Turnovers and third-down struggles lead to Owls’ first loss

Redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo threw three interceptions in the Owls 38-22 loss to the University at Buffalo on Saturday night.

Redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo grabs his helmet before the Owls’ game against Buffalo at the University at Buffalo stadium on Sept. 21. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Buffalo, N.Y. — Despite gaining more yards than their opponent, Temple University football struggled to execute offensively, coach Rod Carey said.

“When you give them 21 points [off turnovers] and you spot them a 17-7 lead or 24-7 lead then they kinda go ‘ground and pound’,” Carey said. “That wears on you and then time is ticking. I think [Buffalo] did a nice job with that.” 

Temple University football (2-1, 0-0 The American) had a season-high four turnovers in their 38-22 loss on the road to the University at Buffalo (2-2, 0-0 MAC) on Saturday night. 

The Owls offense got off to a good start when redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo threw a touchdown pass to senior receiver Isaiah Wright six minutes and 19 seconds remaining in the first quarter putting the Owls ahead 7-0, but things quickly unraveled after that.  

The Owls’ first turnover came with nine minutes and seven seconds left in the second quarter when Russo fumbled the ball after a sack. The Bulls scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive with a quarterback run by redshirt-freshman quarterback Matt Myers. 

Temple’s other three turnovers were interceptions thrown by Russo. Russo’s third interception was run back for a touchdown by senior safety Joey Banks. Russo has five interceptions so far this season. 

“When you’re down like we are the defense can just reel back and tee off on you a little bit,” Carey said. “We need to try and get the run-up in there a little bit more.” 

The Owls’ offense also had trouble converting third and fourth downs. 

Temple finished the game only converting on 2-of-16 third-down attempts and just 4-of-8 fourth-down attempts. The Owls’ have only converted on 35.56 percent of their third-down attempts this season. 

Temple had several drops in the game which prevented them from converting on third and fourth down, Carey said. 

“I think there were some execution problems that I’ll take as the coach,” Carey said. “You got dropped balls. You got interceptions. You got a [bad] snap on a punt. We have a lot we need to get better at.”

Temple will take the field again on Saturday, Sep. 28th at home against the University of Georgia Tech (1-2, 0-0 ACC). 

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