October 24, 2020 –
The Temple Owls fell victim to points off turnovers giving up three touchdowns to the Memphis Tigers in a 41 – 29 loss at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. It was the twelfth straight win for the Tigers in their stadium. For the game the hosts scored 24 points off tuernovers.
Temple was playing with them leading 15 – 10 at halftime. Then, the tide turned in the direction of Memphis who would score three touchdowns in the second half as a result of turnovers by the Owls.
“We’re obviously disappointed with the outcome of the game,” said Temple Coach Rod Carey. “Just too many mistakes, plain and simple. In the second half two of our first three plays were turnovers. You can’t do that. They were unfortunate turnovers.”
The Tigers took the lead following an interception of Temple quarterback Anthony Russo. Brady White found wide receiver Calvin Austin with a 65-yard scoring strike and a 20 – 15 advantage. A fumble by Re’Mahn Davis on the next possession gave Memphis another chance and they capitalized just under a minute and a half later when quarterback White located received Tahj Washington for a 26-yard touchdown pass.
When Temple pulled to within 27 – 22 an interception hurt again when Rodney Owens picked off Russo at the end of the third quarter. The ensuing drive ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by Javon Ivory and a 34 – 22 lead in the fourth quarter.
Each team would score again.
The offense had turnovers but the defenses gave up yards. They tried to pick each other up, it was a team loss.
“The defense needs to play the way we are supposed to, regardless of how many turnovers the offense has.” said linebacker Amir Tyler who had 7 tackles. “We could have completed assignments that we were supposed to.”
Elijah Cook had his first collegiate interception for the Owls.
Temple was able to move the ball and did have 500 yards of total offense. Russo threw for 387 yards and had 4 touchdowns tying a season-high. But he also was intercepted 3 times, a season-high. Wide Receiver Jadan Blue caught 13 passes for 115 yards and 3 touchdowns. Fellow wide receiver Randle Jones hauled in 12 passes for 118 yards, a season-high in receiving yards for both Blue and Jones. Branden Mack had the other touchdown and made 6 receptions for 64 yards. Davis ran for 113 yards. Good stats, but the Cherry and White needed more.
“We need to score more and hold them to less,” Carey said. “I know I am over simplifying. Do I feel good about the points? Yes. Satisfied? Absolutely not.”
Memphis has a high-powered offense as shown in their 50 – 49 win over UCF on their previous game. White threw for 313 yards and 3 scoring strikes. Running back Rodrigues Clark posted 106 rushing yards. Austin had a game-best 184 receiving yards on 6 catches. Washington scored twice and recorded 77 yards receiving. Overall, Memphis had 489 total yards of offense.
The Owls fall to 1 – 2 on the season. The team needs to eliminate the mistakes to be able to post a better record.
“We’re beating ourselves with those turnovers and penalties,” said Russo. “We’ve seen that in all three games. We’re confident we can beat any defense, but we’re ticked off that we continue to hurt ourselves. When we go up and down the field it’s a turnover by me, or a fumble, or a holding call, something that shoots us in the foot. We should be 3 – 0 if we are able to take away those little things that are hurting us.”
Memphis is 3 – 1 overall and 2 – 1 in the American. Temple travels to New Orleans next week to play Tulane.
Written By: Glenn Papazian