Temple Routs Villanova 41-10 on Matt Brown's Big Night

Temple Routs Villanova 41-10 on Matt Brown's Big Night

The fourth and final Mayor's Cup came to a pretty uneventful end by the time the clock struck zero Friday night. By that point, Temple had amassed a 31-point lead and the fourth quarter had played out more like an inconvenient necessity than a dramatic conclusion to a rivalry game.
Still, the Mayor's Cup was a certain success, setting a new record for the third-largest attendance to ever watch a Temple football game at Lincoln Financial Field.
Our assorted notes recap featuring Matt Brown's 270-yard performance, Brandon McManus' history-making night, attendance details, milestones, stats, story lines and postgame audio from the Temple win after the jump...

Milestones-- The announced crowd of 32,709 set a new Mayor's Cup attendance record and was the largest crowd to ever watch a Temple game at the Linc that did not involve Penn State. An encouraging sign for the game's in-question future, the size of the game's crowd grew larger in each of the past four years, moving from 27,759 in 2009 to 32,193 in 2010 to 32,638 in 2011 to 32,709 in 2012.

-- Temple senior kicker Brandon McManus set a school record for field goals made with the 47th field goal of his career on a 24-yard attempt in the fourth quarter. He extended his newly-own record with his 48th conversion as an Owl later in the quarter. The 61-yard punt he unleashed in the second half wasn't bad either.
-- Just barely a year after his first game with the program, Friday night's result secured Steve Addazio his tenth win as the head coach at Temple. The victory was Temple's fifth straight in total and fifth straight at home dating back to last season. The Owls have won their last three season openers in a row, all of them over Villanova.
Team Stats-- Total yards: Temple 362, Villanova 365-- Passing yards: Temple 61, Villanova 163-- Rushing yards: Temple 301, Villanova 212-- First downs: Temple 15, Villanova 18-- Third-down conversions: Temple 6/13, Villanova 5/14-- Turnovers: Temple 0, Villanova 2-- TOI: Temple 30:17, Villanova 29:43
Individual Performances-- Matt Brown, RB -- 270 yards on 26 touches. That kind of speaks for itself, but is worth detailing nonetheless. Brown rushed for 146 yards on 19 attempts, added 84 more yards on four kick returns and yet 41 more on three punt returns. The most important of those 26 touches came with less than a minute to play in the first half. Right after a failed 4th-and-2 attempt set up a Villanova scoring drive that cut the Owls' lead to only 11 -- 21-10 -- Brown ripped a 56-yarder to put the Owls' back up 18 with 21 seconds to go before the break. Addazio and offensive coordinator Ryan Day opted to go for the jugular with the fourth down call, and it would have cost them on the board had Brown not immediately made up for it by putting the game on lockdown with still 30 minutes left to go. For more on Matt Brown's stellar night, including how he recruited himself to Temple by explaining that the program "sucked" anyway and that it might as well take a look at him, click here.
-- Montel Harris, RB -- Through no fault of his own, Harris' Temple debut was underwhelming. He touched the ball just six times in the first half on five rushes and one reception for 20 yards. When Temple came out of the tunnel at the half, Harris took to the sideline in sweatpants and was done for the night. After the game, it was revealed he had been battling a strained hamstring, and tried to give it a go, but was limited. Addazio said he made the decision to pull Harris so that he'd have the best chance to be ready to go in full against Maryland next week.
-- Kenny Harper, FB/RB -- In Harris' absence, Kenny Harper filled in as the complement to Brown, scoring the first two touchdowns of his collegiate career. The first came on an eight-yard shovel pass from Chris Coyer to open the scoring at 7-0 and the second came on a 38-yard run in the second half to push the Temple lead to 35-10. Moving forward, keep an eye on what Temple does with Harper when they start rearranging their backfield in the spread-option. More on that in the section below about the as-yet-unrevealed offensive playbook.
-- Chris Coyer, QB -- Coyer attempted more plays on the ground than through the air and ran for more yards than he passed. It probably won't be the last time that happens this season. The stats broke down to 86 yards and a touchdown on 13 rushing attempts and 61 yards on five completions in 11 passing attempts. To be honest, nothing much to report here as his reps were limited. He started out 3 for 3 before then going 0 for 3 and then 2 for 5. Temple ran the ball as expected, and Coyer did what he had to when asked, with the exception of a couple poor passes on third down. Still, the offense was so vanilla that it was hard to get gauge on anything, and he certainly wasn't going to get into any kind of rhythm passing the ball. In short, he was fine.
-- Vaughn Carraway, FS -- As good as Brown was, it was Carraway that swung the game in the second quarter. After a 14-play, 78-yard Villanova drive put the Wildcats on the board with a field goal and down 7-3, the Temple offense left the field on two straight three-and-outs as the game was settling in and the VU beginning to generate a bit of momentum. But when 'Nova QB Chris Polony targeted his star wideout, Norman White, down the left sideline, Carraway came over the top, intercepted the ball and and made multiple would-be tacklers look silly in his 57-yard return to the end zone. It was the second INT of his career and his first touchdown. Just two plays later, a Carraway recovered a Nate Smith-forced fumble. And just three plays after that, Coyer was in the endzone. Those two turnovers advanced the Temple lead from four to 18 points in 48 seconds. Carraway, by the way, also finished with three tackles.
-- Nate Smith, MIKE -- The man who knocked loose the aforementioned Kevin Monangai fumble, Smith led the Temple defense with seven tackles, all of which were unassisted.
Notes and Story lines-- Don't get too excited -- Yes, it was a confidence-instilling, Week 1 blowout victory, but it was against an FCS team that wasn't very good last year, and is missing three key guys on offense. This game should have played out exactly how it did. That fact that Temple took care of business is a good sign, but doesn't say much about how they'll stack up against the Big East.
-- Receivers MIA -- Well-explained by the Inqy's Keith Pompey: "West performance of the game: I hate to do this to the Owls’ outside receivers, especially when Wildcats quarterback Chris Polony completed just 2 of 7 passes and threw an interception. But I can’t overlook that Deon Miller, C.J. Hammond and Ryan Alderman were all held without a catch. Hammond failed to catch a very catchable pass on the deep throw toward the Wildcats' sideline. In Miller's defense, he's getting over an viral illness. But slot receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick, caught two passes for 33 yards, will need help if the Ow
ls expect to keep teams from loading the box to stop the run."

