Inside the Nest Host
It took about six weeks longer than expected to start the 2020 season. And then it took almost
the entire 60-minute game to find a winner down in Annapolis, Maryland.
“We’re a two-point conversion away from tying it and going to overtime,” Head Coach Rod
Carey said following a disappointing 31-29 loss to Navy on Saturday night.
Navy led for just about the entire game. But with 1:02 remaining in the fourth quarter, down by
eight, sophomore running back Re’mahn Davis cut the Navy lead to just two with a one-yard
touchdown run up the middle. Temple, with no timeouts remaining, had to go for the two-point
conversion to tie the game.
But the two-point attempt never had a chance. Quarterback Anthony Russo went with a short
pass to his right to Davis, who was coming out of the backfield. Davis was picked up
immediately, the ball was batted away thus leaving Temple with another empty trip to
According to Carey, Co-Offensive Coordinator Mike Uremovich had a different play called that
“Mike had a different call, and we should’ve gone with his in retrospect,” Carey said postgame.
“I thought mine was a good one, but they covered it.”
“We’re going to do whatever our coaches want to do,” Davis said. “We’re going to ride and die
with that play and unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
Much of the blame seemed to be put on Russo’s decision making to try and execute a pass that
looked like it had no chance to reach the goal line.
Carey and Russo had different views on how the play went.
“(Russo) didn’t really have anywhere to go with the ball,” Carey said. “It wasn’t Anthony, it was
my call, so I’ll eat that one.”
“That play was more of a zone play. For me, I got to have the football IQ there. Even if Ray
(Davis) caught the ball there he’s getting tackled at the two-yard line, and that’s a must throw
into the end zone,” Russo said. “The coaches are going to say it’s their fault, but at the end of
the day I got to be a smart football player and adapt. No matter what I got to fight and scratch
and claw and either run that thing in myself, or give somebody a chance to make a play in the
The game itself may not have come down to a two-point conversion attempt had the Owls not
allowed Navy to run for a season-high 253 rushing yards. Coming into the game, the triple
option was a talking point, but Temple didn’t really have an answer. The Owls had five new
starters in their front seven coming into this year with single-digit defensive tackles Dan
Archibong and Ifeanyi Maijeh as the only two returning starters.
And Navy took advantage. Two of the biggest plays of the game came from senior running back
Nelson Smith who rushed for a career high 120 yards and two touchdowns. Smith’s second
touchdown run gave Navy a 28-17 lead after three quarters.
“Our pad level was just too high,” Carey said. “This isn’t an x-and-o thing, this isn’t a personnel
thing. This is a really fundamental thing. Our pad level was just too damn high.”
“Playing Navy, they start low to the ground, so you want your pad level to be low the whole
time,” graduate linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley said. “Triple option is a very different offense.
We probably won’t be seeing it for the rest of the year.”
That may be a good thing for the Owls, but you can’t help but look at the fact that Navy only
threw the ball two times Saturday, and they were both screen plays. That means the Owls
secondary really hasn’t even been tested yet in 2020.
Temple will be at the Linc for its home opener against USF next Saturday, October 17. Kickoff is
scheduled for 12:00 noon.