Temple football edges out South Florida despite sloppy play

The Owls outgained the Bulls 412-324 in total yards and made an 11 point comeback in the fourth quarter to secure the win.

Graduate student quarterback Anthony Russo throws the ball for a pass during the Owls' game against the University of Southern Florida at Lincoln Financial Field on Oct. 17. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Looking to extend his team’s drive at the 11 yard line with nine minutes and 52 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, South Florida Bulls sophomore quarterback Jordan McCloud attempted to hand off the football to his running back on second down.

But the ball came loose and was swiftly picked up by Temple redshirt-junior defensive end Arnold Ebiketie who ran it into the endzone, putting the Owls ahead 32-31. 

The Owls (1-1, 1-1 The American Athletic Conference) would hold their lead for the remainder of the game and win 39-37 against South Florida (1-4, 0-3 The American) at home on Saturday afternoon. 

The Owls trailed by 11 points in the third quarter before making their comeback. 

With five minutes and 39 seconds remaining in the third quarter, McCloud scrambled to his left and threw the ball, as he was getting hit, to sophomore running back Johnny Ford in the back of the endzone for a touchdown. The touchdown put the Bulls ahead 28-20. 

On the ensuing drive after the Bulls touchdown, Owls’ graduate student quarterback Anthony Russo had his pass intercepted by Bulls’ sophomore defensive back Daquan Evans. The Bulls settled for a field goal on the next drive making the score 31-20. 

Russo finished the game completing 30-of-42 passes for 270 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. 

One of his touchdown passes came on Temple’s next drive when he floated the ball to graduate student receiver Branden Mack on a fade route bringing the score to 31-26. 

Mack recorded just three catches for 29 yards and one touchdown during the game. Redshirt-junior receiver Jadan Blue led the Owls with nine catches while graduate student receiver Randle Jones led the team with 81 yards. 

The Owls’ two-point conversion attempt was no good after the Owls pitched the ball to Mack who tried to throw the ball back to Russo but it was broken up. 

Temple’s defensive pressure on McCloud all game allowed them to record three fumble recoveries. As a team, the Owls recorded four sacks while the Bulls had zero. 

Ebiketie finished the game with six total tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. Redshirt-freshman linebacker Yvandy Rigby led the team with 11 total tackles. 

After the Bulls scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to make the score 39-37, redshirt senior safety Amir Tyler made a critical tackle near the left sideline, preventing the Bulls from converting a potential two-point conversion to tie the game. 

The Owls’ next game is on the road against Memphis (1-1, 0-1 The American) on Oct. 24. 

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