked a game-winning homer in the bottom of the eighth to put the Braves ahead, 3-2.

Halladay had some bad luck, with several of the eight hits he allowed coming off of broken bats. One almost impaled him. Doc had some trouble getting leadoff men out, with Uggla in particular giving him fits. Uggla scored all three Braves runs, and he led off each of the innings he scored in (a single, a walk, and the homer). All this from a guy barely over .200 on the season. Just not a lucky day for Halladay, who wasn't bad at all.

It was Halladay's first loss to the Braves since joining the Phillies last season.

MAYBE MAYBERRY?
Getting the start in right, John Mayberry Jr was the lone Phillie helping Doc out at the plate, walking twice, swiping a bag, and slamming a two-run homer in the top of the sixth. It reminded me of something Mitch Williams said when speaking to the WIP morning show earlier this week, to the effect of, if Mayberry got regular at bats, he'd probably run into 25 HR over the course of a season. Hmmm…

The rest of the offense was unable to get to Hudson, who worked them rather than the other way around (eg, Jimmy Rollins saw six pitches in his first three at bats). Most of the regulars went 0-fer the day, with Carlos Ruiz being the only exception. Chooch got his first hit in his last 27 at bats.

Not the finale to the weekend we were looking for, with the Phillies dropping the series to the Braves and lacking pop in the lineup.

NEXT UP...
Up next is a trip to St. Louis for a pair of games, where the Cardinals are swinging the bats well but not pitching anywhere near as well as the guys we've just seen. The Cardinals scored five ninth-inning runs today but still lost to the Reds by a 9-7 count. Cincinnati swept the Cards, scoring six, seven, and nine runs in the three games of the series.

Can the Phillies get on that wagon?

Temple at No. 19 Navy: Owls go for first AAC title

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Temple at No. 19 Navy: Owls go for first AAC title

Temple (9-3) at No. 19 Navy (9-2)
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Saturday, noon, ABC

It would have been hard to picture Temple in the American Athletic Conference championship game after the Owls’ first game of the season, a 28-13 loss to Army.

But that’s exactly where they are three months later, as Temple will take on No. 19 Navy in the conference championship game Saturday.

The Owls and Midshipmen have both been handling opponents as of late. Temple’s won its last four games by at least three touchdowns, while Navy has outscored opponents 141-62 in its past two games.

Let’s take a look at how one of the country’s top offenses and one of the country’s top defenses match up.

Scouting Temple
The Owls' defense seems to get better every week. Temple ranks No. 3 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense and No. 10 in scoring defense. The only two teams that rank higher than the Owls in both categories are Alabama and Michigan.

Teams haven’t scored more than 13 points against the Owls in their last four games, and Temple is outscoring opponents 123-23 during that stretch.

Redshirt-senior defensive lineman Haason Reddick was named a first team all-conference selection earlier this week. He leads the FBS in tackles for loss. Redshirt-senior Praise Martin-Oguike is coming off one of his best games of the season last week against East Carolina, in which he had two sacks, including a forced fumble. He has seven sacks this season.

On offense, Temple’s goal this week will be to sustain drives and keep Navy’s offense off the field. The Owls are currently No. 5 in the FBS in time of possession, holding the ball for more than 34 minutes per game.

Earlier in the week, coach Matt Rhule said senior quarterback Phillip Walker was questionable for Saturday’s game. Walker will likely play, but the Owls might be without one of their top offensive weapons.

Rhule said sophomore running back Ryquell Armstead is doubtful. Armstead has 842 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

Scouting Navy
The Midshipmen have one of the simplest — yet at that same time one of the best — offenses in the country. Navy ranks No. 2 in rushing yards at 342 yards per game.

Quarterback Will Worth runs the triple option for Navy. He has 2,544 total yards of offense and 33 total touchdowns. He’s passed for 1,363 yards and rushed for 1,181 more.  Worth has a touchdown in 11 straight games.

Worth has attempted 258 rushes compared to 115 passing attempts. Four other Navy players have at least 40 rushing attempts this season.

Senior wide receiver Jamir Tillman is the Midshipmen’s best receiving threat. The 6-foot-4 wideout has 32 catches for 533 yards and two touchdowns.

Navy’s defense hasn’t been quite as elite as its offense. The Midshipmen have allowed 30 or more points in four of their last five games.

The Midshipmen are allowing 265 passing yards per game. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged 313 yards and three touchdowns in their last three contests.

Storyline to watch: Can Temple find a way to stop the triple option?
The last time these two teams played was in 2014, when Navy ran for 487 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-24 win against the Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. Temple’s most recent matchup against the triple option was when it lost to Army in its season opener. The Black Knights ran for 329 yards and four touchdowns. With only a week to prepare, Temple will have to find a way to cure its option woes if it wants a chance to win Saturday.

What’s at stake?
The Owls have only won one other conference championship in program history, when they won the Mid-Atlantic Conference in 1967. A win would also give Temple its third 10-win season in program history. If Western Michigan loses Friday night, Temple also puts itself in contention for a spot in the Cotton Bowl with a win.

Prediction
Temple has to figure out this option thing at some point, right? The Owls’ ability to convert on third down and sustain long drives will help slow Navy's offense. This one will most likely come down to who has the ball last, but the Owls are a little bit more well-rounded, so they get the edge. Temple 31, Navy 28