It seems as if the Owls were in the Halloween spirit on Saturday afternoon, as their performance at Tulane was quite frightening. Temple football fell 38-3 to a Tulane team that was winless in conference play until today.
This loss drops Temple to 1-3 (1-3) at the midway mark of a shortened season. The Owls were only able to muster a field goal, on their first drive against a defense that gave up 30.2 points per game coming into Saturday.
Offensively, nothing seemed to click for Rod Carey’s squad outside of their opening drive. The offense surely missed starting quarterback Anthony Russo (Graduate) who didn’t get the start today, as he deals with a nagging shoulder injury. Instead, redshirt sophomore Trad Beatty III got the nod. Beatty would share the day with Re-al Mitchell (R-SO) in what looked to be a quarterback by committee performance.
In preparation for this game, Head Coach Rod Carey was prepared to alternate the two redshirt sophomores, should Russo not be ready. After the game, Coach Carey was asked about his decision to rotate Beatty & Mitchell and their collective performance:
“We wanted to stick to someone to see if they got hot, no one got hot…in the end, the quarterback needs to lead the team down (the field) and score points.”
Neither quarterback was able to gain any momentum throughout the day. Beatty went 11-18 for 122 yards and an interception on a sailed pass intended for Branden Mack. Mitchell did not fair much better, and did not see as many snaps, going 5-8 with 23 yards. Oddly enough, Mitchell’s 37 rushing yards on 7 carries led the Owls on the day.
Beatty, who made his first career start on Saturday, knew there was much left to be desired:
“…we started off well, but ultimately it just came down to an execution thing for me. We were able to move the ball down the field in the beginning of the game, but unfortunately we weren’t able to do that consistently.”
As a team, the Owls could only put together 222 yards of offense, to Tulane’s 504, with 11 first downs, both season lows. The Owls were shutout, 28-0 in the second half. The Owls defense came prepared to play, with two first quarter takeaways, including a Christian Braswell interception, his first of the year.
Despite the takeaways, the Owls offense could not take advantage, leaving the defense to carry the load. The defense also had to battle injuries throughout the day. A defense that was already without starting linebackers Yvandy Rigby & Isaiah Graham-Mobley, saw Amir Tyler (R-SR) go down with an ankle injury. Tyler however was able to get off the field on his own power. There were also 13 Owls on the COVID-19 protocol list coming into Saturday, including WR Jose Barbon and TE David-Martin Robinson.
Despite all the injuries and uncertainties, Coach Carey is confident in his team’s ability to bounce back and have a strong second half:
“it’s a tough minded group….I haven’t been around a lot of teams that are this tough minded…so I’m not fearful of that” (on whether or not the team will be down after Saturday’s game)
*The last time the Owls were held to under 10 points in a game was back in 2017, in a 43-7 blowout loss to South Florida.*
*Tulane’s win was the first over Temple since the two schools joined the AAC. The last time Tulane defeated Temple was in the 1935 Sugar Bowl.*
The Owls come back home to Lincoln Financial Field to take on the SMU Mustangs (6-1)(3-1) on Saturday, Nov. 7th at noon. The game was rescheduled from Thursday, Nov. 5th. The game will air on ESPN+ and 97.5 The Fanatic.