A shorthanded Temple team faced a formidable task in meeting a better-than-its-record-looks Tulane team in New Orleans on Saturday.
Temple quarterback Anthony Russo, who had made 17 consecutive starts, was out with a shoulder injury and replaced by redshirt sophomore quarterbacks Trad Beatty and Re-al Mitchell, who alternated series.
In addition, five others from the Owls' two-deep depth chart missed the game because of injury and four more from the two-deep were in COVID-19 protocol. The Owls weren’t able to overcome all the adversity and lost, 38-3.
Temple is now 1-3 overall and in the American Athletic Conference. Tulane improved to 3-4, 1-4.
Here are observations from the game.
Trad Beatty received his first career start and came out looking calm. He hit Branden Mack on a slant for a 41-yard gain, a nice timing throw that gave the Owls first-and-goal from the Tulane 5-yard-line. Temple eventually had to settle for a field goal, but for his first drive, Beatty was in control.
That would be the highlight of his day. Beatty wasn’t effective the rest of the game. One of the reasons was he was looking directly at receivers, giving away where he intended to thtrow.
In the third quarter he hit Jadan Blue in stride for a 35-yard gain, his best throw. Later in the quarter he threw an interception on a badly overthrown pass. It was that kind of day.
Not surprisingly, Re-al Mitchell made things happen with his legs. His passing wasn’t as effective, as he relied on short throws.
Mitchell attempted only five passes in the firsty half but never got into a rhythm. He underthrew Mack on a third down.
A transfer from Iowa State, Mitchell showed great instincts when, after dropping a snap, he picked it up and ran up the middle for a first down. Also in that series, he was lucky when he underthrew an out pattern to Blue that should have been intercepted by safety Chase Kuerschen.
In the second half, he had a few good runs but wasn’t a threat in the passing game. For the game Mitchell rushed for 37 yards on seven carries.
Tulane players got open deep
Tulane got open deep on a number of first-half occasions.
Temple got a break on Tulane’s second possession when receiver Mykel Jones got wide open and dropped a bomb.
True freshman quarterback Michael Pratt missed a chance at a big play later in the quarter when he floated a pass that enabled Temple corner Christian Braswell to recover and make the interception.
In the second quarter, Pratt hit Duece Watts on a 52-yard play, and four plays later Tulane scored its first touchdown.
Tough times for Braswell
After getting an interception, Braswell dropped a potential one in the second quarter. It would have been a difficult pick on a low throw, but he is capable of making it. Tulane took advantage and eventually tied the score on a field goal on that drive.
Braswell had a rough third quarter, when he was beaten for two touchdown catches by Watts The first was a 31-yard scoring pass over the middle. Later in the quarter, Braswell had decent coverage, but Pratt lofted the ball over the Temple corner to Watts in the corner of the end zone, a perfectly thrown 4-yard scoring pass.
Brute force on Tulane’s first touchdown
On a 13-yard run by Cameron Carroll, the Green Wave blew Temple off the ball. Carroll, a 6-foot-, 225-pound redshirt sophomore, wasn’t touched until about the 3-yard line and then he broke a few tackles to bull his way into the end zone.
Great rebound by Ebiketie
Late in the first half, Temple defensive end Arnold Ebiketie got a sack but was called for a person found (hands to the face), giving Tulane a first down. On the next third down, Ebiketie blew by tackle Trey Tuggle to record the sack, forcing Tulane into a 51-yard field goal attempt that was missed. It was a great example of forgetting a bad play and making another difference-making play. Ebiketie showed great quickness coming around the edge. On a day when Temple’s defense got shredded, he was their top player on that side of the ball.
Winner of the running games
Temple trailed just 10-3 at the half but wore down in the second half and had no answers for the Green Wave offense. While Tulane entered the weekend leading the ACC in rushing (212 yards per game), the Green Wave rushed for 284 yards and averaged 6 yards per carry. Tulane was also dominant against the run, limiting Temple to 77 yards (2.1 avg.). Temple’s inability to run the ball didn’t help the inexperienced quarterbacks.