Temple Survives Central Mich and A Quick Note on Concussions

Temple Survives Central Mich and A Quick Note on Concussions

In front of a considerably smaller crowd than present for last week's Mayor's Cup, the Temple University Football team slugged out an ugly victory over the Central Michigan Chippewas Thursday night in OT. Temple's chances would once again rest on the foot of Owl kicker Brandon McManus, who, after having missed two of his first three kicks wide right, was able to compose himself and split the uprights to end the 13-10 affair.

Temple was the beneficiary of some very lucky late breaks, including a Central Michigan fumble on the last play of regulation and an ill-advised force into the end zone on the opening drive of the extra session, the latter resulting in an Owl interception. From there, Coach Golden ordered up a steady diet of Matt Brown. Three consecutive rushes proved barely enough to gain the first down. Two more short yardage gains and third down to center McManus between the hash marks would close it out.

For those who have been knocking the Bernard Pierce for Heisman campaign, last night really only bolstered your argument. Pierce, who began to look like the Bernard of old after some explosive touches and bulldozing broken tackles in the first half, entered the fourth quarter with a touchdown on 10 rushes for 57 yards and 2 catches for 15 yards. Bernard would finish the game with a TD on 10 rushes for 57 yards and 2 catches for 15 yards. Just so we're clear, Bernard Pierce (yeah, this guy) did not touch the football in the fourth quarter or overtime.

I know the decision to bump him below Brown on the depth chart was due to his inability to practice after experiencing some concussion-like symptoms, but one has to wonder exactly what the problem is now. If he's still hurt or feeling any irregularities with his head, he shouldn't be playing. If he is completely healthy, why is the most talented guy on the team sitting on the bench during the fourth quarter and overtime in a meaningful in-conference match up? I can appreciate the argument that Golden is perhaps limiting his touches early in the season to try to keep him healthy late in the year, but that all goes out the window with the game on the line. I don't really get it myself, any guesses? Update: Owlsports.com is reporting that Bernard's disappearance was caused by a hand injury sustained during the third quarter. No word on the severity of the injury has been released. Hopefully, it isn't serious and his absence was largely precautionary.

(Quick digression: As long as I'm asking for feedback, are there any medical personnel who read the site and can explain to me, and anyone who may be curious, the difference between a concussion and "concussion-like symptoms." Sports fans can attest to the fact that any number of athletes are diagnosed each year with only "concussion-like symptoms," rather than an actual concussion after taking solid shots to the head. I clearly am not a doctor and have almost zero medical expertise outside of the application and removal of band-aids, but it just seems odd that an athlete would experience symptoms usually associated with a concussion without having actually been concussed. Anybody have any knowledge on the matter? Is there a doctor in the house?)

Back to the gridiron, Chester Stewart is...well, let me say this off the bat: I like Chester. I want him to succeed, and, having met him, he seems like a nice enough guy. All I'm saying is that if he keeps teasing Temple fans with some solid play under center only to twice fumble the ball at absolutely huge moments of the game, every member of the student section is going to wind up either prematurely gray, or start drinking more than they already do. Big C's first pass of the night came on a bomb; a 56 yard completion to wide out Rod Streater gave the impression that things were going to be clicking for the Temple offense. And though we proved ineffective once inside the red zone for the majority of the night, Chester's throws were noticeably more steady and on point than the week prior, an exciting sign of some quick growth in his release and timing. 

His actual decisions with the football, however, remain back-breaking. Pierce's touchdown right before half gave the Owls a 7-0 lead with little time left. An almost immediate CMU turnover put the Owls well within range for a Brandon McManus FG to end the half. Going into the break up 10-0 after a largely scoreless opening thirty would have really swung the momentum in Temple's favor. Instead, Chester would cough up the ball with just seconds left to send the Owls into the break up 7. Later, with only 35 ticks on the clock, Stewart attempted to break out of the pocket and scramble out of bounds. This might have been less disastrous if he wasn't holding the ball like a loaf of bread (read: L.J. Smith) in the open field. Failing to wrap up the football resulted in a hard hit and strip that might have cost Temple the game if not for a late Chippewa mental cramp of their own. I'm pulling for you, Chester. I am.

