With four minutes and 53 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and Maryland facing a fourth and goal, Maryland redshirt-junior quarterback Josh Jackson handed the ball off to redshirt sophomore running back Anthony Mcfarland who was tackled in the backfield by senior linebacker Shaun Bradley.
Bradley’s tackle preserved a 20-15 Owls lead. Maryland was given good field position because a punt by sophomore punter Adam Berry only traveled seven yards.
Temple University football (2-0, 0-0 the American) defeated the University of Maryland (2-1, 0-0 The Big Ten), 20-17, at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday afternoon.
Maryland came in averaging 71 points after putting up 79 points against Howard University and 63 against Syracuse University in weeks one and two. However, Temple’s defense was able to hold the Terrapins to just 17 points.
Temple’s defense started off well by sacking Jackson twice on the first drive and recording an interception by junior cornerback Harrison Hand.
Redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo proceeded to move the Owls down the field and connected with senior wide receiver Isaiah Wright on a 29-yard touchdown reception.
After forcing a three and out, Maryland’s punt hit the arm of redshirt-junior cornerback Freddie Johnson, resulting in a fumble. Maryland senior cornerback Antoine Brooks recovered the ball at Temple’s 26-yard line and took it five more yards to the 19-yard line.
Throughout the rest of the first half, the Temple defense gave Maryland fits.
“That is the best defense in the country,” freshman running back Re’ Mahn Davis said. “I’m saying it. Everyone should be saying it. We have the best defense in the country.”
Redshirt-sophomore defensive tackle Ifeanyi Maijeh had two sacks in the first half. Maijeh and redshirt-junior defensive end Quincy Roche were in the backfield often, forcing Jackson to scramble and make difficult throws.
Midway through the third quarter, the Maryland offense finally broke through. McFarland helped move the offense down the field. Eleven plays later, he scored from four yards out to take a 9-7 lead.
The Temple offense was struggling at this point. Russo only had 108 passing yards in the first half, and Temple only had 66 rushing yards on Saturday.
On the Owls’ second drive of the second half, Russo connected on a 79-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jadan Blue, putting Temple ahead 13-9 with eight minutes and 14 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
“He had trust in me and just threw me the ball,” Blue said. “That’s all it was. After that, it was a touchdown.”
Blue finished with five catches for 132 yards and one touchdown. He now has back-to-back 100-yard receiving games for the first time in his Temple career.
Temple was able to force a quick three-and-out afterward. After a pass interference call on Maryland that put Temple inside Maryland territory, Russo was intercepted by sophomore linebacker Chance Campbell.
“It was just poor timing on that one,” Carey said. “He’s got to keep growing. He did not play his best game, but we still won. You just go ahead and build off those things and the decision making will get better.”
Maryland moved down the field, and Jackson was able to connect with graduate tight end Tyler Mabry for a touchdown. Roche blocked the extra point to keep the Maryland lead at 15-13.
Just as Temple was moving down the field on their next possession, Maryland recovered a fumble by senior running back Jager Gardner.
Maryland went three and out again and punted back to Temple. The Owls proceeded to put together a 14 play, 76 yard drive, allowing redshirt-junior tight end Kenny Yeboah to score.
On the touchdown, Temple stacked the right side of the field, allowing Yeboah to sneak to the left side with no pressure from the defense.
Davis credited the offensive line for helping them pick up yards quickly on the drive.
“I love running behind those guys,” Davis said. “We have one of the best lines in the country. They bring a different element to our game, we wouldn’t win games without them. It starts up front and trickles down from there.”
Later, Barry sent a 33-yard punt downfield. Senior wide receiver DJ Turner took the ball and broke a tackle, switching the field and going 55 yards to the Temple four-yard line. Bradley and senior safety Benny Walls stuffed McFarlandon four straight plays, resulting in a turnover on downs.
“It was the best feeling ever,” Bradley said. “Open gap, the defensive line did their job and got downhill and pushed them back. It was like Christmas morning. That gap was a present.”
Temple held the ball, and with two seconds left on the clock and no timeouts, took a safety to end the game. Maryland had gained two points, but the clock ran out, and Temple took the 20-17 win.