Temple Owls

Aaron Boumerhi misses 27-yard FG as Temple falls to Army in OT

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Aaron Boumerhi misses 27-yard FG as Temple falls to Army in OT

BOX SCORE

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Blake Wilson kicked a 29-yard field goal in the first overtime and Army held off mistake-prone Temple 31-28 on Saturday in a dramatic finish.

Temple had a chance to force another extra period, but Aaron Boumerhi missed left on a 27-yard field goal attempt, his second miss of the game, sending the Black Knights (6-2) into a gleeful frenzy as they remained unbeaten in five games at Michie Stadium and became bowl-eligible.

Army, which disdains the pass nearly all of the time and ranks last nationally, tied the game through the air with a 14-play, 79-yard drive in the final 91 seconds of regulation. Backup quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr., Army's top passer, completed five passes for 67 yards, hitting Jermaine Adams in the left corner of the end zone with a perfectly thrown 16-yard strike with one second left.

It was the last nonconference game of the year for Temple (3-5), which has lost four of five.

Ryquell Armstead rushed for 151 yards on 18 carries and scored twice in the fourth quarter for Temple. His 21 yard-run around the left side with 1:38 left seemed to doom the Black Knights.

Temple quarterback Logan Marchi, who had two straight 300-yard games, did not start. Owls officials said he was hurt in last week's game against UConn but was available to play. Redshirt junior Frank Nutile, the only other player on the roster with game experience, got the nod. His resume included six games and six completions, but he rose the occasion. Nutile finished 20 of 29 for 290 yards passing and one touchdown with zero turnovers.

The Temple defense held Army to 135 yards on 27 carries in the first half as the nation's second-leading rushing team found few openings and the Black Knights managed just 29 yards on 10 carries in two three-and-outs in the third. Army entered the game averaging 378.4 yards a game and finished with 248.

Darnell Woolfolk led the Black Knights with a career-high 132 yards on 18 carries and scored three touchdowns. Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, the key to the ground game, gained just 49 yards on 13 carries.

The Owls broke a 14-all tie early in the fourth after a critical third-and-11 play. Tailback David Hood snared a screen pass with one hand in the right flat and raced 36 yards to set up Armstead's 43-yard run.

The Black Knights answered by finally breaking through on the ground. Woolfolk burst up the middle for a 44-yard touchdown with 5:03 left in the fourth.

The Owls have been plagued by mistakes, and another one cost them in the second quarter. Army linebacker Cole Christiansen blocked Alex Starzyk's punt and recovered it at the Temple 28. Bradshaw then hit Jeff Ejekam for 24 yards and Woolfolk scored on the next play from the 4 to give Army a 14-0 lead early in the second.

Nutile found some comfort in the pocket and completed a 17-yard pass to Keith Kirkwood on a third-and-8 play and Isaiah Wright scored on a 50-yard run out of a wildcat formation on the next play.

After forcing an Army punt, Nutile gained 13 and five yards on consecutive keepers and then hit Adonis Jennings for 37 yards over the middle for a touchdown to tie it at 14-all with 3:38 left in the half.

Army gained a 7-0 lead in the final minute of the opening quarter on Woolfolk's punishing 11-yard run. The big fullback broke three tackles on his way into the end zone.

The takeaway
Temple: The Owls might have a quarterback quandary. Although Marchi had two strong games throwing the ball, he's also thrown eight interceptions. Nutile entered the game 6 of 14 for 80 yards passing with one pick.

Army: The Black Knights have won two games without completing a pass, but Bradshaw went 2 for 2 for 42 yards in the first half and looked steady in a role that's rare in this triple option and Hopkins proved Army's passing game can be a factor going forward.

Kicking out of trouble
Army punter Nick Schrage had kicks of 65 and 52 yards after two three-and-outs in the third quarter to keep Temple at bay. The game remained tied when Boumerhi's 32-yard field goal attempt for the Owls hit the right upright.

Up next
Temple: The Owls have a bye before facing Navy in a night game on Thursday, Nov. 2.

Army: The Black Knights have a bye before traveling to play service academy rival Air Force on Nov. 4.

Obi Enechionyia leads Temple past Clemson to win Charleston Classic

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Obi Enechionyia leads Temple past Clemson to win Charleston Classic

BOX SCORE

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Temple players hugged each other in a circle, jumped around and chanted in celebration of their latest early-season tournament title.

Owls coach Fran Dunphy's happiness was tempered by the knowledge his team has a long, long road ahead before seeing if their fast start will pay off in March.

Shizz Alston Jr. scored 14 points including four clinching foul shots as Temple defeated Clemson 67-60 to win the Charleston Classic on Sunday night.

"This will make Thanksgiving taste a little bit sweeter," Dunphy said. "But there's a long way to go."

Still, it was a historic start for Temple (3-0), which had never before won the first three games of a season away from home. Their Charleston victories included wins over a pair of Power Five opponents in Auburn of the Southeastern Conference and Clemson of the Atlantic Coast Conference. And it was their second straight early season tournament win after taking the NIT Season Tip-Off event a year ago.

"It's a great way to start the season," said Obi Enechionyia, who scored 12 points and was named the event's most outstanding player. "We've worked all offseason for this."

Temple used an 18-7 run that spanned both halves to gain control. Josh Brown scored 13 points and had two of his three 3-pointers in that stretch. And when he knocked his final long-range basket with 13:02 remaining the Owls were up 50-36 and on their way to the victory.

