After a difficult non-conference schedule, the Owls flew back to Philadelphia to start a stretch of seven consecutive conference games. Coming off a tough loss against Boston College, Temple was able to start this stretch with a dominating win against the East Carolina Pirates 49-6.
The Temple Owls proved that they are a team that is still in it as the season rolls on. With the Owls not allowing ECU to score any points in the end zone, four receivers being able to record touchdowns, and the team scoring 7 total touchdowns, it’s clear these Owls are ready for the six conference games that remain.
“We have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line, and the defense having a bunch of three and outs,” Head Coach Geoff Collins said in a postgame press conference, “I’m really proud of the team effort by the guys who are celebrating right now.”
Temple was dominant on both sides of the ball in this rout of ECU. Even with an interception by the Pirates in the first drive of the game, the Owls were clearly the stronger team on the field. In the first quarter Temple was able to put up 14 points with two touchdowns thrown by Anthony Russo. This helped the Owls become successful in their goal to strike first which is something head Coach Geoff Collins has stressed since the beginning of the season.
Russo, was awarded the start after being the dominant player at the quarterback position between the three who are currently on the roster. In this game, Russo was able to complete 21 of 25 passes for 254 yards with his longest reception being 31 yards.
“We got a lot of good things clicking today with the offense,” Russo said on his play, “Another day of receivers making plays. We just got to keep it rolling.”
Temple was able to put up 470 yards of total offense and hold ECU to 196 yards of total offense. The only points that the Pirates were able to score came from two field goals, one mid-way through the 2nd and one at the beginning of the 4th quarter.
The Owls controlled the ECU offense all game, forcing them to punt 11 times after they were able to only convert 4 of 18 times on third down.
“Coach had a great plan,” Rock Ya-Sin said on the defensive play, “We played man to man and it really paid off.”
Young players like Tyliek Raynor, Christian Braswell and Sean Ryan were also able to perform for this Owls team and show what they are able to do. Ryan led the team with four catches for 57 yards and was able to score his first career touchdown.
It is important to point out that special teams play has been important for this Temple team and this is the sixth straight game where the Owls have scored a non-offensive touchdown. This week, it was Isaiah Wright who was able to return a punt 59 yards for a touchdown.
“We practice a lot of special teams, so I get a lot of reps and a lot of looks,” Wright said on his play this week, “Practice makes perfect and I’m just trying to contribute.”
This Temple Owls team is truly a team that has proved they are a talented team in the American Athletic conference with a 2-0 record in conference play starts. The Owls were firing on all cylinders and were outperforming themselves in every area of play. With a 1-0 mentality every week, the team is looking towards Navy.
“We’ll definitely celebrate tonight,” Collins said, “But tomorrow 8AM it’s back to meetings and practice to focus on the Navy team.”