When two teams come into a game with a combined 3-9 record, one has to win. Saturday afternoon it was Pittsburgh (2-5) beating Temple (2-5) 33-7.
Pittsburgh was able to take advantage of good field position giving to them by Temple turnovers and play solid defense to stop their five game losing streak.
“It comes down to coaching, and it is my job to find out what is missing,” Temple coach Bobby Wallace said of the disappointing loss.
Temple freshman quarterback Mike McGann threw for 240 yards but was sacked a dismal nine times. He was without two top receivers Greg Muckerson and Zamir Abdul-Hakim Cobb. Junior Krishan Lewis started his first game and caught seven passes for 69-yards.
The first play from scrimmage let Temple fans know they were in for a long game.
Pittsburgh quarterback David Priestley dropped back and hit receiver R.J. English perfectly in stride for a 46-yard strike to the Temple 28-yard line. A couple plays later, big-play receiver Antonio Bryant caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Priestly, a quick 7-0 early lead for the Panthers.
From then on it was all Pittsburgh. Temple’s defense did all it could do to try to keep the team in the game. They held Bryan to a couple of dazzling punt returns, and five catches for 38 yards and one touchdown.
English was held to 4 catches and 88 yards with 46 of those yards coming on the first play. Several of those stats are down below the Panthers’ normal because they were given great field position on Temple turnovers or penalties.
On Pittsburgh’s second score of the game, they were lined up to punt but the Owls were called for holding, giving the Panthers a automatic first down at the Temple 45. Pitt took advantage of the second chance they were given. They drove the rest of the field before Priestly threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to fullback Lousaka Polite, his first career touchdown catch, and a 14-0 Panthers lead at the end of the first quarter.
The start of the second quarter was the start of the end for Temple.
Freshman punter Jace Amore lined up to punt the ball, and for the third week in a row, the snap went sailing over his head. It was Pittsburgh’s ball on the Temple 9-yard line. The Temple defense held their ground and kept Pitt to a field goal, 17-0 Pitt.
Temple got the ball back but Jason McKie fumbled the ball at his own 29; again a short field for the Panthers to work with. The defense played tough and held them to a 27-yard field goal by Nick Lotz, and a 20-0 halftime lead.
Things got ugly in the second half as Temple again had trouble punting as Amore got one blocked. Pitt scored another field goal.
In the fourth quarter, owlback Jairo Almonte caused a fumble and gave the offense good starting field position at the 50-yard line.
They drive the ball to Pitt’s 20-yard line. Running back Tarnardo Sharps fumbled the ball and defensive end Brian Guzek returned the ball 80-yards for a touchdown.
Temple’s only score came late in teh game when Temple cornerback Yazid Jackson recovered a Pittsburgh fumble at the 3-yard line. Running back Lester Trammer scored on a 3-yard run.
“At this time point of time, any way you look at it, I feel like we are going backwards,” Wallace said.
Temple travels to Miami Saturday at noon against the Hurricanes, the top-ranked team in the nation.