College football capsule: Army at Temple

templearmy.png

College football capsule: Army at Temple

Temple tries -- yet again -- to get Matt Rhule his first win and to avoid its worst start since 2006 …

Temple (0-6, 0-3 American) vs. Army (3-4)
Lincoln Financial Field - Philadelphia, Pa.
Saturday, 1 p.m., ESPN3


Spread
Temple (+1)

This one actually opened Temple (-3). The Owls are 3-3 against the spread this season, but 0-3 in games with single-digit numbers.

Scouting Temple
P.J. Walker impressed in his first college start, but also made some decisions that reminded everyone he's a true freshman. Walker went 12 for 22 for 200 yards passing, threw for a touchdown and two picks, and ran for 47 yards in Temple’s 38-20 loss at Cincinnati last Friday night. He led Temple to 20 first-half points, but got blanked in the second half.

Unfortunately for an offense that's shown new life under Walker, the Owls' kicking issues made an unfortunate return last week as Nick Visco banged one of his extra point attempts off the right upright. Temple had gone two games without a missed kick and three without a missed extra point. Rhule said Tuesday that Visco will continue his place kicking duties for the foreseeable future and that Tyler Mayes could supplant Jim Cooper Jr. this week on kickoffs.

On defense, the Owls are still letting up points and yards, but sophomore linebacker Tyler Matakevich leads the nation in solo tackles with 65. No one else has more than 45. 

Scouting Army
Matakevich will have plenty of opportunities to tackle this week against an Army team that runs nearly every play.

The Black Knights' triple-option offense leads the nation in rushing yards with 352.3 yards per game. Of course, their passing offense is third to last in the FBS (66.7 ypg). They run the ball 59.7 times per game against a nation-low 11 passing attempts.

Quarterback Angel Santiago has taken over for four-year starter Trent Steelman. Terry Baggett (77 for 744) is Army's leading rusher and put up 304 yards on Eastern Michigan last week. Senior rusher and West Catholic grad Raymond Maples will miss his fifth game in a row with a groin injury.

Army has won three of its seven games, but those victories have come against FCS Morgan State and two FBS teams -- Louisiana Tech and Eastern Michigan -- with a combined record of 1-9. Its four losses -- to Ball State, Stanford, Wake Forest and Boston College -- have come by an average of 18.5 points.

History
Temple leads the all-time series 6-4, but has won the last five games -- three of those five have been by margins of 28 points or more.

In 2010, Owls running back Matt Brown set what was then a single-game program record with four touchdowns at Michie Stadium. And in the return trip to West Point in 2012, Montel Harris set new program and Big East records with 351 yards and seven touchdowns in a 63-32 Temple win. 

Flying the flag
Backup quarterback Connor Reilly carried the American flag as the Owls took the field the last two seasons. His father, Lt. Col. Neil Reilly, served with the Army in Afghanistan and flew the Temple flag over his battalion while deployed, carrying the flag with him on each mission.

Somebody has to win
Temple hasn't won a home game since it beat South Florida in the Big East conference opener Oct. 6 of last year. The Owls have dropped their last six in a row at Lincoln Financial Field.

Army, meanwhile, has never won at the Linc. Including Army-Navy games, the Black Knights are 0-10 since the stadium opened in 2004.

Counting Temple, Army and the Eagles, the home team is winless at the Linc in its last 15 tries.

Recommended reading
When’s the last time the home team won a football game at Lincoln Financial Field? [The700Level]

NCAA Tournament wrap: UNC edges out Kentucky on Maye game-winner

NCAA Tournament wrap: UNC edges out Kentucky on Maye game-winner

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Luke Maye hit a jumper with 0.3 seconds left, and top-seeded North Carolina held off Kentucky 75-73 to earn the Tar Heels' second straight trip to the Final Four and 20th all-time in Sunday's showdown of college basketball's elite in the South Regional.

The Tar Heels (31-7) will play Midwest champ Oregon on Saturday in Phoenix in the national semifinal.

North Carolina took control with a 12-0 run within the final 5 minutes. Kentucky's freshmen De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk hit three quick 3s, the last two by Monk and his second with 7.2 seconds left tied it up at 73.

