The first half of the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl was — fittingly for a game sponsored by a lawn care company — about as interesting to watch as it is to watch grass grow.
Not that it mattered to Temple head coach Geoff Collins, as the Owls took a 7-0 lead into halftime over Florida International in a meeting of two coaches in their first year with their respective programs.
A lot of that score line had to do with FIU starting quarterback Alex McGough, who left the game with what the ESPN broadcast said was a broken collarbone injury he suffered on the very first drive of the game. Backup Maurice Alexander entered in his place and did not do well throwing the ball, tossing two interceptions in the half on 4-of-11 passing while also taking a pair of sacks.
Running back Alex Gardner chipped in with 17 yards on the ground but saw a stacked box pretty much from the moment that McGough left the game.
The Panthers did well on defense to pick up the slack with two fourth down stops but still allowed Temple quarterback Frank Nutile to find some openings on his way to 97 yards passing in the half. The dual-threat signal-caller was also responsible for the game’s first points when he ran it in off a keeper and added 19 yards rushing to go with tailback David Hood‘s 31.
Needless to say, offensive adjustments will be a priority for both sides in this one as things were quite rough on that side of the ball through two quarters. The Owls were a little ahead of the sticks in that department (and hold the lead) but both sides are still in this one and looking to capture that rare postseason win at Tropicana Field once the second half rolls around.