Annapolis, MD- With 11 minutes and 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter, redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo dropped back to pass and looked to the right side of the field. He threw the ball hoping it got to redshirt-junior receiver Branden Mack.
Instead, the ball landed right in the hands of University of North Carolina freshman cornerback Storm Duck who promptly caught the ball and returned it for a 20-yard touchdown, putting the Tar Heels ahead 34-6.
Temple University football (8-5, 5-3 The American Athletic Conference) lost 55-13 to the Tar Heels (7-6, 4-4 The Atlantic Coast Conference) on Friday afternoon in the Northrup Grumman Military Bowl.
“I thought [Mack] was running the edge, but he did a quick out,” Russo said. “That is on me. I am going to go back and watch the film. Get better in the offseason, that’s all you can do.”
Russo finished the game 12-of-20 passing for 128 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. Mack finished the game with just three catches for 18 yards.
Temple only recorded 272 total yards of offense in the game, 78 of which came from rushing the football and 194 came in the passing game.
Freshman running back Re’Mahn Davis was a bright spot for the Owls’ offense. Davis caught a screen pass from redshirt-sophomore quarterback Todd Centeio and ran it 45 yards for a touchdown.
“I don’t think we got outplayed,” Russo said. “To line up and try to beat UNC is one thing, but when you have to beat Temple and beat UNC is a whole other. They didn’t show us anything different.”
Davis finished the game with 36 rushing yards and one touchdown while also catching two passes for 44 yards and one touchdown.
Redshirt-sophomore Jadan Blue was the Owls’ leading receiver in the game. He recorded eight catches and 92 yards. One of Blue’s catches went for 60 yards with 10 minutes, 17 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Blue also became the first receiver in Owls history to record more than 1,000 yards in a single season during the game.
Temple eventually scored a touchdown on the drive to bring the score to 10-6.
Although Temple was disappointed with its performance on offense, it is important the team remembers how important the graduating seniors have been to the program, Carey said.
“We celebrate their careers,” Carey added. “They had a fantastic career through a lot of transition. Four head coaches, including one that was only here for 17 days. This senior group is special, and I always remember them for who they are.”