Owls’ explosive offense not enough in difficult loss to Bulls

By Eileen Wickline

A back-and-forth non-conference game came down to the final drive of the night, and the Buffalo Bulls came out the victors against the Temple Owls in a 36-29 win.

With this loss, the Owls will start 0-2 for the first time since 2013.

The Owls and Bulls, both former members of the Mid-Atlantic Conference, were very evenly matched throughout the game, and no team could manage to pull away from the other.

While the Bulls were strong offensively, the Owls were able to hold their own. Branden Mack, a standout against Villanova, proved himself again as he recorded two touchdowns for 47 yards.

Mack is aware there is work to be done for the team as a whole if it wants to climb out of a 0-2 hole.

“We’re going to attack the week,” Mack said. “We’ll watch the tape. See what works, see what doesn’t and attack the week like we usually do.”

Frank Nutile was able to put up over 200 yards and went 15-for-21. At the end of the first half, Nutile’s Hail Mary to Mack for the Owls’ first touchdown of the day topped off an 80-yard drive and cut the deficit to 12-7. It gave the team momentum going into the second half.

“It was a one in a million shot, B-Mack made a great play, the O-line did great at protecting,” Nutile said. “It gave us the start we needed for the second half.”

Temple scored in the beginning of the second half, the drive highlighted by a 44-yard throw by Nutile that connected with Randle Jones to make the score 14-12. It was Jones’ first touchdown reception.

Both teams started to swap leads. After the Bulls made it 22-14, Temple quickly answered with a blocked punt and touchdown by Ty Mason on the recovery. Temple’s two-point conversion tied the game.

As the fourth quarter began winding down, Buffalo countered with a 5-yard touchdown catch by Antonio Dunn that made the score 29-22. Immediately after, Nutile found Mack in the end zone on a third-and-goal.

Any progress Temple made was erased when Buffalo took over. The Bulls drove 81 yards down the field to set up a 29-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Johnson.

With 59 seconds remaining in the game at the start of their drive, Nutile and the Owls’ efforts came up short as Nutile was strip-sacked at midfield.

“We worry about going 1-0 every single week,” head coach Geoff Collins said. “There are some guys in there hurting because they believed they let their teammates down.”

Collins kept emphasizing that the Owls are eager to improve themselves and focus on the upcoming week.

“We’ll try and play our best football going forward,” Collins said.

Temple will attempt to get its first win of the season next week in Maryland against the University of Maryland Terrapins.

What To Look for Against Maryland

Dominating Defense – Rock Ya-Sin, Delvon Randall, and Benny Walls all recorded over five solo tackles. Continuing that success will be key against a Big Ten team like Maryland.

Quarterback Questions – While Nutile has been struggling, he recorded over 200 yards and came up big in clutch moments. While Nutile started and played the majority of the game, backup quarterbacks Anthony Russo and Todd Centeio both got snaps. Russo completed his first two collegiate passes on four attempts, and Centeio didn’t complete a pass on two tries.

Ground Game – Without David Hood’s run presence this season, Ryquell Armstead has stepped up in his place. He ran 107 yards against Buffalo, and the Owls need him to continue his strong play at Maryland.

Photo: @Temple_FB