Attention Temple Owls: Beware of the trap game vs Navy

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After manhandling ECU, could the Temple Owls’ road trip to Annapolis to face off against Navy end up being a surprise trap game?

The Temple Owls are riding quite possibly the biggest win of the season. Sure, their annihilation of a far inferior East Carolina squad may not seem like a monumental feat. Many times, these seemingly meaningless wins shape the remainder of the season.

I like to call things as I see them.

Anthony Russo is an absolute stud. Perhaps I’m jumping the gun, as one may classify that statement as a hot take, but every week, I make an attempt to calm frantic Temple fans who are quick to jump on the young quarterback for a “poor” game.

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After this weekend’s performance against ECU, there should be no questions. Russo showed poise in the pocket, going 21-of-25 in the midst of racking up 254 yards and four touchdowns.

Besides a first-quarter pass that was thrown in the vicinity of a nonexistent Temple ghost receiver and took a direct flight to the hands of ECU’s Corey Seargent, Russo sliced and diced the Pirate defense.

Now having experienced the lowest of lows in a loss at BC and the highest of highs in the thumping of ECU, Russo is settled in at the starting position and ready to take the Owls back to the pinnacle of success.

With four games against the best of the AAC within sight, it may be easy to skim over this weekend’s matchup.


While this isn’t the dominating Navy team of years past, it is never wise to take the Midshipmen for lightly. I hesitate to call it a trap game, but the Owls’ need to make sure they don’t look ahead to their nationally ranked opponents before taking care of a conference rival.

Navy’s passing game is nonexistent. Their top threat through the air has less than 200 yards on the season. They average less than 80 passing yards per game on the season. For Temple’s talented secondary, this won’t be an issue.

The running game could be a deciding factor, as they’re averaging over 300 yards per game on the ground, which accounts for over 80 percent of their offense.

Temple’s defense was recently toasted by BC for 275 rushing yards. Yes, that featured one of the premier backs in the ACC in AJ Dillon, but that still doesn’t account for the 120 yards out of a second tier back in Ben Glines.

Navy’s rushing attack is multidimensional, with several “quarterbacks” who give a different look with each play. Zach Abey comes into the game with seven touchdowns on the ground and Malcolm Perry is not far behind with six, and both are a threat to break off a long run at any time.

Temple sits at 3-3 and the season is still up in the air. With a 2-0 conference record, they are in a tie for first place in the AAC East division.

Granted that’s a three-way tie with the 25th ranked Cincinnati team that travels to the Linc next weekend to face the Owls, and the 10th ranked UCF team that is still riding their “National Championship” hot streak as they welcome Temple to their turf the following Thursday, but that accomplishment should not be undervalued.

The ultimate measure of this season’s success is still undetermined, and I find it hard to believe that a birth in the conference championship is a real possibility. And all of this could be for naught if the Owls overlook this weekend’s matchup and the Midshipmen rain on their parade.

Growing pains shape the future for Anthony Russo, Temple. dark. Next

To me, a bowl appearance of any sort defines this season as a success and I believe a mid-level bowl victory is certainly within reason. But it all starts with the Temple Owls taking care of business this Saturday in Annapolis against Navy.