The Temple Owls (1-1) realized early in their contest against the Maryland Terrapins (1-1) that this was not the same team they handled 38-7 last year at Byrd Stadium.
Turnovers, penalties and blown coverages are a recipe for disaster and in the first half the Owls were preparing a huge dish. The Owls eventually cut down on the miscues and capitalized on Maryland’s mistakes to make it a game late into the 4th quarter. Dropped passes and big plays on key downs allowed the visiting Terrapins to escape with a 36-27 victory.
The Owls offense turned the ball over on its first two possessions and struggled to set up a solid run game in the first half. Maryland failed to run the ball as well but the combo of QB Perry Hills (Fr.) and wide receiver Stefon Diggs (Fr.) were able to move the chains for the visitors.
The second quarter was probably the worst in Steve Addazio’s short tenure on North Broad St. The Owls were burned on scoring pass plays of 22 and 32 yards and trailed 17-3. A safety on their ensuing possession pushed the Terrapin lead to 19-3. On the play that resulted in the safety, running back Matt Brown was injured and did not return until the third quarter.
The Terrapins would get the ball back with 5:23 remaining in the first half and would drive inside the Owls 10 yard line. The Owls would force a third and goal from their 11 yard line when Hills would run in for the score on a busted play. The play was indicative of the Owls first half of missed opportunities.
But in the second half the Owls would hit the ground running.
The defense forced a fumble that resulted in a 1 yard touchdown run by Kenny Harper. Maryland would march back into Temple territory with a 39-yard reception by Marcus Leak (3 rec. 90 yds.) and a questionable 15-yard penalty. The Owls defense would hold the Terps sputtering to three points.
In the first half the Owls only made three pass attempts for six yards, on their next offensive play quarterback Chris Coyer (7-18 for 178, 2 TDs.) would connect with C.J. Hammond on a 62-yard pass play that would cut the Terrapins lead to 29-17 heading into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter was a series of ebbs and flows as the Owls were looking to mount an epic comeback.
The Maryland turned the ball over deep into their own territory and giving the Owls an opportunity at the Terps 15. The Owls offense would stall and Maryland would block Temple’s field goal attempt — killing a golden chance for the home team to cut the lead.
Maryland would fumble on the very next play and the Owls would waste no time scoring as Chris Coyer would find Jalen Fitzpatrick for a 35-yard score that would trim the lead to 29-27.
Both teams would trade possessions before the Terps would put the game away on a 7-yard run by Justus Pickett. Chris Coyer was picked off in a last-ditch effort to get the Owls downfield for a score.
Despite his team fighting back from a horrid first half Coach Steve Addazio saw no silver lining in a game the Owls should have won. “We didn’t run the ball well at all. We had seven or eight dropped balls, altogether there were five turnovers.”
“Thats not acceptable.”
“The only positive that I thought came out of the game was that our kids battled. They came in at halftime…banded together an I thought they had great energy and great energy and passion in the second half and that we really had a great opportunity to win the game….a group of young guys really clawed.”
I asked Coach Addazio about the mood of his team after getting so far behind, fighting back and losing in the end.
“Obviously they’re crushed but they’re attentive… they realize Maryland played better than we did today. We were our own worst enemy today. They understand….I hope they understand that for different reasons we’re going to be in battles to the end. And we have to find a way to win these games in the end.
Addazio has a chance to heal up the troops physically and emotionally with a bye week before facing Penn State in two weeks in Happy Valley.