Running is leading to wins for the Owls

Temple amassed its most running yards this season its win over Georgia Tech.

Redshirt-senior running back Jager Gardner carries the ball during the Owls’ game against Georgia Tech at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 28. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University football (3-1, 0-0 The American Athletic Conference) freshman running back Re’Mahn Davis carried the ball for a career-high 29 times on Saturday against Georgia Tech University (1-3, 0-1 The ACC). 

That is 14 more than his previous total this season. 

In all three of Temple’s victories this season, the Owls have had more than 35 rushing attempts. In their one loss on the road against the University at Buffalo (2-3, 0-1 The MAC) on Sept. 21, Temple only ran the ball 23 times. 

The Owls garnered 207 rushing yards, the most this season, against Georgia Tech on Sept. 28. 

Temple will rely on their running game more as they enter conference play Thursday, Oct. 3 on the road against East Carolina (3-2, 0-1 The AAC), coach Rod Carey said.  

“On offense, we did exactly what we wanted to do,” Carey said. “We wanted to come out and run the ball, and we established that.”

Davis gained 136 rushing yards on his 29 carries against the Yellow Jackets but was not the only Owl with a heavy workload. Redshirt-senior running back Jager Gardner carried the ball 18 times, picking up 71 yards. 

In total, Temple ran the ball 49 times against the Yellow Jackets, which is 10 attempts higher than their previous high of 39 against the University of Maryland (2-2, 0-1 The Big 10). 

Running the football more often was a focal point for Temple’s game plan against Georgia Tech and will be going forward, Davis said.  

“[Running the ball more]  shows I’m here to do whatever I need to do for the team,” Davis added. “Whether it is a three-yard gain or a fourth and one, I’m gonna try and get that for [the team].” 

Even with the recent success in the running game, Temple only averages 141 rushing yards per game and ranks ninth out of 12 in The American.  

The Owls’ next three opponents rank higher than them in rushing yards per game. The Pirates rank eighth with 173.4 yards per game, Memphis (4-0, 1-0 The AAC) ranks sixth with 196.5 yards per game and Southern Methodist (5-0, 1-0 The AAC) ranks fifth with 222.4 yards per game. 

The Owls’ emphasis on the running game comes at a time when redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo’s statistics have declined in recent weeks. 

In the first two games of the season, Russo compiled 686 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. In the last two games, Russo has compiled 385 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. 

Despite this, Carey is happy with the play of his quarterback so far this season. 

“I don’t know if it is fair to say that he struggled,” Carey said after Russo completed 40.9 percent of his passes on Saturday. “I think it is fair to say that he executed at an amazingly high level for what we asked him to do.”

Russo believes the offense has a lot to work on and his game against Georgia Tech “was not his greatest game,” he said. 

“Whether it is me throwing a touchdown or the running backs running touchdowns, if we get a win, at the end of the day we’re happy,” Russo said. “It was not the prettiest game for me, but I gotta watch the film tomorrow and correct going on to ECU next week.” 

1 Comment

  1. It’s amazing how Russo admits to not having a great game last week butthe coach still can’t come to reality about his performance last week . Good for Russo owning up to his play last week .

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