Defensively, DT Muhammad Wilkerson had a huge game and seemed to be in on almost every key tackle. The unit as a whole really deserves recognition on its performance. Bending but not breaking, the Owl D bears ultimate responsibility for the victory. At least we're 2-0, right?

Nick Menta is a TU Senior and the Sports Director of WHIP Temple University Student Run Radio.

Photo by Jazmyne Anderson

Best of MLB: Dodgers deny Cubs' Jake Arrieta 21st straight win

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Best of MLB: Dodgers deny Cubs' Jake Arrieta 21st straight win

CHICAGO -- Scott Kazmir and two relievers combined on a one-hitter, matching zeros with Cubs ace Jake Arrieta before the Los Angeles Dodgers got to Chicago's bullpen for a 5-0 victory Tuesday night.

Arrieta went seven scoreless innings, but was denied his 21st consecutive victory. The Cubs had won in Arrieta's last 23 starts.

Cubs left-hander Clayton Richard (0-1) gave up three straight singles to lefties in the eighth, the last Adrian Gonzalez's liner to left that scored Chase Utley and ended the Dodgers' 16-inning scoreless streak.

Corey Seager hit a three-run homer off Trevor Cahill in the ninth.

Joe Blanton (3-2) struck out three in two perfect innings as the Dodgers snapped the Cubs' six-game winning streak.

Kazmir allowed a single and a walk with seven strikeouts in six innings. Adam Liberatore struck out one in a perfect ninth (see full recap).

Betts hits trio of homers in Red Sox win
BALTIMORE -- Mookie Betts hit a career-high three homers and drove in five runs, and the Boston Red Sox cruised past the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 on Tuesday night to open a three-game lead in the AL East.

Betts led off the game with a shot to center and added a three-run drive to left in the second inning. After lining out to second base in the fourth, Betts hit a bases-empty homer to right in the seventh.

Batting in the ninth inning with a chance to tie the major league record of four homers in a game, Betts grounded out to second against rookie Ashur Tolliver.

Still, he's the first Boston player to hit three homers in a game since Will Middlebrooks against Toronto on April 7, 2013. Betts' 12 home runs rank second on the team behind David Ortiz, who has 14.

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts stretched his career-best hitting streak to 24 games with a single in the seventh inning (see full recap).

Rockies tie franchise record with 7 HRs
DENVER -- Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon each hit two of Colorado's team record-tying seven homers, powering the Rockies to a 17-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

Blackmon became the first player in Rockies history to hit leadoff homers in back-to-back games and added his first career grand slam in the seventh. Carlos Gonzalez homered for a fourth straight game, while DJ LeMahieu and Gerardo Parra also went deep.

It was the first time Colorado hit seven homers at Coors Field. The team also had seven on April 5, 1997, in Montreal.

Rockies right-hander Jon Gray (3-2) allowed three runs in six solid innings.

Jon Moscot (0-3) was hit hard in his return from the disabled list. He surrendered seven runs and four homers in two innings. Moscot also was grazed in the right ear in the third while bunting. Moscot stayed down for a moment before taking his base (see full recap).

Difference in talent, power glaring as Phillies continue to lose to top teams

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Difference in talent, power glaring as Phillies continue to lose to top teams

BOX SCORE

The gap in talent level that exists between the Phillies and some of the top teams in the majors has really been evident over the last eight games.
 
The Phillies have lost seven of those eight games to the Tigers, Cubs and Nationals. Tuesday night brought the latest defeat, a 5-1 loss to the National League East-leading Nats at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay). The Nats have won the first two games of the series and go for the sweep on Wednesday night.
 
While losing seven of their last eight, the Phillies have seen their feel-good story turn to dust. Their record has gone from 25-19 to 26-26 and their deficit in the NL East from two games to 5½.
 
“We had a good month and a half,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “When things are going good, they snowball. When things are going bad, they snowball. We’ve got to keep that snowball from rolling. We’ve got to get out of it.”
 
There are a number of reasons the Phillies have hit hard times. Poor offense is a big one. They have been held to two or fewer runs five times in their last seven losses and 20 times for the season. They are now averaging 3.15 runs per game, the lowest mark in the majors. Offense like that is the reason why Aaron Nola can pitch six innings of two-run ball and lose on two mistake pitches as he did Tuesday night. These pitchers have no margin for error.
 
