Listless offense, tired defense finds Temple football holding conference loss to Memphis
In the last game before his bye, Temple was reassured by his defense but a lot worried about his offense following a 24-3 loss to Memphis in the Owls’ conference opener.
The Owls held the host Tigers to their first half scoreless in all competitions since 2017 en route to a 3-0 halftime lead. However, with the Owls defense stretched thin, Seth Henigan and Memphis racked up 24 points in the second half and continued the trend of see-saw clashes between the two schools in recent years, with neither team beating the other in consecutive clashes.
The Owls have struggled to generate offense against respectable teams all season, scoring just 17 points in three games against opponents not named Lafayette or UMass.
As the offensive line continues to allow pressure, quarterback EJ Warner is starting to look more like an 18-year-old. Warner’s passing percentage has gone down as interceptions have gone up. Memphis proved another tough outing as Warner went 18 of 37 for 245 yards and three interceptions. Additionally, Temple, among the conference’s worst in rushing yards, once again struggled on the ground Saturday with just 22 yards on 52 carries.
Promising signs emerged for the Owls thanks to kicker Camden Price, who netted a 47-yard field goal late in the second quarter to put Temple up, 3-0, with less than a minute left. The University of Miami graduate transfer replaced junior Rory Bell, who was 14 for 23 in his career, including 0 for 2 this season.
READ MORE: Temple’s Adonicas Sanders quickly became EJ Warner’s go-to receiver
After a quiet few weeks, wide receiver Jose Barbon reappeared for Temple. The redshirt senior caught five passes for 134 yards, including a 10-yard hitch for an additional 68 yards after the catch. Barbon had been silent against Rutgers and UMass, totaling just three catches for 20 combined yards.
For four weeks, Temple’s defense is giving up 15.4 points per game, which is third-best in The American as defensive coordinator DJ Eliot’s body continues to find new ways to pressure opposing quarterbacks. The Owls had five sacks — including one that resulted in a recovered fumble — as well as nine pass breakups against Memphis.
Temple has a week off to regroup before heading to Orlando for a Thursday night game at Central Florida on Oct. 13 (7 p.m., ESPN).