Inside the Nest Host
An undermanned Temple team (1-3, 1-3) played perhaps its worst game under Head Coach Rod Carey Saturday in New Orleans falling to the Green Wave, 38-3.
“We did not play anywhere near to our capabilities today,” Carey said postgame.
Just like the unknown candy that fills your trick or treat bag, it was unclear which quarterback Temple was going to run out onto the field on Saturday. And once game day rolled around, it got even more interesting. On Saturday morning, starter Anthony Russo was downgraded to OUT thanks to a shoulder injury that kept him off the practice field this past week. This led to a return to the rotating quarterback room fans saw so much of in 2019. But this time with a twist. Redshirt sophomore Trad Beatty took the first offensive drive, but redshirt sophomore and Iowa State transfer Re-al Mitchell entered the game on the second drive. And that was the theme all afternoon, with each quarterback taking every other offensive series.
“We were going to see if somebody got hot and stick with them,” Carey said. “Nobody got hot. There were some good things in there and some really bad things in there. I’m sure once we put the film on we’ll find more good than bad and then make an assessment. But in the end, the quarterback needs to lead the team down the field and score points.”
And neither did.
“Going into the game, I knew Trad was going to get the first series,” Mitchell said. “Then I’d come in shortly after that. Then how it played throughout the game was to hop on the phone and see who was up for the next drive and go from there.”
“Ultimately it just came down to an execution thing,” Beatty said. “We were moving the ball well at the beginning of the game, and unfortunately we weren’t able to do that continuously.”
The Owls found the red zone with Beatty on the first drive of the game. However, much like the case when Russo was behind center, the drive stalled and the Owls were only able to come away with a field goal. The Owls were held scoreless for the final 49:23 of the game.
“It is what it is,” Mitchell said. “Every drive we had didn’t result in the way we wanted it to, and I think that’s something individually we have to take and not make excuses for.”
The Owls were missing several players for their trip to New Orleans. Thirteen players didn’t travel thanks to Covid protocol. And there were several others, along with Russo, fighting injuries including linebackers Isaiah Graham-Mobley and Audley Isaacs. Safety Amir Tyler and cornerback Freddie Johnson both left the game with injuries as well. This led to a flood of late scores allowing Tulane to turn a 10-3 halftime lead into the 38-3 win, securing its first conference win this season in five tries.
“Effort came into it and communication,” Cornerback Cristian Braswell said. “A lot of people were walking with their heads down. When big plays happen sometimes the morale goes down. As teammates we have to learn how to keep ourselves together and even as coaches.”
Throughout most of Saturday’s loss, there seemed to be a lack of execution, creativity in play calling, and energy from the Owls. Perhaps the loss of Russo was bigger than some predicted. As of now, the graduate’s status for next week's game against SMU is uncertain.
“Can’t answer that yet,” Carey said. “It’s really a day-by-day pain threshold thing. It’s not a long-term thing. It’s a pain thing.”
The Owls will no longer be playing on Thursday night next week. The game was rescheduled for next Saturday, November 7 at 12:00 noon on ESPN+.