Playing the waiting game

The Temple football team, will have to wait until next year to try to once again to break a now 73-year-drought against Penn State. The Owls will have to wait two more weeks to take another shot at becoming bowl eligible. Penn State pulled away in the second half for a 30-13 victory.

The Temple football team, will have to wait until next year to try to once again to break a now 73-year-drought against Penn State.

The Owls will have to wait two more weeks to take another shot at becoming bowl eligible. Penn State pulled away in the second half for a 30-13 victory Saturday thanks in part to five Temple turnovers., denying the Owls their first victory over their in-state opponent since 1941 and a sixth win that would have made them bowl eligible a year after a 2-10 season.

It was the second straight loss for the Owls – they fell to Memphis on a last-second field goal last Friday – since a win over nationally-ranked East Carolina put them a win away from bowl eligibility.

Temple is now 5-5 and has two more chances to win the sixth game that would earn it a chance to be picked for a bowl – Nov. 29 in the home finale at Lincoln Financial Field against Cincinnati (6-3) and Dec. 6 in the regular-season finale at Tulane (3-7).

Sophomore quarterback P.J. Walker’s struggles continued on Saturday, probably the most concerning aspect of the frustrating game. He finished 17-of-38 for 187 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

The Nittany Lions took a 6-3 lead into the half but the Owls turned Tyler Matakevich’s interception into a game-tying field goal early in the third quarter.

But an Akeel Lynch (130 yards) 38-yard touchdown run on the next drive put Penn State back ahead, and a Walker interception which was returned by Adrian Amos to the Owls’ 8 set up Bill Belton’s touchdown run to make it 20-6.

Walker followed up with a 75-yard TD strike to Jalen Fitzpatrick, who caught four passes for 113 yards despite being on crutches earlier in the week, to make it a one-score game. But Walker was intercepted two more times with the ball and a chance to tie, the last one which Grant Haley returned for a clinching touchdown.

Matakevich, as usual, led the way on defense with 13 tackles, two for loss, in addition to his first interception of the year.

The positive for the Owls is they have a bye week coming up to rest an injury-riddled team and prepare for the Bearcats. And they remain in solid position to become bowl eligible for the first time in three years.

If the Owls were honest with themselves before the season, they would have gladly taken a 5-5 record with two weeks to go, needing one win to wrap up bowl eligibility.

As for beating Penn State? Their next chance at that will come on Sept. 5, 2015.

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