The Owls are trampled in Tampa

Written by: Ajay Patel

Photo by: Temple Football

The USF Bulls ran their way to victory in their third conference matchup this season against Temple, overwhelming the Owls 34-14 in Tampa. 

USF rushed for 421 yards on a whopping 73 carries, demolishing their 143 yards per game average. 

Averaging 5.8 yards per carry, USF running back Jaren Mangham picked up 152 yards with 2 TDs. Bringing him to 10 total TDs on the season, Mangham is now tied for third for most rushing scores in the country. The 6’2, 215 pound running back had his way with Temple’s interior defense, shedding tackles left and right. 

“We weren’t getting off blocks,” said Coach Rod Carey. “We need to play better as players.”

The receiving core for the Southern Florida squad contributed to Mangham’s success, displaying unselfishness in their approach to run blocking. Pushing Temple’s corners off of the line of scrimmage consistently all game, the team’s leading running back was given room to operate in the open field, catering to the strengths of his game. 

Even when the Owl’s worked to secure the perimeter of the defensive line, USF’s offense got creative with playcalling. Instead of attacking the same gaps, Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis Jr.’s utilization of jet sweeps, RPO’s, and variations of tosses kept the running game fresh, keeping the Temple Defense on their heels. 

The cherry and white dealt with the injury bug throughout the game. Keyshawn Paul and Joseph Hooper picked up knocks during the contest. The Owls were already thin on the defensive side of the ball with team captain Amir Tyler recovering from surgery earlier in the week.

To make matters worse, the defense did not adjust well to USF’s play calling. Primarily inclined to operate a more conservative look in terms of pressure schemes, including three defensive linemans, Temple usually prefers stacking multiple safeties. 

Occasionally stacking four at the line later in regulation, Temple still became mismatched at the line of scrimmage when the Bulls typically played bigger lineups to cater to their rushing needs.

“A lot of the big plays came from us missing tackles and not running to the ball,” said William Kwenkeu. “We just got our ass kicked, it wasn’t anything else.”

Temple’s lack of a QB spy was exploited by true freshman QB Timmy McClain. He later left the game after picking up an apparent ankle injury. Having no linebacker pressure to worry about, in addition to defensive backs spread out down field, McClain was able to pick up 35 yards rushing on six carries, protecting his body well until getting injured.  

Yet the rushing attack did not change with McClain, Katravis Marsh, or Cade Fortin under center. Despite the Bull’s use of three throwers, the team never lost the lead.

This victory in Tampa marks USF’s first conference win since 2019, and the Owls second conference loss in back to back weeks. 

The Owls will look to respond when they welcome the other AAC Florida team, UCF, at home this upcoming Saturday, October 30th at noon on ESPN +.

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