Dual quarterback strategy helps Temple win

Temple’s offense had its most effective performance since the 56-12 win over Bucknell University.

Redshirt-freshman quarterback Todd Centeio prepares to hand the ball of to a teammate during Temple's 56-12 win over Bucknell University on Aug. 31, 2019. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Todd Centeio entered the game in the first half Thursday night. It was by design.

Temple (4-1, 1-0 The American Athletic Conference) used both Centeio and redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo in the offensive strategy against East Carolina (3-3, 0-2 The AAC). The Owls amassed 490 total yards of offense in the 27-17 win. 

Russo completed 24-of-34 pass attempts for 208 yards and one touchdown. Centeio made four of five passes for 45 yards and ran the ball nine times for 23 yards.

Russo’s touchdown pass went to senior wide receiver Isaiah Wright at the end of the third quarter.

Wright finished the game with a season-high 104 receiving yards. He also had a 55-yard kick return in the second quarter. He ran safely out of bounds at the 55-yard line rather than carrying the ball into pressure from the Pirates’ defense.

Redshirt-junior wide receiver Branden Mack also eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark. His team-leading 107 yards are the most since the Owls beat Bucknell on Aug. 31, when he recorded 130 receiving yards.

The Owls’ receivers finished the game with 253 yards. Redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Jadan Blue had 7 receptions for 25 yards, the fewest for him this season.

On the ground, freshman running back Re’Mahn Davis rushed for 157 yards, a career-high. Redshirt-senior running back Jager Gardner added 60 yards. Blue, who has been used as a receiver this season, rushed once for seven yards.

Russo attempted two carries and did not gain any yards, losing a total of 10. 

If not for 16 yards lost by the two quarterbacks, the Owls’ rushing and receiving yardage would have been identical at 253. 

The Owls’ next game will be against Memphis (4-0, 1-0 The AAC), whose defense has allowed more than 200 rushing yards just once, against Navy (2-1, 1-1 The AAC). The Tigers’ defense allows an average of 160 rushing yards per game.

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