The Temple Owls opened a big home game with a touchdown drive, but the UCF Knights are the ones smiling at halftime with a 28-21 lead in Philadelphia.
Temple quarterback Anthony Russo tossed the first of his two first-half touchdowns to Randle Jones for a 32-yard score on the opening possession of the game, but UCF answered by scoring the next 21 points on their first four offensive series. That included a 48-yard touchdown run by Adrian Killins on the first snap of one drive and a 99-yard drive that needed just six plays to go end-to-end. UCF quarterback Darriel Mack Jr. passed for and run for a touchdown in the half.
Down 21-7, Temple did get a big offensive play to get back in the end zone when Russo found Branden Mack down the left sideline for a deep pass. After separating himself from his defender, Mack dashed down the sideline for a 75-yard strike.
Temple cut into the UCF leads a little more in the last minute of the half with a Jager Gardner extending the ball over the goal line. But UCF has the touchdown lead and will get the ball to start the second half.
What’s at stake in Philadelphia is sole possession of second place in the AAC East Division. Both teams are one game behind Cincinnati in the division. Cincinnati has already defeated the Knights and won’t face Temple until the next-to-last game of the season. Both teams have one loss in conference play and need to manage to keep pace with the Bearcats. This is especially true for UCF, who needs a little more help from Cincinnati’s opponents if they are to defend their conference championship.
The first two weeks of the 2019 season saw Maryland putting up points at an incredible pace, but none of that seemed to matter Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia. No. 21 Maryland (2-1) suffered the first loss of the Mike Locksley era in a 20-17 setback against Temple (2-0) in a game that saw Maryland unable to score any points inside the 10-yard line despite having multiple opportunities. Multiple goal-line stands and fourth down stops by Temple’s energized defense were the key to a big victory for the Owls.
While neither team really had much to be proud of on offense, Temple quarterback Anthony Russo turned in a fine day on the box score with 277 passing yards and three touchdowns. That included a 79-yard pass to Jaden Blue just two plays after Maryland took its first lead of the game in the third quarter to retake the lead. But the story of the game was the defense, who shut down Maryland time and time from start to finish to frustrate a Terrapins offense that had scored close to 100 points in the first half of their first two games, only to score two points before halftime on Saturday. Maryland certainly had their chances, but far too many points were left on the field despite knocking on the doorstep.
Neither team was effective on third downs in the game. It took a combined 16 failed third-down conversions before Maryland converted back-to-back third downs late in the first half. But the teams then combined for 8-of-35 on third down. Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson was off the mark all afternoon, completing 15 of 38 passes for 183 yards. Temple wasn’t able to slow down Anthony McFarland on the ground (163 yards) but they did stuff the Maryland running game when it counted the most.
The hits piled up for Maryland too as offensive lineman Terrance Davis left the game with a lower-body injury. He was helped off the field after appearing to have his left leg rolled on by a defender at the end of a play, and he returned to the Maryland sideline in street clothes.
Maryland will get the next week off to prepare for their Big Ten opener. The Terps host Penn State on Friday, Sept. 27. The Nittany Lions, who have dominated the all-time series, will also be coming off a bye week after facing Pittsburgh in State College this afternoon. Because Maryland lost to Temple, the chance of seeing both Penn State and Maryland ranked in the same game for the first time since 1985 was wiped out.
Temple will hit the road next week to play at Buffalo. Buffalo defeated Temple in the season opener in 2018, 36-29, snapping a three-game winning streak by the Owls in the series.
And now for a quarterback award watch list that won’t include a certain starting quarterback form Clemson or Alabama. The Johnny Unitas Foundation has released the watch list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually to college football’s top senior or fourth-year quarterback. This year’s watch list includes some recognizable names such as Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Oregon’s Justin Herbert.
Former Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew was named the winner of the award in 2018. Just one finalist for the 2018 award is on the watch list this season. Michigan’s Shea Patterson is that player (UCF’s McKenzie Milton was a finalist last year but is not expected to play this season despite still being at UCF as he recovers from his season-ending injury from late in 2018).
Other past winners include Deshaun Watson (2016), Marcus Mariota (2014), Andrew Luck (2011), Matt Ryan (2007), Eli Manning (2003), Carson Palmer (2002) and Peyton Manning (1997).
