The Temple defense shuts down Akron en route to a 30-0 win.
Make that two shutouts in a row for the Owls. After blanking Buffalo on the road last Saturday by a score of 42-0, the Owls come home to Lincoln Financial Field to shut out the Akron Zips 30-0, the team’s first back-to-back shutouts since 1971.
Nearly all of Temple’s scoring came in the second half as the Owls’ only points in the first half would come from two field goals from freshman placekicker Brandon McManus. The Zips would allow only 190 total yards on offense in the first half as they were committed to stopping the run and forcing redshirt-sophomore Mike Gerardi to beat them through the air.
“They did some really good things against us defensively,” coach Al Golden said. “They came out fired up as we knew they would, we knew they were going to play loose and aggressive.”
The closest the Zips came to getting on the scoreboard came late in the second quarter when the Zips would attempt a field goal from the Owl’s 25 yardline that was blocked by junior defensive back Kee-ayre Griffin.
“The defense making that stop before halftime [helped change the momentum].” Golden said.
The Owls would get their first touchdown early in the third quarter when Gerardi would throw a 10-yard touchdown pass to redshirt-freshman tight end Alex Jackson to give the Owls a double-digit lead that they would never look back afterwards.
Following the touchdown, junior defensive back Kevin Kroboth intercepted a pass from Akron sophomore quarterback Patrick Nicely to put the Owls at the Akron 24 yardline, which would set up a 45-yard field goal from McManus.
The Owls would then pull even farther away from the Zips on back-to-back touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. The first one came of a 24-yard reverse from junior wide receiver Rod Streater and on the next ensuing Temple drive, sophomore running back Bernard Pierce would find the endzone on a eight-yard run.
Pierce would finish the game with 107 all-purpose yards with 83 on the ground and caught two passes for 24 yards to go with his touchdown. Gerardi would complete 15 of 22 passing attempts for 209 passing yards with one passing touchdown and one lost fumble for the team’s only turnover of the game.
The real star of the game was the defense, which kept the Zips contained for 154 total offensive yards. All but 20 of those yards came through the air. The team would also sack Akron’s Nicely four times, with two each from sophomore defensive back Maurice Jones and freshman defensive end Sean Daniels to ensure two consecutive shutouts.
“No one can take away what they did the last two weeks, but at the same time that’s not our ultimate goal,” defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio said. “Our ultimate goal is to get better and win a championship.”
Up next, the Owls go back on the road to take on Kent State in Kent, Ohio. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on WPHT 1210 AM.
Brian Dzenis can be reached at email@example.com.