Written by Cayden Steele
Photo Courtesy of Owl Sports
Temple quarterback Anthony Russo did not play on Saturday due to a shoulder injury and without him the offense was stagnant.
Inexperienced quarterbacks Trad Beatty and Re-Al Mitchell split playing time, but neither of them could provide any spark on offense.
Beatty completed 11 passes for a mere 122-yards and floated a ball directly in the hands of Tulane cornerback Willie Langham in the third quarter. Mitchell struggled as well, the transfer from Iowa State threw for only 23-yards in his debut.
The blame does not lie only with the quarterbacks, Temple’s ground attack had an uninspiring performance and only rushed for 77-yards. The struggling Owls’ offense is a big reason why Tulane (3-4, 1-4 American Athletic Conference) won 38-3 against Temple (1-3, 1-3 AAC) on Saturday, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The offense was not able to provide support for its backup quarterbacks, the offensive line struggled and the running backs could not take the pressure off of Beatty or Mitchell.
“The offensive line played awful today and the backs played bad today too,” head coach Rod Carey said. “That puts a lot of pressure on those two quarterbacks that are in there too.”
Temple went 4-of-16 on third down and 0-of-2 on fourth down, gaining a total of 222-yards.
Although Beatty and Mitchell did some things well on Saturday, the quarterbacks were not able to push the ball down the field and make big plays.
“In the end the quarterback needs to lead the team down and score points,” Carey said. “Other than that first drive there wasn’t much of that going on.”
Tulane’s offense was not perfect on Saturday, they turned the ball over three different times, but once again the Owls’ offense was not able to capitalize.
Temple’s offense scored zero points off of those three turnovers.
“ I think we just missed on some opportunities and not capitalizing on some turnovers like we needed to,” Mitchell said.
The struggles of the offense put pressure on the Owls’ defense and that defense ended up wearing down in the second half.
For the majority of the first half, Temple’s defense contained Tulane.
In the first quarter, linebacker William Kwenkeu put a hit on Tulane running back Stephen Henderson and forced a fumble which was recovered by Freddie Johnson.
Temple’s pass rush made it difficult for Michael Pratt early on and Tulane was not able to move the ball down the field.
The Owls only gave up 10-points entering the half and everything seemed to be working, but a depleted Temple defense became even more decimated with injuries in the second half.
In the third quarter, Amir Tyler and Freddie Johnson both left the game with injuries and Tulane went on to score 28-points against an inexperienced Owls’ secondary.
The injuries played a role in the second-half struggles, but Temple’s lack of communication and effort on defense was a reason for the breakdown.
“ Effort came into it, communication and a lot of people were holding their heads down a little bit,” Braswell said.
Pratt finished with 205-yards and two touchdowns and one interception.
Pratt’s favorite target of the day, Deuce Watts, had a big second half and the wide receiver finished with five receptions for 114-yards and two touchdowns.
Overall, the Green Wave finished with 504-yards outgaining Temple by 282-yards and they went 7-of-11 on third down.
Although the Owls are banged up with injuries and have a depleted roster, they have not lost hope on the season.
“ It’s a tough-minded group and we are going to control the things we can control and that’s what I just told them in the locker room,” Carey said.
Next, Temple will play Southern Methodist at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday at 12.