Written By: Miles Bailey
Photo Courtesy of: @RFootball
Throughout his first two seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs, while playing under head coach Kirby Smart, D’Wan Mathis only started a total of three games.
Yesterday against Rutgers, Mathis made his first-ever start for the Owls, and his performance certainly wasn’t pretty by any means. What he did show, though, was character and grit as he was dealing with an ankle injury. With Mathis becoming the head quarterback, much of the focus before the game was how Rod Carey’s offense would look playing to the dual-threat quarterback’s strengths. Now, with an ankle injury, missing the traits that he possesses will pay major dividends for the Owls moving forward.
When asked about D’Wan’s game performance, Carey said, “Well, I don’t think it was very good. I don’t think there was a performance that was good at all. From mine as the Head Coach to his as the Quarterback.”
Mathis completed only 8 of his 24 passes and threw an interception right into the hands of Rutgers defensive back Tre Avery. The offensive line didn’t give him any favors, as Mathis got sacked three times, and one of them taking place in the endzone, which resulted in a safety and the first points of the day for Rutgers.
Despite the bad ankle, D’wan wanted no part in leaving the game. When asked why he didn’t want to leave and what he was dealing with, Carey said, “Anytime your a competitor, I don’t think you want to leave. I just don’t think that the injury, which I don’t know about yet, I’ll get more information, wouldn’t allow him to come back in, but anytime you’re a competitor, you don’t want to leave.”
Mathis’ character and grit rubbed off on his teammates. Temple captain and right guard Adam Klein was asked how long it took for Mathis to get fully settled into game action, “I mean, I thought he played well. I thought he came in there with great leadership. Head held high, and he played well.”
With Mathis possibly out for the foreseeable future, the question now becomes what will be the team’s message and mentality moving forward without their starting quarterback.
When asked that question, Temple safety Amir Tyler answered, “We’re gonna keep going with the next man up. Like Coach always says, next man up. So, if Justin Lynch is the next man up, then we’re gonna get on his back. We’re gonna let him take it to the next neck of the show. We’re gonna put more pressure on everybody that we don’t get any of these games back. Like every game has to be serious like it’s our last game.”
It will be interesting to see whether or not the Owls can adjust after losing their starting quarterback, as they will take on the Akron Zips next Saturday.