Sixth Sense

The Temple football team finally won a tight game in the fourth quarter and it couldn't have come at a better time. The Owls beat Miami (Ohio), 24-21, in a nationally-televised game on Wednesday night to become bowl eligible for the third straight year and stayed alive in the race for the Mid-American Conference East Division title. Temple improves to 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the MAC.

The Temple football team finally won a tight game in the fourth quarter and it couldn't have come at a better time.

The Owls beat Miami (Ohio), 24-21, in a nationally-televised game on Wednesday night to become bowl eligible for the third straight year and stayed alive in the race for the Mid-American Conference East Division title.

Temple improves to 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the MAC, while Miami dropped to 4-6, 3-3. The Owls' previous five victories had all come by over 30 points but they were 0-3 in games decided by four points or less.

"At some point in every season there are those games you have to win, down players and everything else we found a way to win that football game," said Temple head coach Steve Addazio. "It might not mean that much to you, but to me that's a marker, a marker you have to have."

The Owls started the game missing four starters – running back Bernard Pierce, center John Palumbo, cornerback Anthony Robey and tight end Matt Balasavage. Addazio noted several players were declared unable to play minutes before the game and Pierce – the second-leading touchdown scorer in the FBS who had battled head and hamstring injuries – went through a full warmup.

"Given some of the things that went on prior to the game, with guys all of a sudden not playing and everything else last minute, I'm proud of the way the kids battled," said Addazio. "I'm not going to get into it right now, but I got confronted 10 minutes before the game with three, four guys not playing. I don't have all the facts, but I'm going to dive into it and get all the facts. We had a whole plan, and the playsheet changed quick.

"I don't get involved with that stuff. Tell me who's ready to roll and I'm rolling. Obviously there were guys who had issues, medical issues. Our medical team is the best in the country, and when they say we have guys we got them, and when they say we don't, I don't question it. It's disruptive. But it's no one's fault, it's the way it is."

Miami‘s Nick Harwell caught 15 balls for 229 yards and quarterback Zac Dysert threw for 364 yards and three touchdowns, but the Owls sacked him seven times and recorded two key interceptions and three turnovers overall. The first interception came from defensive end Adrian Robinson, who avoided a cut block and picked a pass from Dysert out of the air at the 23, then rumbled down to the 9 in the second quarter.

"They tell us when they (cut your feet) get your hands up, and I knew it was a three-step (drop) and I got my hands up and did what I needed to do," said Robinson.

Owls quarterback Chris Coyer – making his first career start – went off the right side for a 9-yard run, starting and ending the five-second drive and giving Temple a 17-7 lead going into the half.

Miami made it a field goal game when Dysert hit Chris Givens for a 25-yard score late in the third quarter, but with the RedHawks driving for the potential go-ahead touchdown, sophomore cornerback Zamel Johnson intercepted a pass which Givens tipped into the air as he tried to haul in a third-down throw in Temple territory.

Johnson returned the interception 53 yards to the Miami 30 before Dysert made a touchdown-saving tackle with 33 seconds left in the third quarter.

"I was just trying to get as close to (Givens) as possible and I saw he tipped it and the ball was there, I just grabbed it," said Johnson. "I was so close (to scoring). I felt like the quarterback came out of nowhere."

Coyer completed a big third down pass to get the Owls in the red zone, then running back Matt Brown bailed him out recovering a fumble after the quarterback coughed the ball up at the 3 after a short run. Brown went in from two yards out on the next play to give the Owls a 24-14 lead.

"Right place at the right time, just happy I was there," said Brown, who ran 24 times for 123 yards.

Robinson, who along with fellow end Morkeith Brown posted two sacks, jumped offside with Miami punting from its own territory and facing a fourth-and-5 with under six minutes to go and the Owls leading by 10.

The penalty gave the RedHawks a new set of downs and Dysert quickly moved the ball down the field, hitting Harwell over the middle for a 14-yard score with 3:57 to play.

"Oh my gosh, don't even talk about it," said Robinson. "I was trying to get it, that's all. It was terrible. I'm going to get ripped for it, but I'll take it all because we won."

Robinson could joke about his miscue because Miami never got the ball back after the Owls' offense, backed by Brown, ran out the clock. Brown clinched the game with a 9-yard run on third-and-7.

"You see Matt Brown at the end of the game, that guy was a warrior in that game," said Addazio. "He took about every snap, returned kicks, returned punts. The offensive line rocked off that ball, it was a hell of a deal."

Coyer ran 16 times for 97 yards and a touchdown – he and Brown were the only ballcarriers – and was 10-of-19 for 92 yards and a score. He had a few passes he'd like to have back as he overthrew a couple open receivers, but he is 1-0 as a starter.

"It was a real team win and we won it in all phases," said Coyer. "They were a tough team to play and thankfully we came out with a win. We need to win the rest of the season to accomplish some of our goals. It was absolutely a huge win for us."

Owls Daily Top Stories