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  • Rock Hoffman



College Football Editor

Philadelphia – The Temple Owls had their best offensive output in over a month but it wasn’t nearly enough as they finished the 2021 season with a 38-14 loss to Navy at Lincoln Financial Field. The Midshipmen (3-8, 3-5 American) despite their record, still had the 10th best rushing offense in the country and they were able to look like the classic Navy offense at times, especially in the second half. As a team, they rushed for 219 yards on 60 carries and had four 11-plus play-scoring drives – three of them coming after halftime. For the game, they were a combined nine of 11 on third and fourth down and four yards or less.

“At certain times, we had them in third and long and that’s when you get stops on them,” said Temple head coach Rod Carey after the game that saw his team fall to 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the American Athletic Conference, “and, at times, we did, certainly in the first half. When you play a triple-option team, the fullback kind of wears you out and if you’re not keeping the ball on offense some, it totals up in the third and fourth quarter.”

It was the first game the Owls scored two touchdowns in a game since they lost to USF 34-14 on October 23, the second game of what has become a seven-game losing streak. Over those seven games, the Owls have totaled just 59 points.

The Mids scored on their first three second-half possessions but the key play of the game may have come on the first series when Carlinos Acie went 23 yards on a fourth-and-four from the Temple 26. One play later, fullback Isaac Rouss scored his first of his two second-half touchdowns.

In the first half, the teams traded punts and as they often do, a break came in the kicking game. Navy’s Chance Warren returned Adam Berry’s second punt of the game 38 yards to the Owls’ 27-yard line. Five plays later, Navy led 7-0 on an 11-yard run by Acie, who finished with a game-high 86 yards on the ground.

After a three-and-out by Temple, the Midshipmen went on their first typical Navy drive, 13-plays – 10 of them on the ground – but it was a 15-yard pass from Xavier Arline to Warren that accounted for the score.

Temple’s next punt pinned the Mids inside their own 20, on the first play, Layton Jordan knocked away an option pitch. Temple safety Alex Odom made the recovery inside the Navy one-yard line, Ra’Von Bonner would score on the next play and it was 14-7.

Ra'Von Bonner had a touchdown in Temple's loss to Navy (photo by Jesse Garber)

After another exchange of punts, Navy found itself with the ball at the Temple 45 but the Owls defense didn’t allow a yard. Here’s where Navy got another break in the kicking game, Amad Anderson Jr. muffed a punt which Navy’s James Harris II recovered at the Owls’ 7. Once again, the Temple defense stiffened, they forced a 32-yard field goal by Bijan Nichols and it was 17-7 at the half.

With starting quarterback Justin Lynch ineffective, Mariano Valenti played some in the first half and all of the second half. After Navy went up 24-7 in the third quarter. The Owls matriculated the ball down the field on a Navy-like drive, 14-plays, 80 yards with Tayvon Ruley running in from four yards out but that was all they could muster and the Owls finish the season with the fewest wins in a full campaign since they went 2-10 in 2013, Matt Rhule’s first season as head coach.

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