-- Hamstrings can be like the Cranberries -- I mean that they can linger, not that they're in your head. Montel Harris can be a great weapon for Temple this year; he's the nation's active leader in 100-yard rushing games. With any luck, he just needs some rest and a light week of practice.
-- Expanding the playbook -- The Temple offense was remarkably boring Friday night and with good reason. Temple didn't want to show much of anything to Maryland or Penn State -- their next two opponents -- and they didn't. In addressing Harper's performance postgame, Addazio spoke with excitement about what the team might look like in his fully-realized spread and how Harper and slot receivers Jalen Fitzpatrick and Khalif Herbin can all line up at tailback. So how much did they hold back? According to Matt Brown, .01% of the offensive playbook was on display Friday night.
-- Offensive line status report -- They're alive. They protected Coyer well and opened holes for the backs. They're alive.
-- Not So Stormin' Norman -- Norman White, Villanova's pro prospect wideout who missed all of last season with a foot injury, led all Wildcat receivers, but caught just four balls for 33 yards. He dropped at least two balls sent his way, including one that went right through his hands on third down. Temple doubled-up him on nearly every passing play. Talley said after that the double coverage obviously kept White's touches down, but that there were other times when quarterbacks Chris Polony and John Robertson simply missed their open receiver because they were forced to pull the ball down under pressure.
-- Fight song drowns out Talley -- Just as Andy Talley took the podium to address the media, the Temple locker room began signing the "T for Temple U" fight song. Superb timing. Listen to that audio here and Steve Addazio's postgame address below.
 
