If Temple wanted to thank the Big East for giving them an extension in the conference Friday, they missed a perfect opportunity Saturday.
In a game with over 30 penalties that had more ugly moments than offense, Toledo beat Temple 33-7 Saturday at Franklin Field infront of 19,751 fans.
Toledo’s defense, one of the best Temple will play this season (without mentioning Miami and Virginia Tech), held the Owls to 132 total yards. Junior tailback Tanardo Sharps was held to seven yards on 12 carries. They weren’t the first-game numbers Sharps, who missed last week’s win over Navy with a groin sprain, was expecting.
The day after the Big East agreed to let Temple stay in the conference through 2004, Temple’s performance was less than thankful.
“We obviously played a pretty good football team today,” said Temple coach Bobby Wallace. “If we can develop the confidence and the toughness (Toledo) has, we can be (just like them).”
Up until Friday, Temple didn’t know whether this would be their last season in the conference. The Big East decided in March to kick Temple out immediately. They later told Temple they could play this season. University and conference officials have been in discussions since June and reached an agreement Friday.
Temple will play until 2004 before Connecticut, who Temple hosts Saturday, enters the league in 2005. Temple athletic director Dave O’Brien said Saturday that he is happy about the extension and is hopeful that Temple will remain in the league past 2004.
He said other Big East teams could move to other conferences by then.
Whatever happens in the future, the team is glad the situation has been resolved for now.
“I think they’re very pleased that the situation has been resolved and I am too,” Wallace said. “It didn’t have anything to do with this game.”
Toledo’s defense did.
Toledo has one of the nation’s better defenses and Heisman candidate running back Chester Taylor. Temple’s defense was credible, allowing Taylor only 99 yards on 22 carries.
Defense wasn’t a problem for Temple, Toledo’s was.
“We respected them and all of their tailbacks,” said Toledo coach Tom Amstutz. “We knew we were going to have to play the run well and we did a good job of mixing up the blitzes and zones.”
“They just outmanned us,” Sharps said. “They stepped up, they were the better men.”
Temple’s defense gave up 227 yards of passing from Toledo quarterback Tavares Bolden. Most of the yardage, and points, were on big plays or mistakes.
Bolden started the scoring with an 80-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to Carl Ford. Ford finished with a career high 112 yards receiving.
Temple kickers Cap Poklemba and Jared Davis both missed first quarter field goal attempts. Special teams and field position were problems for Temple.
Donta Greene’s 45-yard punt return in the second quarter set up a Toledo field goal to end the first half and give them a 13-0 lead.
Bolden made the score 19-0 with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Ford with 8:37 left in the third. A 36-yard pass to Greene set up the score.
Chester had a 13-yard and one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Temple’s only scoring drive was led by freshman quarterback Mike McGann. McGann, in place of the cramped Devin Scott, threw for 60 yards including an 11-yard touchdown pass to Greg Muckerson.
But Temple’s trouble early on, and missed scoring opportunities, killed them at the end.
“We lost a lot of (confidence) when we get in the red zone and didn’t score,” Sharps said. “We tried to bounce back, but it was too late.”