Owls’ offense receives boost from junior running back Bernard Pierce’s career day.
The Owls, who beat Maryland last Saturday 37-8, entered Byrd Stadium as a nine-point underdog last Saturday, but some Maryland fans in attendance had begun to file out of the stands around halftime as the Owls led by 31-0.
Junior running back Bernard Pierce led the offense with four rushing touchdowns in the first half and added one more in the third quarter to finish with a career high and school record five touchdowns on 32 attempts for a total of 149 yards.
The last time the two teams faced each other in 2005, Maryland won by the same score at Lincoln Financial Field and gave the Owls’ their sixth straight loss of the season. The win this year marks the first time the Owls have defeated an Atlantic Coast Conference team.
“We knew this would be a real challenge for us,” coach Steve Addazio said. “It’s a great program win, but I’m really proud of our players. That’s really what’s important to me.”
“We have a lot of football left to play, but obviously we can’t be more proud of the style in which we played today,” Addazio added. “We talked about being Temple tough and Philadelphia proud. We’re awful proud to be from Philadelphia and we’re an awful tough football team. But that’s been week in and week out that’s not some new phenomena.”
The Owls, who entered the game fourth nationally in scoring defense, contained the Terps’ hurry-up offensive attack allowing one touchdown with approximately four minutes remaining in the game. Temple held the ball for a total of approximately 40 minutes and racked up 425 total offensive yards, while holding Maryland to 240 total offensive yards.
“These players have really bought into what we’ve presented to them and carried on a lot of good things that have been in the past,” defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said. “We got a group of 11 guys who are playing as a unit and that leads to success.”
Maryland entered the game averaging 488 total offensive yards, which ranked 17th nationally. The Terps debuted its no-huddle, hurry-up offense against Miami, which produced the program’s most offensive yards (499) in six years.
In that previous game, Maryland’s senior running back Davin Meggett had 92 rushing yards and 34 receiving yards. However, Meggett was limited to 20 rushing yards on nine attempts and went without a reception against the Owls. Overall, the Terps collected fewer than 50 rushing yards on 23 attempts from four different Maryland players.
“They were a good team,” said Andrew Gonnella, Maryland’s senior offensive lineman. “They were tough players and they wanted it more than we did.”
The Terps’ passing attack had better success than its running game, accounting for 195 passing yards. But Maryland sophomore quarterback Danny O’Brien couldn’t get into a rhythm as the Terps converted 4-14 on third downs and went 1-3 on fourth downs.
“We came into this game very confident because we prepared so hard,” O’Brien said. “Right from the beginning they got some momentum and we never seemed to turn the tables.”
The boos from Maryland fans were audible after Owls’ senior wide receiver Rod Streater blocked a punt that was recovered by junior wide receiver Malcolm Eugene at the Terps’ seven-yard line. The favorable field position set up another rushing touchdown for Pierce, which gave the Owls a 21-0 lead with 4:33 remaining in the first quarter.
Maryland coach Randy Edsall said the team did not prepare effectively for its game with Temple.
“I saw a little bit of lack of focus on Tuesday and addressed it,” Edsall said. “I thought a couple of guys needed to be addressed. I thought we were better on Wednesday. But on Thursday I saw the same thing. We need to be a team that doesn’t want the slaps on the back. I think some of our guys felt that even though we were 1-1, we thought we were better than we were.”
Throughout most of the game, the Owls were able to extend drives by sticking to their game plan of running the ball. The offense ran the ball 62 times among four different players who each took turns rushing the ball to reach a total of 285 yards.
Redshirt-senior quarterback Chester Stewart used play action and option plays during the game to move the chains. Stewart rushed the ball seven times for a total of 41 yards at center.
“To me, without watching the tape, Chester played a fairly flawless game today,” Addazio said. “We have two quality quarterbacks, and we are going to need everyone to keep moving in a positive direction this season. We are going to need the effort and selflessness of every player on this team to achieve our goals. We need to keep our egos in check and play every game with this heart and intensity.”
“I am awfully proud of our program today,” Addazio added.
Connor Showalter can be reached at