Temple quarterback Anthony Russo will miss his second straight game because of a shoulder injury. Coach Rod Carey announced that Russo won’t play against SMU at noon Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field against.
Russo, a redshirt senior, has made 26 career starts. He had 17 consecutive starts before missing Saturday’s 38-3 loss at Tulane.
“Could he be ready by Saturday? I think there’s probably an outside opportunity for that, physically. But certainly he would not have practiced all week and that can’t happen," said Carey, whose team is 1-3 overall and in the American Athletic Conference. (SMU is 6-1, 3-1.)
"He is obviously disappointed, but my first job is to make sure that the team we field out there is safe, and I don’t think that would be a proper situation.”
Carey said Russo has an AC joint injury.
“It is really a pain threshold thing, not a structural thing, but it affects his range of motion, it is on his throwing arm, so it is a big deal,” Carey said.
Without Russo in the lineup, the Owls alternated redshirt sophomore quarterbacks Trad Beatty and Re-al Mitchell each series. Other than a field goal on the opening drive, which Beatty led, the offense sputtered.
Carey had hoped one of the quarterbacks would get hot. Since neither stood out, Carey said, he would use that plan again, with Beatty again getting the start.
“I will start Trad and Re-al will play and hopefully one of them gets hot and then I’ll stay with that person,” Carey said.
Beatty completed 11 of 18 passes for 122 yards and an interception. Mitchell, a dual-threat transfer from Iowa State, was Temple’s leading rusher with 37 yards on seven carries. He also completed 5 of 8 passes for 23 yards.
Line improvement needed
Carey is never one to use injuries as an excuse.
“We felt like we lost both sides of the line of scrimmage and that was the first time I felt like that since I’ve been here, and that’s not good enough," said the coach, who is in his second season at Temple.
Temple allowed three sacks and averaged just 2.1 yards per carry, while allowing Tulane 284 yards rushing and 6.0 yards per carry. The Owls did sack freshman quarterback Michael Pratt twice.
Starting guard Adam Klein returned to practice Monday, and that could help. It was his first time back since suffering an injury against South Florida on Oct. 17
“He went through an entire practice [Monday] and played and really looked like himself,” Carey said.
Carey added that if Klein can keep bouncing back this week after practicing, he should see a lot of action Saturday.
A junior, Klein started his first two seasons at right tackle before moving to guard.
UCF game at night
The AAC announced that Temple’s game on Nov. 14 at Central Florida will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and be shown on ESPNU.
In addition, the AAC announced that its championship game will be Dec. 19 at the home stadium of the team with the higher winning percentage in conference games.
Unlike last year, when there were two divisions, the AAC this year is one 11-team division, and the top two teams will play for the championship.