COLLEGE PARK, Md.–Temple found out this past weekend that mistakes kill football teams.
The Owls committed 15 penalties in their match-up against Maryland for 99 yards worth of penalty yardage. All of the penalties and mistakes finally caught up to the team deep in the fourth quarter, resulting in a 17-10 loss to the Terrapins.
With just over four minutes to go in the game the Terrapins fumbled a snap and Temple got the ball inside Maryland territory.
It looked like the Temple (1-1, 0-0 Big East) offense would be able to redeem itself from a game full of off-sides and other penalties.
Quarterback Devin Scott faked a handoff and threw a pass to Owls’ receiver Greg Muckerson. Muckerson (5 receptions, 45 yards) tipped the ball into the air and into the hands of Maryland’s Shawn Forte for an interception.
That mistake was just one of many that will haunt the Owls when they look back at their loss to Maryland.
After a first drive that saw three consecutive false starts called against the Owls offensive line, Temple was consistently snake-bitten by avoidable mistakes. In the first half alone, Temple was called for 54 yards worth of penalty yardage.
“That cost us,” linebacker LeVar Talley said. “Penalties cost us the whole game. If we cut them out then the game is that much closer if not a definite win. We’re just going to have to work on that.”
On Temple’s next possession, the Owls put up one of their best offensive drives of the game.
After Temple recovered a Terrapin fumble on its own four-yard line, starting quarterback Devin Scott hit Sean Dillard (7 receptions, 121 yards) for a 38-yard pass play and then Tyrone Ditzel on a 17-yard slant.
“We had a lot of young guys on the (offensive line) and this is their first time,” Scott said. “They’re doing an outstanding job.”
Scott rebounded from a sack to find Dillard once again open for 11 yards. But the reception was not enough to offset the loss of yardage from the sack. Cap Poklemba finished the drive with a 41-yard field goal.
The first Maryland touchdown of the game was set up by another costly Owl penalty.
Terrapins quarterback Shaun Hill drove Maryland into Temple territory with 18 yards on the drive. From the 11-yard line, Hill threw an incomplete pass to Jeff Dugan in the end zone, but Temple safety Jamal Wallace wrapped him up and was called for pass interference.
The ‘Terps got the ball on the two-yard line and Heisman trophy Jordan ran the ball into the end zone untouched.
Maryland led 7-3 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Maryland’s Calvin McCall relieved Hill at quarterback and hooked up with wideout Scooter Monroe for a 51-yard pass that took the ‘Terps to the Temple 23.
McCall then found Dugan for a 16-yard pass. Jordan capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run to give Maryland a 14-3 lead.
Temple’s defense, a few mistakes aside, did its job almost to perfection.
The Owls held Jordan to 62 yards rushing on 22 attempts. His two biggest rushes were both 19 yards. Temple actually held Jordan to negative yardage in the third quarter.
“That’s nice that he’s a Heisman candidate,”Talley said. “I commend him and hope he does well, but he’s just another person.”
Scott had an outstanding day, passing for 336 yards on 25-of-34.
The Temple offense, thanks to Scott, outperformed Maryland by almost 200 yards. Temple had 443 yards of total offense while the ‘Terps had only 254.
Tanardo Sharps (20 carries, 80 yards), last week’s Big East offensive player of the week, was a victim of the Maryland defense, though, as he saw a drop from last week’s 180-yard performance against Navy.
“We lost the game,” Scott said. “We just have to get our heads straight and get ready for Bowling Green. Everybody in the world sees that we have a better football team than we’ve had in a long time.
“We’re gonna keep moving, we’re not going to stop here because we lost.”
The Owls take on Bowling Green in their home opener next Saturday at Franklin Field at 6 p.m.