Despite a whole lot of dangerous weapons and an experienced line that averages over 300 pounds, something has been missing from the Temple offense the first two games of the season: The Owls have yet to throw a single touchdown pass.
The Owls (0-2) hope to put a little juice in that offense as they have named Clinton “Juice” Granger as the starting quarterback when unbeaten Fordham (2-0) of the FCS comes to Philadelphia (1 p.m., Saturday, ESPN3). Granger, a former All-American Junior College quarterback out of Pierce JC in California, got two starts in the 2012 season. His first, at Army, resulted in 62 points for the Owls’ offense. Although running backs Montel Harris (seven touchdowns) and Matty Brown (two touchdowns) accounted for most of those points, Granger added 68 yards of his own on the ground.
Granger will probably throw the ball more than five times against Fordham, which often plays eight defenders in the box. A year ago, Granger was allowed to throw only five passes against Army. He also got a start against Syracuse at the end of last season and put 20 points on the scoreboard, but that wasn’t enough in a 38-20 defeat.
In the offseason, he was beaten out for the starting quarterback job by junior Connor Reilly, who has moved the team well between the 20s in the first two games, but has been unsuccessful at putting the team in the end zone on a consistent basis. Reilly is nursing a sore ankle suffered in the 22-13 loss to Houston last week.
Fordham scored 51 points in its opening-win over Rhode Island and followed that up with a 27-24 win over Villanova, then ranked No. 8 in The Sports Network’s FCS Top 25 poll. Curiously, despite the win, Fordham is unranked in the latest poll, while Villanova fell to No. 19. The Rams are led by FCS All-American tailback Carlton Koonce, who gained 1,593 yards and 13 touchdowns rushing last season and elusive quarterback Michael Nebrich, a transfer from UConn.
Temple owns three-straight wins over FCS foes, all coming in games against cross-town rival Villanova.