It was a win that held such promise for Temple — 34-31 over Memphis in its American Athletic Conference opener — as their gifted new quarterback threw for 322 yards and three touchdowns.
With D’Wan Mathis — a 6-foot-6, dual-threat transfer from Georgia — running the show, it was exciting to consider the possibilities for the Owls.
But eight weeks later, Temple (3-8, 1-6) can’t wait for the season to end. The Owls have lost six straight games, none by fewer than 20 points, and their quarterback with the tantalizing talent has an uncertain future after announcing he was leaving the school and then reversing course a few days later.
Mathis was one of six scholarship players this year to declare he was departing a program that has fallen into disrepair under third-year coach Rod Carey. On their way out, some of the players have ripped Carey and his staff via social media.
It’s been a humbling downward spiral for Temple, which finishes its season Saturday against visiting Navy (2-8, 2-5).
“Guys, they leave for different reasons — reasons that, a lot of them, they haven’t really talked to me about,” Carey said. “That’s OK. That’s their business.”
It’s been a trying season as well for Navy, encapsulated by a 38-35 loss last Saturday to visiting East Carolina. The Midshipmen were on the verge of an upset of the bowl-bound Pirates, leading by eight points with six minutes left, but lost on a 54-yard field goal at the gun by Owen Daffer.
“This is a hard one,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “There’s been some tough losses this year. This one was obviously No. 1.”
With Army (7-3) still on the schedule, Navy still has much to play for. The positive for the Mids on Saturday was the play of their offense, which ranks last in the AAC but rolled up 345 yards rushing — led by Carlinos Acie’s 155 yards on six carries.
Temple will counter with quarterback Justin Lynch, who held the job early in the year, then lost it before regaining it when Mathis went down with an ankle injury.
–Field Level Media