PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/23/2012 – Both the Temple Owls and the Orange of Syracuse wrapped up their regular season football schedule. Syracuse will continue while Temple will not. One thing is for sure, it was the last game Syracuse will play in the Big East Conference as the Orange will move to the ACC next season. Temple wanted to give their opponent a not so pleasant going away gift. The Owls competed with the Orange, but back to back Syracuse touchdowns late in the third quarter and early in the fourth proved to be the difference as Syracuse wins 38 – 20 in thier conference finale.
Breaks have gone against Temple in bunches. This has happened during the season. Temple Coach Steve Addazio sees the team growing and learning from these experiences.
“We got a little unglued again,” Addazio said. “We had those two back to back drives and what happens is it has a lot to do with the youth of our team. We have hard time sometimes with the responding of that, we just get off kilter. If you look at our season, that is what happens to us, we get those quick back to back drives and we have to respond better. But honestly that comes with experience, that’s what that is, were fine, it’s not of competition it’s just experience.”
Syracuse was able to get enough offense when they needed it. Addazio lauded the Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib and the offensive line as a great offensive unit. The Orange got some offensive mementum due to their ability to convert third and longs. Overall, Syracuse was successful on 10 of 17 Third Down Conversions.
“We kept fighting, and made big plays, said Temple Linebacker Tyler Matakevich who had a game-high 14 tackles, 13 solo. “We were trying to do everything we possibly could to keep them out of the end zone.”
The Owls would get off to a good start scoring the first ten points of the game on a field goal by Senior kicker Brandon McManus, and a touchdown pass from Junior quarterback “Juice” Granger to Red-shirt Freshman Jay Christopher. However. Syracuse answered with two touchdowns. Quarterback and West Chester native Ryan Nassib found wide receiver Marcus Sales for a 24 yard touchdown, then running back Adonis Aimeen-Moore ran 18 yards for a touchdown. The teams matched field goals allowing the Orange to take a 17 – 14 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter Granger completed a 45 yard pass to Senior wide receive C.J. Hammond setting up Temple at the 10 yard line of the Orange. Granger covered the rest of the yards to cap a 4 play, 67 yard drive in 1:56 to move back in front 20 – 17. That was the last lead for the Owls. Aimeen-Moore took the ball across the line to give Syracuse a 24 – 20 lead at the 4:28 mark of the third quarter.
The Orange took control of the game in the fourth as running back Prince-Tyson Gulley scored on a 3 yard touchdown, then defensive back Keon Lyn returned an interception 31 yard for the final score of the game.
“It was a game where we made some plays in the end and were able to win,” Syracuse Coach Dough Marrone said. “I think it is a great win for these kids. They have come so far and gone through so much, and I think that has a lot to say about their character and pride.”
After a record-setting performance against Army Senior running back Montel Harris ran for 106 yards. In his season at Temple Harris eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing mark gaining 1,054 on the ground this year. It will be his only season at Temple, but he has earned the respect of his coaches and teammates.
“There is a veteran guy, the way he handles his business, you’re dealing with a man,” Addazio said in praise of Harris. “We really enjoyed having him. I think he set some good leadership for some of the younger guys to follow, how to conduct yourself.”
Senior kicker Barndon McManus ended his career as the all-time leading scorer in school history with 338 points.
Granger ran for 61 yards, and completed 16 of 23 passes for 173 yards with 2 interceptions. Hammond caught 2 passes for 64 yards. As a team Temple had 340 yards of offense. Syracuse had 475 yards of offense. Running back Jerome Smith had 96 yards on 20 carries. Gulley ran for 83, and Ameen-Moore totaled 57 with 2 touchdowns. Nassib completede 16 of 28 passes for 215 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Wide receiver Alec Lemon caight 5 of the passes for 74 yards.
Temple ends their season. The Owls returned to the Big East winning two conference games against five losses. Addazio wanted to go to a bowl, but he still seesa bright future for the program.
“With all of the adversity we had, we never backed off,” said Addazio. “We dipped, but we never backed off. I see good things in the making.”
The next Temple football game is August 31 at Notre Dame.
Written By: Glenn Papazian