Owls offense continues struggling in 25 point UCF loss

Temple’s offense only mustered 290 yards and 13 points while the Knights recorded 419 yards and 38 points.

Redshirt-junior wide receiver Jadan Blue carries the ball during the Owls' game against Southern Methodist University at Lincoln Financial Field on Nov. 7. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

On Temple University football’s first possession of the game, redshirt-sophomore quarterback  Re-al Mitchell dropped back to pass and was immediately hit from the right side by Central Florida junior linebacker Eriq Gilyard, causing Mitchell to fumble, giving the ball to the Knights at the Temple 16-yard line. 

The Knights (5-2, 4-2 The American Athletic Conference) would score four plays later on a seven-yard run by senior running back Greg McCrae, giving the Knights a 7-0 lead which they would never relinquish. 

The Owls (1-5, 1-5 The American) lost 38-13 on the road against the Knights on Saturday night. Temple’s offense struggled the entire game, only recording 290 total yards and one touchdown. 

Temple missed key players on offense including starting graduate student quarterback Anthony Russo due to COVID-19 protocol and starting graduate student wide receiver Randle Jones and starting offensive lineman graduate student Michael Niese due to injury. 

With Russo out, Mitchell made his first start of the season but struggled throughout the entire game. Mitchell completed 10 passes out of 23 attempts for 107 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. 

One of Mitchell’s interceptions came on the second drive of the game when he attempted to throw a bubble screen to redshirt-junior wide receiver Jadan Blue but UCF sophomore linebacker Tatum Bethune broke through the Owls’ block and stepped in front of the pass for the interception. 

Blue finished the game with five catches for 71 yards and zero touchdowns. 

UCF scored on the ensuing drive after a 14-yard touchdown run by senior running back Otis Anderson, bringing the score to 14-0 with 10 minutes and 19 seconds left in the first quarter. 

The Owls finished the game with 183 rushing yards. Redshirt-senior running back Tayvon Ruley led the Owls in rushing with 90 yards on 23 attempts. 

Temple’s offense scored their first touchdown of the game with 14 minutes and 24 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter when redshirt-freshman running back Onasis Neely ran the ball in from five yards out, making the score 38-10. 

The Owls’ defense held UCF sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel to just 268 yards and 12 completions for two touchdowns. Gabriel came into the game leading The American in passing yards per game. 

In total, the Knights recorded 419 yards of total offense including 147 rushing yards. McCrae finished the game with 36 yards on 10 carries for two touchdowns. Anderson led the Knights in rushing with 83 yards. 

Graduate student defensive tackle Daniel Archibong and graduate student defensive end Manny Walker both finished the game 1.5 tackles for loss. Redshirt-junior defensive end Arnold Ebiketie led the team in tackles with nine. 

The Owls next game is Nov. 21 at home at noon against East Carolina (1-6, 1-5 The American). 

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