Temple Prepares for Central Michigan, Next Six Weeks without Michael Eric

Temple Prepares for Central Michigan, Next Six Weeks without Michael Eric

The Temple Owls have been lacking depth since starting the season without small forward Scootie Randall. Now they're really in trouble.

After injuring his right patella last Friday in practice, center Michael Eric is expected to miss the next six weeks, taking the Owls through mid-January without two senior starters. Though Randall's injury was difficult blow to a team who relies on his leadership and consistent play, life without him was at least workable. Moving through the rest of their out-of-conference docket without Eric won't be so easy.

They'll begin today when they host the Central Michigan Chippewas in their home opener at the Liacouras Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. and can be heard on 1210 AM.

With Scootie rehabbing from a torn meniscus and Eric working to heal the same right patella that ended his junior season in the month of February, Temple is now badly undermanned and undersized. The responsibly for guarding the basket on D and providing a down low presence on the offensive end now falls to red-shirt freshman Anthony Lee.

Seen fairly or unfairly as the direct successor to Lavoy Allen when recruited, Lee now finds himself in exactly the same position as a first-year player that Allen did as a fourth-year starter. The Owls were forced play the majority of their stretch run and the entirety of the 2011 Atlantic-10 tournament without Eric and Randall last season. For the next six weeks, they'll try to do it again with almost exactly the same roster, save for Lee in the place of Allen.

At 6-9 Lee is now the tallest player in rotation that features height at the guard position, but no one else over 6-6. To provide any height, coach Fran Dunphy may have to at some point turn to another red-shirt freshman in Jimmy McDonnell, who did not figure to be part of the Owls plans for this season just a month ago.

If Lee is the only option underneath, and understandably still has some development ahead of him at both ends of the court when it comes staying on the floor, then the Owls may be forced to play some five guard sets with the 6-6 Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson using his length to make up for the team's lack of size.

Whatever the set, the Owls are going to need a significant contribution from sophomore Aaron Brown. Brown saw some time at the end of last season filling in in exactly this same situation for an injured Owls squad, and showed flashes of very real talent. Dunphy told reporters at the team's media day last month that for Brown to help this incarnation of the Temple Owls, he needs to hit 3's—his particular forte—and not be a good, but a great defender. Unfortunately, Brown has found it a bit difficult to work into the flow at either end given his spotty minutes. Perhaps consistency will show up with an increase in time.

If not, then the Owls are about to find themselves in a very difficult position over the next six weeks. Upcoming meetings with Texas and Duke were daunting enough, and that was before they lost to Bowling Green last weekend. There is no game the team can feel overly confident about until Randall and Eric come back. In the meantime, they have to be careful not to drop so many games as to put due pressure on themselves to need to win the A10 tournament to secure an NCAA tournament berth.

Today's meeting with Central Michigan is the second of three consecutive MAC games for Temple. They typically have a very successful history against their football program's conference rivals. Prior to their defeat at Bowling Green last Sunday, the Owls had won 12-straight against the MAC and have held a 17-6 record against MAC teams since the 2006-2007 season, when their scheduling agreement with the conference (thanks to the football deal) first began.

What's left of the injured Owls will need to ban together to begin a new streak today.

Best of NFL: Seahawks hurt Tony Romo, pull away from Cowboys

Best of NFL: Seahawks hurt Tony Romo, pull away from Cowboys

SEATTLE -- Three plays were all it took for Dallas to get yet another injury scare surrounding Tony Romo.

The quarterback lasted just 90 seconds into the Cowboys' 27-17 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night before leaving with what appeared at first to be a potentially significant injury, but ended up being minor.

Romo was tackled from behind by Seattle's Cliff Avril on the third play from scrimmage as Romo scrambled from the pocket.

He immediately grabbed at his back, crumpled on the field while trainers sprinted from the Dallas sideline and images of Romo's injury problems from last year immediately flashed to mind.

Turned out it was all just a scare. Romo walked off the field without assistance, threw passes on the sideline and lobbied for a return to the game. Dallas coach Jason Garrett opted to play it safe and Romo donned a baseball hat as a spectator the rest of the night.

"I was just in shock and had my mind on just, `C'mon, Tony. Get up,'" Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the team's TV broadcast.

"Said a few prayers right there in the middle on the spot. Really just couldn't imagine getting that hand dealt to us. We're pleased that it's in good shape. We obviously don't need to see what Tony can do out there."

What Romo saw was an impressive initial flash from rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott and a solid performance by backup QB Dak Prescott against one of the top defenses in the NFL.

