Temple 49, Tulane 10: Guerry Smith’s three and out _lowres

Philadelphia Inquirer photo by DAVID MAIALETTI -- Tulane's Nico Marley, right, tries to knock Temple's Robby Anderson, left, out of bounds after he caught a 1st quarter pass Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

1. WHAT WE LEARNED

Tulane’s offense still implodes when it faces a good defense. Temple held the Green Wave to 110 yards and eight first downs, stuffing the run from start to finish and hitting quarterback Tanner Lee repeatedly when he tried to throw. Last year, Tulane had 151 yards and 14 first downs in a dismal 10-3 loss to the Owls. With every consequential skill position player returning, plus four offensive linemen, the Wave fared even worse on the road. There is no way to sugarcoat those numbers.

2. TRENDING NOW

Punters with bad hands. Last week, when senior Peter Picerelli dropped the ball as he was moving forward to punt it the inexplicable mistake cost him his job. Incredibly, his replacement, freshman Zach Block, did the exact same thing against Temple, allowing the Owls to score an easy touchdown to go ahead 21-10 late in the second quarter. The Tulane coaches have received (and deserved) criticism for their mistake-prone special teams, but how do you coach a guy not to drop a ball for no reason?

3. FINAL THOUGHTS

Johnson and his staff need to do as good a job getting the players’ heads back as they did after the 65-10 debacle at Georgia Tech. Only this time, the next opponent is undefeated Houston on Friday night at Yulman Stadium, not Maine of the FCS. The Cougars are the second of four rough opponents for the Wave in October, all of whom entered Saturday undefeated. Tulane’s resiliency will be tested again. The season looks like it could go south in a hurry.