Owls unable to shake off interception in first road loss of the season

Penalties, dropped passes, and failure to stop the run just too much for Temple Football to overcome in its third loss of the season,

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Anthony Russo hands off to senior running back Ryquell Armstead in Temple's 31-17 win over Tulsa on Sept. 20 at Lincoln Financial Field | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University held an eight-point lead late in the second quarter against Power Five opponent Boston College. The Owls’ would allow the lead — and eventually the game — to slip through their fingers.

In his third consecutive start, redshirt-sophomore quarterback Anthony Russo threw for 127 yards in the first 23 minutes on the way to a 21-13 advantage, before one mistake stunted the Owls’ momentum.

With just over five minutes left in the second quarter, Russo threw a short pass intended for redshirt sophomore receiver Freddie Johnson.  The pass bounced off Johnson’s hands into the palms of Eagles junior defensive back Hamp Cheevers.

That interception changed the dynamic of the game, giving Boston College all the momentum to go on and score 18 points unanswered to finish out the first half. The Eagles held onto that momentum through the end of the 45-35 win over Temple on Saturday.

Redshirt-sophomore running back A.J. Dillon ran for a 52-yard touchdown on Boston College’s ensuing drive. After a two point conversion by the Eagles, the game was tied at 21 with four minutes and 25 seconds left in the half.

On Temple’s next drive, Russo threw his second interception on the second play. It was returned to Temple’s 9-yard line to set Boston College in position to take the lead.

A short, two-yard touchdown by Dillon would give the Eagles a 28-21 lead. The Owls’ offense went three-and-out following the touchdown and gave Boston College the ball back at the Temple 35-yard line. Boston College then drove 26 yards to tack on a field goal, 20 seconds before halftime.

After carrying a 31-21 lead into halftime, Boston College recovered a fumble by Russo and scored on their following offensive drive to take a 38-21 lead.

Senior running back Ryquell Armstead kept Temple in the game by scoring four touchdowns for the first time in his career. Armstead scored a 75-yard touchdown for the Owls as the first score of the game.

When trailing by 17, Temple quickly answered back with two touchdowns from Armstead to cut Boston College’s lead to three with nine minutes left in the game.

Dillon left the game in the beginning of the third quarter with an ankle injury. Backup running back Ben Glines finished the game strong for the Eagles. Dillon had 161 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. Glines ran for 120 on 23 carries and a one-yard touchdown to give Boston College the 45-35 lead with 3:11 remaining in the game.

Glines score gave Boston College their fourth win of the season, and the Owls’ their third loss.

The Owls had multiple opportunities to rally back and take the lead but fell short on a handful of drives.

The Owls look to get back to .500 on Saturday, as they take on East Carolina at Lincoln Financial Field in their second conference game of the season.

Defensive performance

Temple’s defense had a performance reminiscent of their first two games. The Owls recorded no sacks and only one quarterback hurry. Boston College converted 10 of 22 third downs, including three of five fourth downs.

Boston College ran the football 66 times for 275 yards, finding the endzone twice.

Starting redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Dan Archibong had to make his first start at defensive end this season due to injury concerns at the position. Linebackers were able to make up for it with their tackling. Linebackers junior Shaun Bradley and redshirt sophomore Isaiah Graham-Mobley had 11 tackles a piece, Bradley added 1.5 tackles for a loss.

Video replay

Boston College struck first eight minutes into the first quarter, when redshirt-sophomore quarterback Anthony Brown hit graduate student tight end Tommy Sweeney for a seven-yard touchdown.

The score came moments after senior safety Delvon Randall intercepted a Brown pass, but Temple didn’t gain possession because officials overruled their initial call after determining Randall did not have full possession of the football.

Two Temple players were ejected for targeting during Temple’s 45-35 loss. After Russo’s second interception, graduate tight end Chris Myarick was disqualified for targeting after tackling senior defensive back Taj-Amir Torres.

On Boston College’s second drive of the second-half, graduate safety Jyquis Thomas was penalized for targeting after tackling senior wide receiver Michael Walker. Thomas would subsequently be ejected.

Thomas will miss the first-half of Temple’s next game.

Special teams score again

Temple scored their fifth touchdown by the way of defense or special teams in as many games.

On the kickoff following Armstead’s first touchdown, the officials flagged Temple for an offsides penalty, but instead of taking the penalty, Boston College opted for a re-kick.

The Eagles choice worked in the Owls’ favor. Redshirt-senior fullback Rob Ritrovato forced a fumble on the re-kick, and redshirt-sophomore linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley scooped up the football and found the end zone to give Temple a 14-7 lead in the first quarter.

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