BY ROCK HOFFMAN
COLLEGE FOOTBALL EDITOR
The Rod Carey era at Temple got off to a flying start as the Owls rolled over Bucknell 56 -12 at Lincoln Financial Field in the season opener for both schools. The Owls outgained the Bison 695 yards to 211 and quarterback Anthony Russo, who missed much of training camp with a calf injury, threw for 409 yards (his second-best total ever) and tied his career-high with four touchdown passes in the first game for Carey as head coach of the Owls.
“As a Temple offense we have a history of not starting too fast,” said Russo. “That was our main goal all offseason and our main goal today was to start fast.”
“You love those fast starts,” said Carey, who previously was the head coach at Northern Illinois, “because you’re up 14-0 quick with a three-and-out in between, that’s pretty demoralizing.”
The two teams played every season from 1927 to 1970 but hadn’t met on the gridiron in 49 years and after this beating the Bison might not want to play Temple for another half century. Temple scored on their first four possessions while the Bison’s offense could only manage a pair of field goals – their only touchdown came on an interception return.
Jaden Blue scored the first touchdown on an eight-yard pass from Russo. Later in the first quarter Jager Gardner scored on runs of one and 11 yards. Isaiah Wright caught Russo second scoring pass; it was at this point Russo made his only major mistake when he threw an interception that Gavin Pringle took back 36 yards. It was 35-9 at halftime, after Re’Mahn Davis raced 51 yards – thanks to some nice downfield blocks - with a swing pass from Russo.
“Our offensive line did tremendous in the pass game and the run game,” said Russo, who was 32 of 41 passing. “Our running backs stepped up – I think that’s been a big question this offseason. I think Jager and Re’Mahn Davis really stepped up.”
In the second half, it was just a matter of what the final score would be. Russo added one final touchdown pass (10 yards to Aaron Jarman) before giving way to Todd Centeio, who led two scoring drives of his own. Davis ran in from seven-yards out and Travon Williams caught a pass and raced in for the score on a play that covered 89 yards. The only thing faster than Williams was the scoreboard operator who put the six points up while Williams was between the 10 and five-yard line.
The Owls have a week off before they host Maryland on September 14th.
Email Rock Hoffman at Rock@footballstories.com