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Temple at Navy football game rescheduled from Sept. 26 to Oct. 10; athletic director hopes to have fans

In this file photo, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo watch as Temple's Khaylan Williams intercepts a pass during the 2016 American Athletic Conference championship game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. The Temple at Navy game this season has been moved from Sept. 26 to Oct. 10.
In this file photo, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo watch as Temple's Khaylan Williams intercepts a pass during the 2016 American Athletic Conference championship game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. The Temple at Navy game this season has been moved from Sept. 26 to Oct. 10. (By Paul W. Gillespie / Staff)

Temple coach Rod Carey told reporters last week his team needed more time to prepare for its season opener against Navy, noting his team would not be adequately prepared to play in late September because of practice limitations caused by the coronavirus.

Carey’s wish was granted Tuesday, as the American Athletic Conference announced the Temple at Navy game, originally slated for Sept. 26 in Annapolis, has been rescheduled to Oct. 10. Kickoff will be 6 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and the contest will be broadcast by CBS Sports Network.

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“The City of Philadelphia is still in a challenging situation with regard to the virus and it has impacted Temple football,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said. “I’m not sure Temple has held a practice with its full team yet. Moving the game back a couple weeks benefits Temple and gives the program a chance to get organized.”

AAC officials were able to accommodate the postponement request since both Navy and Temple had open dates on Oct. 10.

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Navy was due to have a bye week after playing at service academy rival Air Force on Oct. 3. Temple was supposed to play Massachusetts on Oct. 10, but that contest was canceled when the independent program elected to not play football in 2020.

Temple also lost scheduled nonconference contests against Miami of the Atlantic Coast Conference (Sept. 5), Idaho from the Football Championship Subdivision (Sept. 12) and Rutgers from the Big Ten Conference (Sept. 19).

Carey announced the Navy game had been rescheduled during an online news conference Tuesday morning. The second-year coach told reporters the decision was made jointly between Navy and Temple with AAC approval last week.

Navy will have three games under its belt by Oct. 10, while it will still be the season opener for Temple. The Midshipmen open conference action at Tulane on Sept. 19 and are still scheduled to play at Air Force. The Falcons appear to be moving forward with playing their two service academy rivals during the fall semester despite having the Mountain West Conference cancel all fall sports.

Last week, Army West Point announced its Nov. 7 home game against Air Force will kick off at 11:30 a.m. No start time has been announced for the Navy-Air Force game.

Carey said last week that the City of Philadelphia recommended Temple football not scrimmage during practice because of COVID-19. He said the Owls have started conducting about 10-12 scrimmage plays per week and maintained that isn’t enough to get ready for the season.

“With the restrictions we were under from the city and the guidelines, moving it back, it’s kind of the last chip we had to play as far as getting the team ready to play and getting that time back on our side here,” Carey said Tuesday. “I think we’re all a little frustrated, to be honest with you, but I don’t know who isn’t frustrated at this point with COVID and the new things we have to deal with.”

Less than two weeks after students returned to the Temple University campus for in-person instruction, the school reversed course due to a coronavirus outbreak. Last week, the school moved entirely to online instruction for the remainder of the fall semester.

Gladchuk said the Naval Academy Athletic Association welcomed the idea of playing Temple in October instead of September because it increased the chances of having spectators in the stands at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

There were no fans in attendance Monday night as Navy was blown out by BYU, 55-3, in the season opener for both schools. Gladchuk had petitioned the State of Maryland for a waiver to allow the Brigade of Midshipmen to attend provided they were properly socially distanced throughout the stadium.

That waiver was denied by the governor’s office based off a June directive barring fans from attending professional or collegiate sporting events held within the state. On Friday at 5 p.m., Maryland moved into Stage Three of Gov. Larry Hogan’s reopening plan.

It was unclear if Maryland would lift the ban on spectators at sporting events as a result.

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“We’re very hopeful the Brigade of Midshipmen and some of our season ticket holders will be able to come cheer the football team in-person by the time our second home game against Temple rolls around,” said Gladchuk, adding he will be petitioning the governor’s office again for permission.

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