Matt Rhule is still winless as head coach, as Temple (0-6, 0-3 American Athletic Conference) fell 38-20 to the Cincinnati Bearcats (3-3, 1-1 The American).
Freshman quarterback P.J. Walker finished 12 for 22 with 200 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran or 48 yards. Junior running back Kenny Harper rushed for 72 yards on 10 carries and caught three passes for 40 yards. Sophomore linebacker Tyler Matakevich led the team with 15 tackles.
For Cincinnati, sixth-year senior quarterback Brendon Kay went 31 for 37 for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Kay also rushed for a touchdown. Senior wide receiver Anthony McClung caught seven balls for 86 yards and sophomore wide receiver Shaq Washington caught 11 passes for 72 yards.
Temple began the game with a three-and-out, and Cincinnati proceeded to get the ball and march 79 yards down the field in 10 plays, culminating in a 24-yard touchdown run by sophomore Tion Green, who finished the game with 91 yards on the ground. After trading punts, Temple went 80 yards on four plays, ending in a 35-yard touchdown pass from Walker to junior wide receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick.
Cincinnati fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Temple recovered to take over at the Bearcats 24 yard line. Freshman running back Zaire Williams ended up rushing for a 1-yard touchdown, but freshman kicker Nick Visco missed the extra point to make the score 13-7. Cincinnati then answered with another 80-yard drive culminating in a 25-yard pass from Kay to McClung.
After punts by each team that ended up inside the one-yard line, Walker was intercepted on the first play by redshirt-freshman Zach Edwards. Kay ran for a touchdown, extending his team’s lead. On the next drive, senior Juice Granger was on the receiving end of a touchdown for the first time in his collegiate career, pulling Temple back within a point to 21-20.
The Bearcats then scored again on a 2-yard Green rush, giving Cincinnati a 28-20 lead with 1:00 to go in the first half. Despite a 29-yard rush by junior running back Kenneth Harper on the first play of the drive, Temple wasn’t able to score before the half expired.
Cincinnati received the second half kickoff and drove 58 yards for another McClung touchdown. The next three drives resulted in punts. The Bearcats got the ball back with 4:35 remaining in the third quarter and went 27 yards on nine plays. Junior Tony Miliano hit a 44-yard try, his first attempt of the game, to put Cincinnati up 38-20.
On the ensuing drive, Temple drive 60 yards into the Bearcats’ red zone, but Walker fumbled on a scramble and Cincinnati defensive lineman Jordan Stepp recovered it with 12:42 to go in the game. The Bearcats embarked on a drive that took 5:56 to gain 30 yards, eventually punting it. Temple punted it back on the next drive, and Cincinnati then ran out the clock.
Evan Cross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EvanCross.