Next Up-- Temple hosts the Maryland Terrapins next Saturday at Noon. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

Union goalie John McCarthy ready for 1st MLS start of season

Union goalie John McCarthy ready for 1st MLS start of season

CHESTER, Pa. — Long after Wednesday’s morning training session ended, John McCarthy remained on the practice field to sign autographs for a bunch of young campers.
 
This is a typical activity for the popular Philadelphia native, who in many ways is a perfect backup goalkeeper for the Union.

But this weekend, McCarthy will be more than just an ambassador for fans. With Andre Blake on international duty with the Jamaican national team, the La Salle alum will be thrust into the limelight and make his first MLS start of the season when the Union face the Chicago Fire on Saturday at Toyota Park (8:30 p.m./TCN).  

“Obviously he’s itching to get his first MLS game this year,” Curtin said. “He’s a professional. This is what he prepares for. It’s similar to a backup quarterback role — you have to be ready when your number is called, and I know Johnny will be. He’s a guy I trust a great deal. He’s a winner. He won big games last year, and I expect him to do the same in Chicago.”

McCarthy indeed had a memorable rookie season last year, starting 11 games in league play while playing a key role in the Union’s run to the U.S. Open Cup final. 

But with Blake overcoming injuries and growing into an All-Star this year, McCarthy’s opportunities for playing time have dried up. So far in 2016, he’s played in just one U.S. Open Cup game on top of the 11 starts he's made for the Union’s USL affiliate, Bethlehem Steel FC.

How has he dealt with such a change?

“You don’t want to change anything up,” McCarthy said. “You just want to be as consistent as possible, keep training the same and keep your mindset the same because it’s the same when you’re sitting on the bench. You’ve got to be ready to play — and the opportunity is here.”

Another international call-up for Blake left the door open for McCarthy to potentially start June 1 vs. Columbus Crew SC. But Curtin instead opted to go with Matt Jones, who gave up two goals but got the win in what's been his only MLS start. Jones has since been dealing with an injury though, which led to McCarthy getting the nod this weekend. 

Despite the competition, McCarthy insists he and Jones — and Blake too — have maintained a great rapport.

“We’re all really good friends,” he said. “We all sit next to each other in the locker room. We can give each other crap off the field, joke with each other and stuff, and then when it comes to [being] on the field, it’s time to work. And we work together as a group because at the end of the day, whoever’s playing, we want the best for them and we want to win.”

McCarthy certainly wants the best for Blake, who is set to start in net for Jamaica in a couple of key games vs. Panama and Haiti as the Reggae Boyz look to advance to the fifth round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. 

Alejandro Bedoya will also be involved in the final two games of the fourth round of qualifying as he joins the U.S. national team. And if he plays in Friday’s game vs. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as expected, it will mark just the second time in club history an active Union player plays for the USMNT.

That’s a big deal, according to Curtin.

“Listen, when kids watch the game and they see who’s on the national team, that’s who they should all aspire to be like,” Curtin said. “I think Alejandro is a player every kid should want to be like. … To have a guy from the Union with this badge represent our country is really powerful. I think that shows the growth of our club. We want more and more of our guys to represent our country.”

At the same time, Bedoya’s absence will naturally create a big hole for the Union, who are dealing with injuries to other midfielders. Blake — who’s usually good for a spectacular save or two — not being in Chicago will be tough for the team to cope with, too.

But Curtin is eager to see some of his bench guys fill important roles this weekend — especially McCarthy.

“All goalies are a little bit crazy in their own way,” Curtin said. “I put Johnny right in that category. So he’s not fazed by pressure. I think he embraces pressure. He’s a fighter. He has a good strong mentality and he works his tail off every day in training.
“He’s one of our hardest working guys. He stays after to take shots, and puts a ton of work in. I’m happy and excited for him to get his opportunity now.”

