GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Quarterback Todd Centeio had not played since Temple’s 56-12 win over Bucknell in the season opener, but that changed Thursday night against East Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
According to a source, the move was planned during the week as a way of getting Centeio some playing time and taking advantage of his dual-threat ability.
The offense has struggled, but redshirt junior Anthony Russo remains the starter. It’s just that Centeio may be seeing more action.
As one source said, it forces teams to have to prepare for another dimension.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Centeio entered the game for Temple’s third series, with 2 minutes, 42 seconds left in the first quarter and the Owls trailing, 7-0. The redshirt sophomore immediately set the tone by running for 13 yards on his first play.
Centeio led the Owls on an 11-play, 65-yard drive that ended with Will Mobley’s 29-yard field goal that cut the East Carolina lead to 7-3 with 12:39 left in the first half.
During the drive Centeio completed both of his passes for 33 yards and carried six times for 21 yards.
Russo returned for the fourth series and led the Owls to consecutive touchdowns on the next two series.
The Owls took a 17-10 halftime lead.
In the Bucknell game, Centeio ran three times for just 2 yards but completed 4 of 5 passes for 98 yards, including an 89-yard scoring pass to Travon Williams for the game’s final score.
Last year Centeio completed 12 of 18 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 82 yards and a score on 20 carries.
What is interesting is that the decision was made after the Owls had their best rushing game of the season, 195 yards and two scores on 49 carries in in the 24-2 win over visiting Georgia Tech. Centeio, however, has the ability to take the running game to a higher level with his speed and elusiveness.
This season the Temple offense has been inconsistent. The offense scored just 17 points against Georgia Tech -- Benny Walls added the other touchdown on a 74-yard fumble return.
Temple beat Maryland, 20-17, but was just 3 of 14 on third-down conversions. The next week the Owls were 2 of 16 on third-down conversions in a 38-22 loss at Buffalo.
Senior defensive tackle Karamo Dioubate earned his first start of the season. That was because starter Dan Archibong had to sit out the first half after being ejected in the fourth quarter of the win last Saturday over Georgia Tech.
It was the second start of his career.
When ECU scored on its first possession on a 14-yard scoring pass from Holton Ahlers to C.J. Johnson, it was the first time a team had scored a touchdown in the first quarter against the Owls.