Owls’ offense leaves defense out to dry in Memphis loss

Temple turned the ball over four times, giving advantageous field position to the Memphis Tigers.

Redshirt-senior safety Amir Tyler celebrates after recovering a fumble against the University of South Florida during the Owls' game at Lincoln Financial Field on Oct. 17. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University football’s defense made a formidable effort against Memphis yesterday, forcing three turnovers against the Tigers. 

But the four turnovers the Owls (1-2, 1-2 The American Athletic Conference) had themselves overshadowed the defense’s performance, giving Memphis (3-1, 2-1 The American) advantageous field position that helped lead them to a 41-29 win over Temple.

“When you put the defense on short fields repeatedly it’s easier for the offense,” said head coach Rod Carey. “But certainly situational football we would like to be more key and better in. We have to hold them down.”

Memphis scored 24 points after the Owls’ four turnovers alone. In total, the Tigers scored five touchdowns and recorded 489 total yards on offense.

Additionally, Temple’s defense struggled to get pressure on the quarterback and cover their receivers down the field. 

Memphis redshirt-senior quarterback Brady White threw four touchdown passes and recorded 313 passing-yards. White did not get sacked.

His single interception came with six minutes and 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter, White tried to float the ball down the field but underthrew the pass, landing in the hands of Temple redshirt-sophomore cornerback Elijah Clark for an easy interception.  

On the Owls’ next drive, Temple’s offense only gained one yard before punting the ball back to the Tigers.

The Owls’ defense is allowing 36.33 points per game this season. 

The defense missed starting graduate linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley and redshirt-freshman linebacker Yvandy Rigby, who did not play in the game due to injuries.  

“I feel like we had a good game, even with missing two key factors,” redshirt-senior safety Amir Tyler, who recorded one fumble and had 7 tackles said. “I think we could’ve done better, but overall for our first game for some of these guys being together on the field we looked ok.” 

However, Tyler knew coming into this game the cornerbacks would be going up against some fast receivers, he added. 

Memphis redshirt-junior receiver Calvin Austin, who scored one touchdown and recorded 184 receiving yards, is known to be a fast runner. Austin was named to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-America second team in the 4 x 100 meter relay in 2019. 

The Owls will take on Tulane on Saturday Oct. 31 at 12:00 p.m and the defense is expecting to play against more speed receivers in that game, Tyler said. 

“We have a lot of fast guys coming up, so that will definitely be a challenge for us, but the sudden change and executing is something we need to work on, no matter where the ball is,” Tyler added. 

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