Up-tempo offense leads to 56 points for Temple football

The Owls won 56-12 against Bucknell University in coach Rod Carey’s debut on Saturday.

Redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo carries the ball during the Owls' season opener against Bucknell at Lincoln Financial Field on Aug. 31, 2019. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

It only took three minutes and 19 seconds for Temple University football to get on the scoreboard.

Redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo found redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Jadan Blue for an eight-yard touchdown.

This was the beginning of a 56-point outburst by the Owls, as they defeated Bucknell University, 56-12, at Lincoln Financial Field in coach Rod Carey’s debut.

After the first touchdown, redshirt-senior Jager Gardner rushed for two touchdowns. At the end of the first quarter, the Owls led 21-0.

The Owls added two more touchdowns in the second quarter and led 35-9 heading into the locker room.

Carey noted the importance of scoring early and often.

“You’d like to do that every game you play,” Carey said after the game. “Today was no different than any other game from that respect. We kept that momentum going, which was good.”

Russo completed 32-of-41 pass attempts and threw for 409 yards and four touchdowns. Russo’s only blemish was a second-quarter interception by freshman cornerback Gavin Pringle, who returned it 36 yards for a touchdown.

Russo adjusted well to the up-tempo offense, he said.

“At times, we could’ve been faster,” Russo said. “I think that’s just getting into the games, working on it even more and getting paced going down. I think we moved pretty well today. There was a couple times where we were getting ready to snap the ball and the defense wasn’t set and they were still looking for calls.”

Four receivers had at least 60 yards receiving. Blue, who scored his first career touchdown, compiled 117 yards. Redshirt-junior Branden Mack led the Owls with 130 yards and also caught a touchdown. Redshirt-senior Travon Williams scored on an 89-yard pass on his only reception. Senior Isaiah Wright added 61 yards and a score.

Redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Jadan Blue dodges a tackle during football’s season opener against Bucknell on Aug. 31, 2019. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

“The depth is crazy,” Blue said. “We got a lot of weapons. We’re taking a lot of things off Isaiah from last year. We got some young guys that are able to ball out there. Don’t sleep on anybody that we got out there. Anybody can step up and play that role.”

The running game was also effective for the Owls. The Owls totaled 188 rushing yards. Freshman running back Re’Mahn Davis led the team with 60 rushing yards and added a score. Gardner finished with 54 yards. Wright added 38 rushing yards on three attempts in the backfield.

Davis also caught two passes for 78 yards, including a 51-yard pass from Russo in the second quarter in his first collegiate game. 

“It was very exciting,” Davis said. “My teammates prepared me all throughout the week to just stay level-headed, don’t get too high or too low and go out there and play my game.”

The Owls will have a week off before their next game against the University of Maryland at home on Sept. 14.

Even though Temple won by a big margin, Carey said his team can make improvements ahead of the game against the Terrapins.

“We gotta clean up some things,” Carey said. “It certainly was not perfect. We got a lot to get better at and learn from. We don’t take winning for granted.”

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