All Temple needs to do to get its first win of the Matt Rhule era is figure out a way to stop Teddy Bridgewater and No. 7 Louisville at the Linc Saturday. Knock off a team that has outscored its opposition a ridiculous, 192-27, through four games and is coming off a bye.
At 0-4 — and following up a decent showing at Notre Dame with three agonizingly close losses to Houston, Fordham and Idaho — Rhule insists his club's frame of mind is surprisingly upbeat.
"While they're disappointed they're losing, they know we're just a play or two away," said Rhule. "They're learning the difference between winning and losing is just a fraction in an inch. They know at some point the tide will turn.''
It's unlikely to be this weekend, considering Bridgewater's Heisman-level pedigree and Temple's maddening knack of giving up big plays. Rhule promises the Owls will battle, but has to know they may be in over their heads.
"The biggest thing that you can say about Teddy is he's NFL ready,'' said Rhule. "He's operating in a pro-style system and he can make all the different throws. We have to try to eliminate the big plays.
"That's what Teddy does best with his arm, and their wideouts are dynamic. The second thing is to get a rush on him. The only way to stop a great quarterback is to make him move his feet, hit him and get him off his spot.''
Coming off an 11-2 season, in which he threw for 27 touchdowns, Bridgewater's already connected for 1,214 yards and 14 scores in just four games. Temple has surrendered 23 plays of 20 or more yards, 19 of them in the air, which would seem to leave them at Teddy's mercy.
"Big plays and big plays alone have killed us,'' said Rhule. "But I don't think we have a fractured team with a fractured psyche at all. I think we have a team that is resilient and wants to prove that it can come back and win."
Pulling that off against Louisville would be a shocker