Temple’s offense didn’t help out its defense, its defense didn’t help out its offense, and its special teams was, once again, unproductive. The Owls (8-5, 5-3) didn’t force one punt, compounded by North Carolina (7-6, 4-4) converting 11 of their 14 third downs, and multiple issues cost Temple in the 55-13 defeat.
Not So Special Teams
Both kickers, Will Mobley (R-So.) and Jacob LaFree (Grad.), missed short and right from 42 and 54 yards, respectively. Mobley finished 11-for-14 on the season and 39-for-42 on PATs, as he becomes an upperclassmen next season.
At punter, Adam Barry (So.) struggled this season and averaged just 34.3 yards per punt on three punts in the loss. He didn’t surpass a 40.0 yard per punt average this season.
UNC Moves At Will
Cornerback Harrison Hand missed the Military Bowl with a finger injury, and Temple’s defense struggled against both the pass and run. True freshman Sam Howell threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns, going 25-for-34 passing.
Three UNC receivers eclipsed the 70-yard receiving mark. Dazz Newsome (Jr.) caught two touchdowns, one on a back left corner grab where he kept a foot inbounds when falling backwards, and another that he bobbled before hauling in. He finished with 71 yards on eight catches.
Sophomore Dyami Brown led UNC with 87 yards and recorded a touchdown while junior Beau Corrales totaled 82 yards on four receptions. Sophomore Javonte Williams (14 rushes for 85 yards) and junior Michael Carter (18 rushes for 84 yards) collectively made up 169 of UNC’s 238 rushing yards.
Temple Bright Spots
Due to blocking and the score, freshman Re’Mahn Davis only tallied 36 yards on 15 rushes, but he did score on a five-yard run. He provided arguably Temple’s biggest highlight with a 45-yard catch and run for a touchdown. He juked twice and displayed good vision on the reception.
Davis emerged as early as the Owls’ opener against Bucknell and has three years left of eligibility. Another year in Temple’s training program and offseason work should provide essential resources for Davis to make a jump next season.
Given how inconsistent Temple’s passing is, Davis’s balance and ability to shed tackles with the ball are important qualities to the Owls’ offense.
Jadan Blue (R-So.) completed a career year by becoming the first Temple player to record 1,000 receiving yards during a season. He had a great run after the catch for 60 yards and finished with a game-high 92 receiving yards.
Blue is a multidimensional offensive weapon, capable of running a variety of routes. Along with Davis, the sophomore was one of the talents who surprised and will play an integral on offense next year. Branden Mack (R-Jr.) recorded just 18 yards on three catches and Isaiah Wright (Sr.) missed Friday’s game.
Quarterback will be an interesting position to track in the offseason, as Anthony Russo (R-Jr.) makes the claim that he’s QB1 for Temple next season. He threw a pick-six to true freshman Storm Duck and went just 12-for-20 for 128 passing yards.
Todd Centeio (R-So.) came in and completed six of 12 passes for 66 yards. His interception came from when a defender hit his throwing arm when Centeio released. Davis was the recipient on Centeio’s 45-yard touchdown pass.
Carey had a dual threat quarterback for multiple years at Northern Illinois, and Centeio could overtake Russo next season.
What’s It Mean for Next Year?
Despite their blowout loss in the bowl game, Temple found two playmakers in Davis and Blue this season. They lose linebackers Shaun Bradley and Sam Franklin, plus safety Benny Walls and defensive end Dana Levine to graduation, likely defensive end Quincy Roche to the draft, and Harrison Hand to the draft. Chapelle Russell and Zack Mesday are graduate students that exhaust their eligibility.
Between quarterback play and restocking on defense, Temple has questions heading into next season.