PHILADELPHIA, PA 9/8/2012 – Mistakes in the first half proved to be too much to overcome for the Temple Owls football team as they lose to the Maryland Terrapins 36 – 27 at Lincoln Financial Field. The Owls mounted a rally in the second half to get to within two points of the Terrapins, but a late touchdown ended the hopes of getting the win. The mistakes were too much to overcome said Temple Coach Steve Addazio.
“We turned the ball over three times, the first return we have a penalty and then turn the ball over,” fumed Addazio. “Two snaps over the head, we had three personal foul penalties and had a field goal blocked. That tells you the tale right there. You can’t win a lot of football games like that. It’s just real hard to do.”
In the first play from scrimmage Temple Senior running back Matt Brown fumbled at the 16 yard line that was recovered by Maryland linebacker Demetruis Hartsfield at the 24 yard line. The turnover resulted in a 45 yard field goal by Brad Craddock and a 3 – 0 Terrapin lead less than 3 minutes into the game. On the ensuing possession Temple Junior quarterback Chris Coyer was hit and fumbled that was recovered by Maryland defensive end A.J. Francis at their own 45 yard line. Later in the drive Temple linebacker Olaniyi Adewole recovered a Maryland fumble that resulted in a game tying field goal by Senior kicker Brandon McManus leveling the game at 3.
Early in the second quarter Maryland Freshman quarterback Perry Hills threw the first touchdown pass of his career connecting with tight end Matt Furstenburg for a 22 yard score. With over eight and a half minutes remaining in the quarter Maryland started another drive. With 2nd and 7 from their own 41 yard line Hills pass to full back Tyler Cierski fell incomplete, but a personal foul called on Temple defensive end Sean Daniels gave Maryland a first down at the 44 yard line of the Owls. Two plays later Hills completed a 32 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marcus Leak and a 17 – 3 lead. On the ensuing Temple possession with a 2nd and 9 from their 20, the snap sailed over the head of Coyer and dribbled into the endzone. Coyer recovered, but it was a safety giving Maryland a 19 – 3 edge.
The Terrapins closed out the quarter with a 7 play, 56 yard drive in 2:49 when Hills from the Temple 11 picked up a fumbled snap and ran in for a touchdown with 2:34 on the clock. Maryland took a 26 – 3 lead into the locker room.
Temple looked out of synch, could not run the ball, dropped passes, and made mistakes. The Owls generated 34 yards of offense, 6 on the ground, and fumbled 4 times losing 2. Temple came up empty 6 times on 3rd Down Conversions while Maryland converted 3 of 7. Brown missed a large part of the game with injury and Montel Harris was unavailable.
“We were playing sloppy and we didn’t come out as fired up as we should have been,” said Coyer. “We came out very slow.”
“Anytime you have a turnover it can kill you. It’s hard to win a game when you have three turnovers and one of them being a safety.”
Then came the third quarter.
“We have to move the ball downfield,” said Addazio on what he told the team at halftime. “We are down too many points. Throw it down the field. That was one thing for the offense. For the defense, we had to get off the field on third down. Also, we needed energy and passion; We are the ones that created that adversity.”
Temple recovered a Maryland fumble at the Terps 25 yard line and converted the turnover into a 1 yard touchdown run by Sophomore running back Kenneth Harper making the score 26 – 10. After Craddock made a field goal that hit the left upright and bounced through, Temple answered with a 62 yard touchdown pass from Coyer to Senior wide receiver C.J. Hammond cutting the Maryland lead to 29 – 17 with 5:17 remaining in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter Temple made another
mistake that hindered their chances. At the Maryland 23 yard line another bad snap recovered by Brown pushed the Owls back to the 41 yard line of the Terps. Temple got back into field goal range. McManus made a 40 yard field goal with 13:46 remaining in the game. After a Maryland punt Temple drove the 6 yard line. McManus attempted a 38 yard field goal that was blocked by Francis. With just over 8 minutes to play Maryland punt returner Wes Brown was hit by Red-shirt Freshman Nate Smith and lost the ball. Adewole recovered the fumble at their 49 yard line. That started a 3 play 51 yard drive capped by a 35 yard touchdown pass from Coyer to Sophomore wide receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick. With 7:04 Temple crawled to within 29 -27, and had momentum on their side. That was as close as the Owls would come.
Maryland put the game away with an 11 play, 75 yard drive in 4:21. Running back Justus Pickett ran the ball in from 7 yards out to give Maryland their final margin of victory. Chances for Temple ended when Coyer was intercepted by Hartsfield.
“They played harder,” said McManus. “They came out from the get-go and we came out lackadaisical. They out it to us in the first half, and it’s hard to come back from a deficit like that.”
Temple ended with 230 yards of offense, 178 through the air. However, the Owls lost two fumbles and intercepted once. Temple was 4 of 15 Third-Down Conversions, and committed 7 penalties for 72 yards. The mistakes doomed Temple, but showed the ability to stay in contention. Addazio said his team could build off that, but could let the trend continue.
“I thought our kids battled,” said Addazio. “They came in at halftime … banded together and I thought they had great energy and passion in the second half and that we had a great opportunity to win the game. As I look at it, there are certainly no silver linings besides a young football team that came back, battled, scratched and juiced together to give us a chance to win a football game. You can build on that piece, a group of young guys that really clawed.”
Temple is 1 – 1 and has a week off before taking on Penn State in State College. Two weeks to correct the errors, heal, and build up the strong points.
Written By: Glenn Papazian