Phillies to add 3 players Friday; Nick Williams iffy for September call-up

Phillies to add 3 players Friday; Nick Williams iffy for September call-up

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said he expects the club to add three players from the minors on Friday. Rosters expand on Thursday, an off day for the Phils.

“A couple of relievers, maybe a hitter,” Mackanin said before Wednesday night's game against Washington.

Mackanin would not name names because a lot can change in a day or two.

Darin Ruf seems to be a logical choice to be the hitter Mackanin referred to. He opened the season with the big club, but got just 57 at-bats and hit just .158 before being sent to Triple A when Tommy Joseph came up. Since going down, Ruf has hit .298 with 20 homers, 65 RBIs and a .895 OPS in 94 games for Lehigh Valley.

The Phillies will likely add two relievers to fortify the bullpen. Patrick Schuster, a lefty who was recently claimed off waivers from Oakland, could be a possibility. Colton Murray, Luis Garcia, Dalier Hinojosa and Elvis Araujo all could be possibilities, as well. All have spent time in the majors this season.

The Phils can’t completely pick over the Triple A roster because Lehigh Valley’s regular season runs through Monday and that club is likely to be in the International League playoffs.

Once Lehigh Valley’s season is over, more pitching could come. Starters David Buchanan and Phil Klein could be possibilities. Alec Asher, currently serving a suspension for testing positive for PEDs, is expected to be activated by the big club next week and could provide some innings to the starting rotation.

It’s unclear which prospects will come up. Catcher Jorge Alfaro seems to be a shoo-in after Double A Reading’s playoff run. Shortstop J.P. Crawford is not on the 40-man roster and does not need to be protected on it this winter. That could prevent him from coming up as the Phillies look to use the 40-man roster spot on a player that they could lose if not protected. Outfielder Nick Williams seemed to be a lock to come up a month ago, but his performance has slipped at Triple A in recent weeks and he now looks iffy.

Williams, like Alfaro, was acquired from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade last summer. The lefty-hitting outfielder entered Wednesday hitting .265 with 12 homers, 62 RBIs and just a .294 on-base percentage in 119 games. He entered Wednesday hitting just .187 with a paltry .204 on-base percentage in the month of August. He had struck out 34 times and walked just once in 93 trips to the plate in August.

That certainly cannot sit well with a front office that puts a premium on players who "control the strike zone."

AFL rosters announced
The Phillies will send six players to the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. The group includes three pitchers, right-handed relievers Victor Arano and Miguel Nunez, and lefty starter Brandon Liebrandt, second baseman Scott Kingery, third baseman Mitch Walding, and outfielder Aaron Brown. Brown replaces outfielder Andrew Pullin, who recently went on the disabled list at Double A Reading with an elbow injury.

Sixers waive Carl Landry, Tibor Pleiss; officially sign Cat Barber

Sixers waive Carl Landry, Tibor Pleiss; officially sign Cat Barber

The Sixers made some roster tweaks on Wednesday night.

The team waived forward Carl Landry and center Tibor Pleiss, while officially announcing the signing of guard Anthony "Cat" Barber.

The Sixers were expected to cut Pleiss, who was acquired last Friday in a trade with the Jazz. On July 21, Barber and the Sixers reportedly agreed to a partially guaranteed deal.

Landy, a 32-year-old veteran, played one season with the Sixers after being acquired last summer in a trade with the Kings, a deal in which he was essentially a toss-in as it revolved around bringing Nik Stauskas to Philadelphia. Landry, who was under contract for 2016-17 at $6.75 million, battled injury to start 2015-16 and ended up playing in 36 games (12 starts), averaging 9.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Barber, 6-foot-3, 173 pounds, will fight for a roster spot at point guard during training camp. The 22-year-old went undrafted in June after declaring following his junior season at NC State in which he averaged 23.5 points per game, seventh most in the country and best in the ACC.