Elliott rushed for 48 yards on seven carries, including a 13-yard run where he knocked Seattle safety Kam Chancellor backward. Prescott was solid playing against most of Seattle's starting defense, finishing 17 of 23 for 116 yards, including a 17-yard TD pass that Jason Witten snatched away from K.J. Wright.

Russell Wilson and Seattle's No. 1 offense played into the second half, scoring on four of its final five possessions including a pair of TD tosses by Wilson (see full recap).

Foster leads Dolphins to win over Falcons
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Running back Arian Foster had a 2-yard touchdown run in the Miami Dolphins' 17-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

Foster, who joined the Dolphins during the offseason and is coming off an Achilles injury, had his most extensive playing time with his new team in the third preseason game that was played at Orlando's Camping World Stadium.

The four-time Pro Bowl running back played in just one series in the first half, but he made the most of the limited opportunities by sparking the Dolphins to their lone touchdown drive of the half with five carries for 10 yards, capped by his 2-yard scoring run early in the second quarter.

The Dolphins are taking a cautious approach with Foster, who hasn't played a full season since 2012 with Houston. The former Texans star didn't play in the Dolphins' preseason opener and had just two carries for minus-5 yards last week against Dallas.

With Foster expected to challenge second-year running back Jay Ajayi in the Dolphins backfield this season, coach Adam Case came into Thursday night's game wanting a little more to evaluate Foster on.

Foster didn't get a lot more work, but he did enough in the seven touches he received to make the Dolphins' running back competition interesting. Ajayi carried seven times for 11 yards and caught two passes for 12 yards.

Foster had two receptions for 20 yards, which included a 16-yard catch that moved the Dolphins into scoring position at the Falcons 22.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, coming off an impressive outing against the Cowboys, didn't put his team in many scoring positions, but he did move the ball effectively.

He completed 20 of 29 passes for 155 yards while leading the Dolphins to a score in one of two red zone opportunities (see full recap).

Roy Halladay provides epic quote in tribute to Carlos Ruiz, the 'little engine that could'

Roy Halladay provides epic quote in tribute to Carlos Ruiz, the 'little engine that could'

Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz shared a special relationship.

We all know the story.

The two formed an incredible battery combination that produced a perfect game and postseason no-hitter in the same year.

Halladay, a Cy Young winner with plenty of accolades, loved the unassuming Ruiz just as much, if not more, than anyone.

This is case in point: Doc, via CSNPhilly.com's Phillies Insider Jim Salisbury, provided an absolutely epic quote summing up Chooch, who the Phillies traded on Thursday night.

Without further ado ...

Chooch was the little engine that could for a team loaded with big names, but no player was more valuable to the team as a whole than Carlos! He was so humble and grateful, you couldn't help but just want to do anything for him including win! He flawlessly handled one of the greatest pitching staffs ever assembled and was just as important offensively, as well. It was nothing short of miraculous that he could handle so many different personalities and approaches on a day-to-day basis the way that he did. He was the best catcher I've ever thrown to and, in my opinion, the best catcher in baseball in the years I was with him. It's going to be sad to see him without a Phillies uniform on and not seeing him sitting in his chair in the clubhouse with a smile. And just the way the fans treated Chase last week, Chooch is also deserving of that hero's welcome. They are my two favorite players of all-time as well as favorite teammates. I was fortunate to have both of them in the clubhouse. I want to wish good luck to Carlos. Maybe one day when we're old and gray we can come back to Philly!!

With that, we'll leave you with these awesome moments.

Report: Phillies calling up prospect Jorge Alfaro

Report: Phillies calling up prospect Jorge Alfaro

It appears prized catching prospect Jorge Alfaro is coming to the Phillies.

But not for long.

According to a report late Thursday night by Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, Alfaro will be promoted from Double A Reading to the Phillies and join the team Friday in New York.

Alfaro, already on the Phillies' 40-man roster, is not expected to stay for long. He gets the call now with the Phillies' trade of Carlos Ruiz on Thursday night and veteran catcher A.J. Ellis, a part of the Ruiz deal, not yet with the team but expecting to join it this weekend against the Mets.

Alfaro is a strong candidate to be a September call-up of the Phillies once Reading is finished with the Eastern League playoffs.

The 23-year-old was acquired in the Cole Hamels trade at last season's non-waiver deadline. With the Fightin Phils this season, Alfaro is hitting .279 with 13 home runs, 61 RBIs and 60 runs scored. He's ranked as baseball's second-best catching prospect by MLB.com Pipeline and is known for his big throwing arm and power potential.