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.