BUFFALO, NY --Temple hit the first official road bump in the Rod Carey era. After scoring the game’s first touchdown, the Owls surrendered 31 unanswered points in Saturday’s 38-22 to Buffalo at UB Stadium. Buffalo (2-2) was coming off a 35-17 loss to Liberty. The Owls (2-1) were riding high off a 20-17 win over then No. 21 Maryland.
Temple awoke in the fourth quarter but by then it was too late.
My, how things can change so quickly in a week’s time.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
Buffalo’s only choice at upsetting the Owls seemingly was to control the ball, and keep the Owls offense off the field. The Bulls entered the game leading the Mid-American Conference in rushing (225 yards per game). The offense line is one of the stronger units on the team with four of five starters returning from last year. So Buffalo, would seemingly have a chance if the Bulls could ground and pound against the Owls.
In taking the 24-7 first half lead, Buffalo rushed 31 times for 121 yards. More importantly, the Bulls owned the time of possession battle 18:55 to 11:05. Buffalo was especially strong in the second quarter for 90 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.
After three quarters the Bulls has rushed for 173 yards and four scores on 46 carries. Time of possession after three - 29:44 to 15:16 in favor of Buffalo.
As the game wore on the offensive line dominated the Owls.
A bad snap in punt formation that resulted in a 40-yard loss set up one Buffalo touchdown. Another touchdown was set up after quarterback Anthony Russo fumbled with Buffalo recovering on the Owls 19. There was a also a first-half targeting penalty by Temple linebacker Shaun Bradley that caused the ejection of the senior middle linebacker.
On the first series of the third quarter after Russo hit Jadan Blue for 43 yards to the Bulls 32, the redshirt junior quaterback tried to connect again deep with Blue. The problem was that Blue wasn’t open, and Bulls corner Aapri Washington, two steps behind him, made the running interception at the 3-yard line.
Later in the quarter Buffalo corner Devon Washington jumped a route on a quick out to Branden Mack and intercepted Russo, giving the Bulls the ball on Temple’s 23-yard line. That led to another touchdown, a 3-yard touchdown run by Jaret Patterson, increasing the Bulls lead to 31-7. At that point, the game was over, but the mistakes weren’t.
Russo threw a pick six that was behind Jose Barbon and was tipped. Joey Banks made the pick and returned it 46 yards for a score.
There were too many dropped passes for the Owls and too many ill-advised throws. The Owls continued to attempt to throw deep with minimal results. Other than that one connection of 43 yards on the first series of the send half to Blue, the Owls not only missed a number of deep throws, but weren’t even close. They should have worked on more intermediate patterns. On many of the patterns, the receivers weren’t gaining separation.
Russo often threw behind receivers in an all-around frustrating day for the passing game. In the fourth quarter on a fourth-down pass he way overthrew a pass to Isaiah Wright in the end zone.