For the second year in a row the Temple Owls have been blown out by an AAC team from Carolina in a bowl game. This year, it was the University of North Carolina that did the damage.
Leading up to the game the team made it clear they did not want to be embarrassed like they were in their bowl game a season earlier and become the first 4-year class in Temple history to win 2 bowl games.
“With the chance to do that is really a blessing,” Shaun Bradley said referencing a potential second bowl win.
Unfortunately, the Owls were left feeling a bit of déjà vu from a season ago 55 points or more in back-to-back bowl games.
Temple had no answer for the Tar Heel offense led by redshirt-freshman quarterback Sam Howell. The eventual Military Bowl MVP threw for 294 yards on 25/34 passing and 3 touchdowns. He was as good as advertised for North Carolina validating all of the comparisons Temple players have given him to 1st-round picks Mitchell Tributsky and Daniel Jones.
It was not as if the Howell was alone in his dominance with Dyami Brown, Beau Corrales and Dazz Newsome all hauling in at least 4 catches for 70 yards with Newsome adding in 2 touchdowns. As for their rushing attack, UNC elected to use a running back by committee approach reaching 238 yards on the ground and 2 touchdowns.
Temple’s defensive star Quincy Roche and single-season sack leader was not able to get home against the Tar Heel front and the rest of the defense followed in his struggles.
Despite all of this, the Owls still feel like it was more so that they beat themselves rather than North Carolina beating them.
“I don’t think we got outplayed”, said starting quarterback Anthony Russo. “It’s tough to beat a good team like UNC when you have to beat and beat yourselves.”
Russo was also quick to peg himself as someone who succumbs to these mental errors. The quarterback position for the Owls combined for just 194 passing yards, 2 interceptions and a touchdown.
Russo and Todd Centeio both return to the team next season as quarterbacks for the team with Trad Beatty also on scholarship.
Rod Carey is now 0-7 in his bowl game career and the Owls finish the year 8-5 following their loss.