Theo Pinson brought the ball down, passed back to Maye. The sophomore from Huntersville, North Carolina, knocked it down for the win with his feet on the 3-point line.

The Wildcats had one last chance, but Derek Willis' inbound pass went out of bounds on the far end.

Kentucky (32-6) will miss out on the Final Four for the second straight year.

South Carolina beats Florida to reach first Final Four
NEW YORK -- It's only right that South Carolina's first trip to Final Four was earned through its defense.

A team known for a swarming zone used it effectively down the stretch to beat Florida 77-70 on Sunday and win the East Regional at Madison Square Garden.

Sindarius Thornwell scored 26 points for the seventh-seeded Gamecocks (26-10) against the fourth-seeded Gators (27-9) in the all-Southeastern Conference matchup.

South Carolina will face Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed from the West Regional, in the Final Four on Saturday at Glendale, Arizona.

"Gamecock Nation, we heard you loud and clear," coach Frank Martin roared as the team prepared to cut down the nets. "We'll see you in Phoenix."

The game was as close as expected until the final minute. There were 14 lead changes and 10 ties. The last lead change came on two free throws by Thornwell with 2:24 left that made it 65-63. Florida managed just three field goals over the final 3:55.

Thornwell, the regional MVP, followed the deciding free throws with a nice assist to Maik Kotsar for a 4-point lead. It seemed Thornwell, who scored eight straight points for the Gamecocks, was always where he needed to be including making a steal with 40 seconds left that turned into a 73-68 lead.

"I just made plays," Thornwell said. "Plays needed to be made down the stretch and I stepped up and made plays."

"Thornwell was just being Thornwell," Florida coach Mike White said of the SEC player of the year. "He's one of the best players in the country."

PJ Dozier added 17 points for the Gamecocks, Chris Silva had 13 and Kotsar 12.

It all totaled to a Final Four trip for Martin, he of the booming voice and terrifying faces.

Justin Leon had 18 points for the Gators who managed a 40-33 halftime lead on 7-for-12 shooting from 3-point range. But that was it. Florida was 0 for 14 from beyond the arc in the second half, a lot like the 0-for-17 effort the Gators had in their first meeting with South Carolina this season.

South Carolina, which forced Florida into 16 turnovers, finished 23 for 31 from the free throw line, including a 9-for-10 effort from Thornwell.

NCAA Tournament Wrap: Gonzaga reaches 1st Final Four; Oregon upsets Kansas

NCAA Tournament Wrap: Gonzaga reaches 1st Final Four; Oregon upsets Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tyler Dorsey poured in 27 points, Dillon Brooks added 17 and plucky Oregon ended Kansas' romp through the NCAA Tournament with a 74-60 victory Saturday night that gave the Ducks their first Final Four trip in nearly 80 years.

Dylan Ennis added 12 points for the Ducks (33-5), who took the lead with 16 minutes left in the first half and never trailed again, giving coach Dana Altman his first trip to the national semifinals.

They'll face the winner of Sunday's game between North Carolina and Kentucky in Glendale, Arizona.

Player of the year front-runner Frank Mason III had 21 points in his final game for the Jayhawks (31-5), who had rolled to the Elite Eight by an average margin of 30 points. But their dream season ended with a thud just 40 minutes from campus on a night where very little went right (see full recap).

Gonzaga beats Xavier to reach 1st Final Four
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points while orchestrating Gonzaga's efficient offense, and the Zags finally shook their overrated tag by routing Xavier 83-59 on Saturday to reach the Final Four for the first time.

Gonzaga (36-1) has been dogged by criticism through the years despite winning consistently, in part for playing in a weak conference but also for never making the Final Four.

On the cusp of history, the Zags took it head on with a superb all-around game to give coach Mark Few the one missing piece of his resume.

Gonzaga found the range from the perimeter after struggling the first three NCAA games, making 12 of 24 from 3-point range. The defense, a soft spot in the past, shut down the underdog and 11th-seeded Musketeers (24-14) to win the West Region.

The Zags will face the winner between South Carolina and Florida in next week's Final Four in Arizona (see full recap).