Temple played catch-up all game in its 20-13 loss against Houston.
On their final drive, the Owls had a chance to tie the game or take the lead, but redshirt-sophomore quarterback Logan Marchi’s Hail-Mary pass was intercepted by junior safety Garrett Davis as time expired.
Two plays prior to Marchi’s interception, sophomore Isaiah Wright hauled in a pass, but he burned about 10 seconds as he attempted to get out of bounds.
“You catch it, you get upfield and you get the first down, the clock stops and you spike it,” Marchi said. “But Isaiah’s a great player and he made plays for us all game and that’s not the play that lost us the game. I threw two picks, we had some dropped balls. So you can’t put that on Isaiah, but that’s a teaching moment.”
Houston led 13-0 at halftime. Sophomore running back D’Eriq King had a 13-yard touchdown run on a reverse midway through the first quarter.
Senior dual-threat quarterback Kyle Postma had success on the ground and through the air. He led Houston with 81 rushing yards and completed 25-of-36 passes for one touchdown and an interception. His lone touchdown pass went for nine yards to senior wideout Linell Bonner in the third quarter.
In his fifth start, Marchi completed 20 of his 43 attempts for 182 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions including the final play of the game.
Marchi said Temple got off to a slow start offensively in the first half. Temple’s first six drives either resulted in a punt or turnover. Sophomore defensive tackle Ed Oliver, a 2016 All-American, left the game with an undisclosed injury in the first quarter.
The Owls couldn’t establish a rhythm offensively until the second half.
Late in the third quarter, Temple capped off an 11-play, 85-yard drive with a touchdown by redshirt-junior running back David Hood. On fourth-and-goal, Marchi ran to his right with Hood toward the outside. He held the ball as long as he could before he made a short forward pitch to Hood.
It was the Owls’ first offensive touchdown since Wright’s one-handed touchdown reception against the University of Massachusetts on Sept. 15.
“Logan, he held the D-end long,” Hood said. “I already knew once he held him long and he committed he was going to pitch it to me [and] it was a touchdown. We practice that so much it was inevitable.”
Hood and junior running back Ryquell Armstead each had gains that went for more than 10 yards on the drive, including a 20-yard run by Armstead that put Temple in the red zone. Overall, Hood carried the ball eight times for 53 yards, and Armstead gained 63 yards on 14 carries.
Wright ran the ball through the wildcat formation, especially early in the game. He carried the ball for eight yards on six carries. He converted on two third-down run plays.
The Owls gained a season-high 142 rushing yards against the Cougars. But they did it without junior running back Jager Gardner, who is out for the season with a knee injury as first reported by WHIP Radio’s Tom Hanslin.
“There’s a lot of positive things that are there,” offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude said. “When you look at it and then you say, ‘Hey, we scored 13 points,’ it’s really frustrating and it’s hard for me to wrap my head around, but I really have to look at the positive side of it as we continue to build off what we did in the second half.”
Temple lost sophomore linebacker Shaun Bradley due to a targeting penalty in the first quarter. Sophomore linebacker William Kwenkeu replaced Bradley after he was disqualified.
Kwenkeu had a team-high eight tackles in the contest.
Coach Geoff Collins said it was the most snaps Kwenkeu played all season.
Temple left points on the board early in the game. The Owls started their first drive at the 50-yard line and moved down the field to set up first-and-goal at the 7-yard line. Two plays later, Marchi scrambled and lost 24 yards on a sack, which took the Owls out of field-goal range.
“Football is a simple game in a sense,” redshirt-senior offensive lineman Adrian Sullivan said. “You’ve got to score when you’re in the red zone. …That really hurts you, so we’ve just got to get better on the self-inflicted stuff. Temple can’t beat Temple, then we’ll just be fine. You see how good we can be when we play our brand of football. I think that was definitely on showcase today.”