2019 Golden Arm Award Watch List Presented by A. O. Smith
- Jack Abraham, Southern Mississippi
- Blake Barnett, University of South Florida
- Woody Barrett, Kent State
- Jake Bentley, University of South Carolina
- Anthony Brown, Boston College
- Kelly Bryant, Missouri
- Joe Burrow, LSU
- Stephen Buckshot Calvert, Liberty
- Marcus Childers, Northern Illinois
- K.J. Costello, Stanford Unversity
- Jacob Eason, Washington University
- Caleb Evans, University of Louisiana Monroe
- Mason Fine, North Texas
- Feleipe Franks, University of Florida
- Mitchell Guadagni, Toledo
- Jarrett Guarantano, University of Tennessee
- Gage Gubrud, Washington State University
- Quentin Harris, Duke University
- Justin Herbert, University of Oregon
- Kelvin Hopkins, Jr., Army
- Tyler Huntley, University of Utah
- Jalen Hurts, University of Oklahoma
- Josh Jackson, University of Maryland
- D’Eriq King, Houston
- Brian Lewerke, Michigan State University
- Jordan Love, Utah State University
- Jake Luton, Oregon State University
- Cole McDonald, University of Hawaii
- Justin McMillan, Tulane
- Steven Montez, University of Colorado
- James Morgan, FIU
- Riley Neal, Vanderbilt University
- Kato Nelson, Akron
- Shea Patterson, University of Michigan
- Bryce Perkins, University of Virginia
- Malcolm Perry, Navy
- Peyton Ramsey, Indiana University
- Armani Rogers, UNLV
- Nathan Rourke, Ohio
- Anthony Russo, Temple University
- J’Mar Smith, Louisiana Tech
- Nate Stanley, University of Iowa
- Dillon Sterling-Cole, Arizona State University
- Khalil Tate, University of Arizona
- Zac Thomas, Appalachian State University
- Skylar Thompson, Kansas State
- Brady White, University of Memphis
- Ryan Willis, Virginia Tech
- Brandon Wimbush, University of Central Florida
Despite playing a bowl game with an interim head coach, the Temple Owls have a lead in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl against the Duke Blue Devils. Temple’s defense has picked off a pair of passes that have led to 13 points for Temple as the Owls lead Duke 27-21 at halftime in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Duke starting quarterback Daniel Jones has plenty of NFL eyes on him in this game, and an early 62-yard pass on the first offensive series certainly racked up some yardage early on. But Jones left the game on that first series and was replaced by Quentin Harris, who ended the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. After the Owls tied the game with a touchdown run from quarterback Anthony Russo, Harris continued to lead the Duke offense on the ensuing possession after Jones took the first few snaps. Harris was intercepted on the drive by Delvon Randall, who returned the pick 52 yards for a go-ahead touchdown for the Owls.
Jones did return to the game and has passed for 199 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Blue Devils. That includes a perfectly placed ball into the hands of T.J. Rahming for a late touchdown in the second quarter. It was the fourth straight offensive possession for a touchdown between the two teams.
After a rough day of bowl action on Wednesday, we could be getting our Thursday schedule off to a fun start in the Independence Bowl.
How No. 20 Cincinnati (6-1, 2-1 AAC) suffered their first loss of the season was pretty remarkable to watch unfold. With a 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati intercepted Temple (5-3, 4-0 AAC) twice to seemingly thwart any upset bid by the Owls, but Temple scored a touchdown in the final minute of regulation and then scored first in overtime before sealing the game with their own interception. Temple’s 24-17 win over Cincinnati helps keep the Owls in contention for a bowl berth.
After having each of the last two drives end with an interception, including one inside the red zone, Anthony Russo completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Branden Mack with 49 seconds to play.
The game-tying touchdown came after Cincinnati went three-and-out following the red zone interception. The Bearcats picked up just four yards after the interception, giving the Owls the ball back with a little more than two minutes to play. It was the fifth-straight offensive possession where Cincinnati failed to pick up a first down after taking a 17-10 lead (four punts, one turnover on downs). The offensive ineptitude for Cincinnati continued in the second half.
After Russo connected for the go-ahead touchdown to Isaiah Wright on 3rd and 10 from the 25-yard line, Cincinnati recovered a fumble for a loss of 11 yards that had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty tacked on for a 3rd and 36 situation. Desmond Ridder was picked off on the play, giving Temple the win and get the last laugh.
Temple’s chances to go to a bowl game are still alive, although the upcoming schedule is a challenge. Temple needs two more wins, which likely means Temple will have to win one of their next three games before a road trip to UConn in order for that to happen. Temple gets a week off to prepare for a road trip to UCF, which is followed by a road game at Houston and then a home game against South Florida.
That upcoming schedule for Temple also means Cincinnati should not be written off in the AAC East either. If Temple loses two games, then Cincinnati has a chance to make their own run with games against SMU, Navy, South Florida, UCF, and East Carolina all remaining. Cincinnati will play at home against South Florida on November 10 and then at UCF the following week. Going 2-0 in those games may be mandatory for Cincinnati to have a shot at the AAC championship and a possible New Years Six bowl spot that could come with it.