One of the offensive’s big shortcomings is the lack of power. The Phils have been out-homered 15-7 in the last eight games. Washington hit four longballs on Tuesday night; the Phillies hit none. In fact, the Phillies had just four hits – period.
 
“We’re just getting out-homered every night,” Mackanin said. “We’re not hitting home runs. I feel like it’s a broken record. We’re not hitting.”
 
For the season, the Phillies have 39 homers. Only Atlanta has hit fewer.
 
And it doesn’t appear as if things are going to get all that much better any time soon. Management would consider trading for a bat close to the July trading deadline – if the team is in the race. With reality striking hard lately, it’s tough to see this team being in the race for anything but a top-10 pick in next year’s draft. In the short term, the Phils could soon have Cody Asche back on the roster.
 
“Our pitching overall has been very good,” Mackanin said. “We’ve just got to hit.”
 
The Nationals won this game with power and good starting pitching.
 
Right-hander Joe Ross held the Phils to a run over seven innings – an RBI triple by Cesar Hernandez.
 
Meanwhile, Jayson Werth capitalized on a poorly located fastball by Nola and homered two batters into the game. Daniel Murphy got Nola in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie.
 
Nola would like to have had both pitches back.
 
“The pitch to Werth was right down the chute,” he said. “With Murphy, I wanted to get it in a little further and I didn’t.”
 
Other than that, Nola was pretty good. He pitched out of trouble in the second inning and was supported by a double play started nicely at second by Hernandez and a nice catch by Odubel Herrera in center field.
 
“We’re doing some things right but not enough of them,” Mackanin said.
 
“That’s baseball,” Nola said of the lack of run support. “Sometimes we pitch bad and get a lot of run support. The guys are battling. I feel like we’re going to bounce back the next couple of games.”
 
The Nationals blew the game open with three runs in the ninth against reliever Colton Murray. Danny Espinosa smacked a two-run homer and Stephen Drew followed with an inside-the-park homer.
 
The two home runs deprived Nats closer Jonathan Papelbon a chance at a save as he recorded the final three outs against his old team.

Instant Replay: Nationals 5, Phillies 1

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Instant Replay: Nationals 5, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

The Phillies' late-May slide continued in a 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night.
 
Aaron Nola delivered a solid start, but got poor run support. The Phillies entered the game averaging 3.2 runs per game, lowest in the majors.
 
The Nationals scored all their runs on home runs.
 
The Phillies have lost nine of their last 11 games. They are 1-7 in their last eight and have gone from 25-19 and two games back in the NL East to 26-26 and 5½ games back.
  
Starting pitching report
Nola went six innings and allowed two runs, both on solo homers. He walked one and struck out six. He is 4-4 with a 2.88 ERA.
 
Washington right-hander Joe Ross (5-4) pitched a strong game. He gave up just three hits and a run over seven innings. He walked two and struck out five. Ross has given up just two runs over 14 innings in his last two starts.
 
Bullpen report
Jonathan Papelbon closed it out for the Nats in a non-save situation.
 
At the plate
The Phillies had just four hits. They have been held to two or fewer runs 20 times in their 52 games.

Cesar Hernandez tripled home the Phillies' only run.

Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy accounted for the Nationals’ first two runs pair of solo homers against Nola. Danny Espinosa smacked a two-run homer off Colton Murray in the ninth and Stephen Drew followed with an inside-the-park homer.
 
Murphy also singled in the game. He had 47 hits in the month of May, tying a Washington/Montreal franchise record that had previously been shared by Al Oliver and Marquis Grissom.

Lineup stuff
Mackanin was trying to send Hernandez a message by batting him eighth (see story).
 
Bryce Harper did not play for Washington. He was hit on the right leg by a pitch in Monday night’s game.
 
Slumping Ryan Howard started at first base and went hitless in three at-bats to fall to .154. He hit .101 (7 for 69) in the month of May.
 
Howard will not start Wednesday night against Max Scherzer. He is 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts against Scherzer. Tommy Joseph will start that game.
 
Minor matters
Cody Asche’s minor-league rehab stint expires Wednesday. He could rejoin the team at any time.
 
Up next
 The series concludes on Wednesday night. Lefty Adam Morgan (1-3, 6.67) pitches against Washington right-hander Scherzer (5-4, 4.05).