The weather nor the game was pretty when the Temple Owls took the field Saturday for their annual Cherry and White game as Cherry (GDQ) defeated White (TUFF), 17-14, at Chodoff Field.
Freshman quarterback Todd Centeio connected with wide receiver Marshall Ellick on an 18-yard touchdown pass with 28 seconds remaining to give his team the win. The Dwyer High School (FL) prospect was impressive on the afternoon, completing 9-of-13 passes for 110 yards and the game-winning touchdown. He also made a few plays with his feet and based on the eye test, looks to be comfortable in the offense.
The quarterback play was the top focus at Temple’s spring football game as they search for a new signal caller after four seasons with Phillip Walker at the helm. Redshirt junior quarterback Frank Nutile accounted for two touchdowns on the day, a 37-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman wide out Freddie Johnson and a 16-yard touchdown run that gave his team the lead late in the fourth quarter.
It was not a good day for redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi as he struggled to find receivers all afternoon. He was picked off twice, first on a fluttering ball that landed into the hands of North Carolina Central graduate transfer Mike Jones. His second interception came on a Hail Mary pass at the end of the game that was picked off by Delvon Randall.
The quarterback situation is sure to be the topic of the summer as the youngsters outplayed the more experienced signal callers. Collins gave no indication of who will be the starter when the season starts Saturday, September 2nd in South Bend, Indiana against Notre Dame.
The Owls had three stand outs on offense in Ellick, junior running back Jager Gardner and redshirt freshman tight end Kenny Yeboah. Gardner led all rushers with 67 yards on nine carries, including an impressive hurdle over senior defensive back Sean Chandler. He also scored on a five-yard carry to give GDQ their first touchdown of the day.
Cherry vs. White today...— Temple Football (@Temple_FB) April 22, 2017
Temple vs. everybody September 2. #theSTANDARD pic.twitter.com/QdWp7FgrqK
Ellick had a game-high 105 receiving yards on five receptions for the Cherry team and his number was also called on a 15-yard reverse play. Yeboah was targeted often by freshman quarterback Anthony Russo, including three straight passes to the tight end. Russo had some impressive moments, but also overthrew a wide open Branden Mack that would have been a touchdown.
Other notes from the day:
The weather made it a rough for the offense as several balls hit the ground and made the passing game difficult throughout.
While Gardner and redshirt freshman running back Tyliek Raynor made solid impressions, it was a quiet day for junior back Ryquell Armstead. He is expected to lead the Owls rushing attack this season.
Senior wide receiver Keith Kirkwood saw some snaps at defensive end, and even recorded a sack late in the fourth quarter. He used a very nice spin move to get to Marchi and the defense congratulated him with a huge celebration.
Ellick and Johnson headlined the day with touchdowns, and with Kirkwood and Ventell Bryant also in the mix, Temple has some options at wide receiver. Whoever Collins chooses as his starting quarterback, he will have plenty of weapons at his disposal.
Temple gave out their American Athletic Conference Championship rings at halftime to the players leaving the program. NFL hopefuls Haason Reddick, Dion Dawkins, Nate Hairston, Jahad Thomas and Walker were all in attendance.
Very special moment at halftime when redshirt junior Chris Myarick, a walk-on at Temple, was awarded a full scholarship by Coach Collins and ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi.
That moment you find out you're going from a walk-on to a full scholarship... pic.twitter.com/zqf9d2OnST— Temple Football (@Temple_FB) April 22, 2017
Speaking of walk-ons, redshirt junior defensive lineman Zach Mesday was impressive, recording a game-high six tackles and two sacks.
Senior defensive end Jacob Martin did not play as he recovers from a broken foot, but was very animated during the game. He earned the team’s spirit award and you could see why on Saturday.
Randall, who was recently awarded a single-digit jersey – a distinguished honor at Temple, recorded four tackles, including one running play broken up in the backfield, in addition to his game-sealing interception.
Other players to stand out on defense included redshirt freshman defensive back Amir Tyler, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Dan Archibong, redshirt sophomore linebacker Kevin DeCaesar and sophomore defensive back Linwood Crump.
There will be another competition to watch as both kickers - sophomore Aaron Boumerhi and senior Austin Jones - connected on long field goals during warmups. Jones is coming off a torn ACL and drilled one from 63 yards out, while Boumerhi nailed a 59-yard try.