Temple coach Rod Carey knew No. 5 Cincinnati was an all-around good football team. Still, he was disappointed in the 52-3 blowout his Owls suffered.
“Upset with the outcome, upset with the second half especially,” Carey said. “We did not play well and they’re a really good team on top of it.”
Temple kept Cincinnati from making big plays to start the first quarter, but due to the Bearcats’ aggressive defense, which is allowing an average of 14 points per game, Temple’s offense couldn’t record a single touchdown.
Between mistakes on Temple’s special teams and a tired defense, Cincinnati capitalized on every opportunity they had with the ball.
The Owls head into a bye week and will look towards their next conference game against South Florida on Oct. 23.
“We gotta get back to work, we gotta keep improving,” Carey said. “The bye week comes at a good time for us and we’ll go from there.”
D’Wan Mathis on the run
Temple went into the second half down two touchdowns and feeling the pressure from Cincinnati’s defense.
Quarterback D’Wan Mathis was looking for opportunities to throw the ball, especially on third down. But with the Bearcats’ secondary in man coverage, Mathis, who threw for 120 passing yards, would scramble out of pocket, where too often the plays would end with him throwing out of bounds.
When trying to run the ball himself, the 6-foot-6 quarterback often couldn’t avoid the sack. The Bearcats had four on Mathis by the end of the half.
Partly due to lack of protection from the offensive line, Mathis didn’t throw for a single touchdown and had one interception.
However, Temple was able to put three on the scoreboard after Mathis moved the offense down to the red zone in the second quarter. Unable to convert from there for a touchdown, the Owls put their faith in kicker Rory Bell, who delivered a 55-yard field goal.
Mathis was sacked a total of five times by the Bearcats, and backup Justin Lynch was put in to finish the fourth quarter.
Temple’s overworked defense
With the offense struggling, the Owls had to heavily rely on their defense. They held strong to start, but Cincinnati receiver Alec Pierce and running back Jerome Ford, who combined for three touchdowns, eventually broke through.
Ford rushed for a 75-yard touchdown to put the Bearcats up 24-3 in the third quarter. Then, after a quick three and out from Temple’s offense, the exhausted defense was back on the field. The drive ended in a 28-yard touchdown run from Cincinnati’s Charles McClelland.
Mistakes on special teams
Receiver Jadan Blue had a turning point play on a punt return in the first quarter. It wasn’t in the Owls’ favor.
After Temple’s defense held Cincinnati to a three and out, Blue dropped the ensuing punt and the Bearcats recovered it.
Cincinnati’s offense took back over on Temple’s 13-yard line and, on the second play, scored on a nine-yard touchdown pass to Pierce from quarterback Desmond Ridder.
Temple fumbled a second time with Amad Anderson taking the return. Cincinnati recovered again and capitalized with another touchdown (a 38-yard pass from Ridder to receiver Tyler Scott that put the Bearcats up 31-3).
Cincinnati easily turned Temple’s mistakes on special teams into points.