Good Will

By on November 20, 2018
Warwick grad Will Mobley, a redshirt freshman for the Temple University football team, kicks a 36-yard field goal as USF sophomore Mike Hampton attacks off the edge in last Saturday’s game in Philadelphia. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Warwick grad Will Mobley, a redshirt freshman for the Temple University football team, kicks a 36-yard field goal as USF sophomore Mike Hampton attacks off the edge in last Saturday’s game in Philadelphia. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Mobley plays key role in Owls’ 27-17 win over USF

 

Will Mobley is described by Temple University football coach Geoff Collins as being “calm, cool and collected.”

Told of that remark a short time later outside of the Owls’ locker room, the 2017 Warwick grad, a redshirt freshman kicker, reacted with a modest grin.

“I’m working on that,” Mobley said.

Well, on Saturday at Philadelphia’s cloud-covered Lincoln Financial Field, his hard work seemed to be paying off.

After hitting the left upright on a 24-yard field goal attempt with 4:02 left in the first quarter, Mobley had ice water in his veins while rallying to go a perfect 3-of-3 in PAT kicks and connecting on fields goals of 34 and 36 yards the rest of the way.

Furthermore, he was flawless in his kickoff duties, including a fourth-quarter squib which led to a fumble recovery by teammate DaeSean Winston at the Owls’ 47.

In short, Mobley played a key role as Temple rallied from a 17-0 first-half deficit to shock the University of South Florida 27-17 in an American Conference battle in front of 29,029 fans. It marked the first time since beating Akron 24-20 in 2007 that the Owls came back from a deficit of 17 or more points.

“Probably the greatest feeling for me is to make a field goal,” Mobley said, “but I’m happy with just contributing any way I can for my team, whether that be extra points, maybe it’s an onside kick like a couple times today, and as long as it contributes to my team, I’m for that.”

His contributions have helped the Owls (6-1 conference, 7-4 overall) become bowl-eligible, clinching that status with a 59-49 victory over Houston on Saturday, Nov. 10, in which Mobley kicked a game-sealing 40-yard field goal late in the fourth.

“It meant a lot just to be able to have the coaches’ trust in that situation to send me out there and my teammates supporting me,” he said. “We had an extra-point against Cincinnati that sent it to overtime (in an eventual 24-17 win), but field goal-wise, that was my biggest one. That felt good.”

And with Saturday’s victory over USF, Temple — clad in its cherry-colored uniforms — also gave its seniors a special distinction, making them the winningest class in program history with 34 total victories.

“We want to be in the best bowl we can be,” Mobley said, “and to have the opportunity to play for our seniors and play for our teammates (was important). And the win is big because USF is a great team, they’ve been ranked almost all year, they’re one of the best in our conference, and knowing that if we beat them, UCF may lose and we may have a shot at the conference championship.”

A Temple victory over UConn this Saturday, coupled with a South Florida win against unbeaten UCF (7-0 conference, 10-0 overall) on Friday, would forge a tie atop the American Conference standings between the Owls and Knights.

That would be another feat in what has already been a whirlwind season for Mobley. With junior Aaron Boumerhi sidelined by a season-ending injury, the 5-foot-8, 160-pound former Warrior star has taken over as the Owls’ kicker.

And through 11 games, Mobley is second on the team in scoring with 69 points, behind only Armstead, who has a team-high 13 touchdeowns and 78 points. Mobley has converted on 8-of-12 field goals and 45 extra-point attempts this season.

“Definitely, it was kind of a shock at first taking over,” Mobley said, “and I’m very appreciative and thankful for it. I’ve gained more confidence as the season’s gone on and I feel more comfortable in my position.”

“(Will)’s awesome,” Collins said. “The kid didn’t come into the season thinking he was going to do a lot of the kicks. But we talk about, ‘Play the situation that you’re in. Whatever the situation is, here’s how I best have to attack it.’ And Will was put in a situation where he’s got to make game-winning kicks, game-winning field goals, do great placement on the kickoffs and I can’t say enough about him. He’s as cool as they come too. He doesn’t get too high, doesn’t get too low.”

Mobley didn’t get too low on Saturday when the left upright denied his 24-yard field goal try late in the first quarter with the Bulls up 7-0. He credits his teammates and coaches for their support even when the ball doesn’t bounce his way.

“They’re always coming up to me and saying, ‘We’ll get the next one,’ or ‘We’ve got your back,’ and I really appreciate that as a kicker, whether I miss it or make it, to know that they are there for me,” Mobley said. “And as a kicker, you’ve just got to try to take it one play at a time and put that behind you. Each kick is 1-for-1. That’s what I’m going for.”

His next kick wouldn’t come until Ryquell Armstead scored on a one-yard run with 9:41 left in the third quarter, and Mobley’s extra-point cut USF’s lead to 17-7.

“Very anxious (for another shot),” Mobley said. “That (field goal miss) was a frustrating one. I’ll take the blame. The ball was a little bit inside of where I normally kick it, so the ball was closer to my ankle, and I didn’t adjust well enough.”

Mobley was also money on back-to-back field goal opportunities — on a 34-yarder with 3:59 left in the third and a 36-yarder with 11:44 to go in the fourth — which trimmed USF’s lead to 17-13.

As for that cool demeanor of his?

“I think it just comes from my faith, honestly,” Mobley said. “I always trust and put my faith in God. I think that helps calm me.”

Then nearly two minutes later, after Isaiah Wright returned a punt 73 yards to give the Owls their first lead, Mobley’s PAT made the score 20-17.

On the ensuing kickoff, he was asked to squib the ball down the middle of the field against a USF squad which ranks among the best return units in the country.

“What we do, every single week (in practice), is we have one of our kicks where we set up one of those pop-up dummies and Will just drills it,” Collins said.

In this case, the Bulls had a defender lined up in the perfect spot.

“It was just meant to be a regular squib down the middle, and I saw the guy had moved in close to the middle right where we normally practice it would be,” Mobley recalled. “So I decided, ‘Why not go for it?,’ and I was fortunate I was able to hit him. It was designed to be a squib, but I tried to hit him myself … a little audible.”

Although the Owls didn’t score on the drive after Winston pounced on the loose ball, their punt pinned USF deep in its own territory. And then when defensive end Dana Levine strip-sacked Bulls’ QB Blake Barnett, linebacker Chapelle Russell recovered the ball in the end zone to ice the Owls’ 27-17 victory.

“Great win, great team win. I don’t know if you all can hear,” Collins said to reporters afterward, “but the Electric Slide is alive and well right next to us in the locker room.”

For Mobley, maybe the music selection should have been James Brown’s Calm and Cool.

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