With five minutes left in the second quarter, Owls’ freshman kicker Rory Bell made a 55-yard field goal, which became the only points Temple University football (3-3,1-1 The American Athletic Conference) scored against the University of Cincinnati (5-0,1-0 The American) Friday night.
For the second time this season, the Owls have ended a game with only three points to their name, with the first coming against their matchup against Boston College earlier this year. As a result, Temple lost by 49 points, their largest so far this season.
The Owls fell to the Bearcats 52-3 after failing to convert on third downs and clean up mistakes on special teams, which overworked Temple’s defense throughout the entire second half.
It’s clear Temple’s offense, who totaled 226 yards, their lowest of the season, struggled to find space against Cincinnati’s defense.
Even in the Owls loss against Rutgers University, their now second largest loss this season, they managed to put up 261 yards of offense and score two touchdowns.
“We didn’t play good,” said head coach Rod Carey. “We’ve got to coach better and we’ve got to play better.”
After Cincinnati punted in the first quarter, redshirt-junior wide receiver Jadan Blue fumbled on the return and the Bearcats recovered the ball, giving them the first down on Temple’s 13-yard line.
Blue’s return miscue led the Bearcats to score their first touchdown, and they never looked back.
“Playing a team like that you can’t really make too many mistakes, you’ve got to be locked in and execute,” said freshman quarterback D’Wan Mathis. “We probably didn’t do our best today but we will bounce back and do better.”
The Owls found themselves in Bearcats’ territory for the first time in their first drive of the second quarter. However, on third and nine on Cincinnati’s 30-yard line, Bearcats’ graduate student linebacker Darrian Beavers sacked Mathis, who fumbled the ball. This led the Owls to kick a field goal instead of scoring a touchdown.
By the end of the first half, the Owls were down two touchdowns, and Mathis was sacked four times.
“I think that [Mathis] didn’t play as well as he can and protection was an issue,” Carey said. “A combination of those two things really made it look like he played pretty bad.”
When Temple found Bearcats’ territory for the second time seven minutes into the third quarter, Mathis’ pass was intercepted by graduate student cornerback Coby Bryant.
Freshman quarterback Justin Lynch, who came in to finish the fourth quarter, led the Owls to the three-yard line but failed to convert on fourth down after facing pressure from senior defensive lineman Jabari Taylor.
Lynch’s decision to run the ball himself five minutes into the fourth quarter resulted in a first down and 33-yard gain, the longest of the night.
In the last two minutes of the fourth quarter, the Owls moved into Bearcats’ territory for the final time, where Lynch threw an incomplete pass ending the Owls’ chances of putting a touchdown on the board.
Both Mathis and Lynch were sacked a total of six times throughout the game.
“We’ve got to get back to work, we’ve got to keep improving,” Carey said. “The bye week comes at a good time for us and we’ll go from there.”