Going into Saturday’s game, Temple knew there was little room for error against No. 20 Miami, which had scored at least 35 points in each of its first three games.
The Owls (2-2, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) were not able to overcome their mistakes and lost to the Hurricanes (4-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) 41-7 at Lincoln Financial Field. Self-inflicted miscues and the inability to run the ball got in the Owls’ way, resulting in multiple drives stalling in Hurricanes’ territory.
On Temple’s second drive of the game, quarterback E.J. Warner found wide receiver Amad Anderson Jr. for a 46-yard gain to Miami’s 29-yard line with just more than two minutes left in the first quarter. Instead of capitalizing on the big play, the Owls squandered the opportunity to score after Warner and tight end Jordan Smith could not connect, and Miami’s Te’Cory Couch intercepted the pass in the back of the endzone. Couch finished with two interceptions.
“Just a miscommunication,” Warner said. “I just gotta do a better job if something happens, just to hold it and not make a bad play worse.”
Miami turned the pick into a scoring drive of its own. Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke found wide receiver Colbie Young for a 28-yard touchdown, putting the Hurricanes up 14-0 with 12 minutes left in the first half.
When Temple had a chance to cut the score in half in the second quarter, Warner missed an open Hubbard in the endzone. Warner was sacked two plays later, and an incomplete pass to Zae Baines on 4th-and-12 left the Owls empty-handed again with about four minutes left in the first half.
Temple had no answer for Miami’s rushing attack, allowing 135 rushing yards in the first half alone. The Hurricanes finished with 323 yards on the ground and kept their offense moving throughout the game, scoring on seven of their 11 drives.
Meanwhile, Temple’s running backs combined for just 11 yards after recording 254 in last week’s win against Norfolk State.
“We just got to be sound and fit our gaps,” said safety Tywan Francis. “If we don’t do that, they’re going to take advantage of what we give them.”
After the turnover on downs, a Miami field goal and a 13-yard rushing touchdown from running back Henry Parrish Jr. gave the Hurricanes a 24-point lead in a matter of seven minutes.
Temple’s only scoring drive came when Warner found tight end Reese Clark for the nine-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds left in the first half. It was Clark’s first career touchdown.
Warner did what he could behind an offensive line that has struggled this season. Miami’s defensive pressure caused the Owls’ line to collapse often, forcing Warner to get the ball out quickly or scramble to make a play.
While the scoreboard might not reflect it, the Owls put together multiple long drives throughout the game, many due to chunk plays through the air. Miami’s defense eventually committed to defending the pass because of the Owls’ inability to run the ball.
”Of course you want the run game,” Warner said. “It helps take some pressure off, it helps bring guys into the box so you can throw easier, but there’s still no excuse at the end of the day for my play.”
Second-half touchdowns from Parrish and wide receiver Xavier Restrepo helped the Hurricanes extend their lead to 34.
Despite the loss, Francis and linebacker D.J. Woodbury held their ground, combining for 17 tackles and two tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
The Owls will now enter conference play at 2-2. They will have to finish at least 4-4 in AAC play to make their first bowl game since 2019.
“We got to flush it in a hurry,” Drayton said. “I got some good leadership in that locker room that spoke up after this game, and we’re gonna follow their lead. They don’t like losing, and this doesn’t feel good for anybody in our program.”
Temple will look to bounce back Thursday in its first game in conference play on the road against Tulsa (2-2, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) on Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m.