Sometimes they’re pretty, sometime they’re kind of ugly.
But they always have a bottom line: they’re wins.
And after the football team fought back to triumph 14-10 Tuesday night at Lincoln Financial Field, the fact that they were victorious was all the focus.
“I think the kids are excited right now, because it’s a big win” coach Al Golden said. “I think we finished the game and I think we showed some toughness. So that was first time that we were in that situation that we finished the game and won.”
“To win one like this was gratifying,” he added.
Redshirt senior quarterback Adam DiMichele’s 5-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Steve Maneri with 1:51 left on the clock capped-off an exciting win for the Cherry and White.
They found themselves down 10-0 at the start of the fourth quarter, but a 26-yard punt return by sophomore wide receiver Delano Green set the Owls up in good field position.
A few minutes later, running back/corner back Kee-ayre Griffin capped off a 5-play, 42-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
That was followed by a three-and-out by Ohio, but Temple couldn’t answer on their next drive as senior kicker Anthony Perlozzo missed a 25-yard field goal that would have tied the game.
But Ohio junior quarterback Boo Jackson fumbled the snap on the next play, and the Owls had a second chance.
And five plays and 18 yards later, they had their first lead of the game.
When Maneri realized what he did, his mindset was fairly self-explanatory.
“We won the game,” he said. “It’s the start to the strong finish [at] the end of the season.”
DiMichele, who was playing in his first game since injuring his throwing shoulder Sept. 20 against Penn State, went 9-for-22 with 79 passing yards and one touchdown.
They weren’t pretty stats, and he also gave way to his backup, redshirt freshman quarterback Chester Stewart, on certain plays where the quarterback would most likely face contact.
But the Owls undisputed leader said he felt no rust in his return to the gridiron, and was merely centered on making the best of his last days in collegiate athletics.
“Coach was talking about [how] our seniors have 35 days left,” he said. “I’m going to play as much as I can, as much as the shoulder allows it. It felt good today, and I’m pretty excited about this win.”
DiMichele had a chance to throw get this win because of the defense, who despite giving up 220 yards threw the air and 102 yards on the ground, didn’t yield a point after junior tailback Chris Garrett’s 2-yard touchdown run in midway through the second quarter.
And while numbers are numbers, the bottom line was keeping the Bobcats off the scoreboard.
“The defense just hangs in there every week,” Golden said. “They’re tremendous in the redzone. We didn’t get as many sacks as we would’ve liked…but the guys hung in there and did a good job.
The Owls now stand at 3-5 overall, and 2-3 in the Mid-American Conference. That’s good enough for second place, behind 2-2 Akron.
Golden’s squad returns to action Nov. 1 for a non-conference game at Navy. They return to MAC action on Nov. 12 at Kent State, a game that could be televised on ESPN2.
Temple’s most famous alum, Bill Cosby, assisted in the coin toss…Local legend Vince Papale was also in attendance…The game was broadcast nationally on ESPN2…Senior wide receiver Travis Shelton did not dress for the game…It was Breast Cancer Awareness, the Owls donated their weekly per diem and the coaches and staff also donated their own money to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Todd Orodenker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.