The Tigers (4-1) cut things to 60-56 on Shelton Mitchell's driving layup with 51 seconds to go. Clemson had the chance to make it even tighter when Marcquise Reed stole the ball with 50 seconds left, but Donte Grantham's quick 3 was off the mark.

Quinton Rose hit two foul shots for Temple and Clemson could not catch up.

The Owls got a measure of Charleston-flavored revenge on Clemson, which topped Temple 76-72 to win this title in 2008. The Tigers were playing in their third Charleston final. They lost to UMass in 2013.

Alani Moore II also scored 12 points for Temple, while Rose finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Mitchell led Clemson with 16 points. Reed had 14 points for the Tigers, 11 of them in the second half.

"We just got a little careless, a little excited and sped up," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said.

Big picture
Temple: If the Owls can play like this, expect them to make plenty of noise in the American Athletic Conference this fall. Temple defeated Auburn of the Southeastern Conference to make the finals, then outhustled and out-muscled Clemson to win the tournament title.

Clemson: The Tigers were off-kilter in the middle of the game, often failing to finish good looks near the basket. Clemson's 6-foot-9 forward Elijah Thomas struggled to make an impact down low with six points. The Tigers will need more, much more, from Thomas to compete.

Temple chant
The Owls had a deep, strong chant they used to enter the court in all three games and did it as they left. When Enechionyia was asked what they were saying, he smiled and declined to detail it. "We'd like to keep that between us," he said.

Is that ...
Movie funnyman Bill Murray, who has a home in Charleston, was at the TD Arena to watch the tournament finals. Murray routinely pops up at area events and had on a zip-up vest with a Clemson tiger paw on it.

Charleston recap
The game of the final day had to be Ohio's four-overtime, 96-94 victory over Indiana State in the seventh-place game. The Bobcats were down 18 points in the second half and eight in the second OT before Mike Laster's bucket in the final extra period gave them the lead for good. Old Dominion defeated Dayton 75-67 to take fifth, while Auburn outlasted Hofstra 89-78 for third.

Up next
Temple plays at La Salle on Sunday.

Clemson returns home to face Texas Southern on Friday night.

Temple's bowl eligibility hangs in balance after deflating loss to No. 15 UCF

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Temple's bowl eligibility hangs in balance after deflating loss to No. 15 UCF

BOX SCORE

The deflated tone of Geoff Collins voice and the stone-cold look on his face dimly painted the darkened picture of what his Temple team had just endured for most of the previous three hours.

A cherry-and-white Senior Day underdog story just had its fruitful initial chapters dissected and jammed into the paper shredder by an overwhelming force of football nature.

“That was a tough loss and we didn’t send the seniors out the way we wanted to,” Collins said.

“Tough” is just one way to describe the shellacking Temple absorbed at the hands at No. 15 and conference powerhouse UCF, as a 10-7 second-quarter lead evaporated into an ugly 45-19 defeat at cloud-covered Lincoln Financial Field (see observations).

The loss dropped the Owls to 5-6 on the season and leaves bowl eligibility hanging in the balance during next week’s trip to Tulsa.

UCF, on the other hand, improved to a perfect 10-0 on the season and tightened its grip on the “Group of 5” berth in a New Year’s Six bowl game.

“That was just a tough loss against a really good football team,” Collins said. “You can’t turn the ball over five times and expect to win games, especially against a team that is that good and very talented offensively, obviously. “

The Knights came into South Philly sporting the highest-scoring offense in the entire nation with an average of 48.6 points, presenting a challenge the Owls knew would be formidable.

But for the first 18:35 of the contest, the Owls answered every bell. They had a 10-7 advantage thanks to a nifty scramble by redshirt junior quarterback Frank Nutile, who found space and floated a perfect ball to senior wideout Keith Kirkwood in the back of the end zone.

But from there, the Temple upset wagon plummeted off the cliff as the Knights and their turbo-charged offense caught fire.

Thanks in large part to three Temple turnovers — two Nutile picks and a Ryquell Armstead fumble — deep in Owls territory, the Knights reeled off 24 points in a span of 9:11 to take a commanding 31-10 lead that silenced Temple’s pulse.

Nutile’s two picks in that span were ugly, especially the second one, which was thrown into triple coverage and easily picked off by UCF’s linebacker Kyle Gibson.

Nutile, who would go on to throw two more picks in the second half and four total in the game, was extremely hard on himself afterward as Temple’s overwhelming theme of mediocre QB play throughout the season lingered on.

“I just think I made a lot of mistakes and bad decisions with the ball. It’s very uncharacteristic of me,” said Nutile, who took over as the starter two weeks ago against Navy and entered Saturday’s contest with just three interceptions on 103 attempts as compared to six TDs.

“Obviously, I put the team in a bad situation. I put the defense in a bad situation. I didn’t play great today. It’s hard to win a game when the quarterback throws four interceptions. … I take that loss totally on me.

“I’d rather die than let those seniors down like that again.”

Nutile’s mistakes set Temple’s defense on a platter for UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton and crew.

Milton whitewashed the Owls for 208 yards on 16 completions and four touchdowns. He also ran for 23 yards and another score for a combined five TDs on the day. Not that it was put in the best situations, but the overwhelmed Temple defense just didn’t have an answer.

While Nutile professed his apologies to the team in the locker room, Collins lamented on the fatefully miserable second quarter that saw Temple get outgained 122 yards to 57 yards when asked if it was the turning point.

“I think that’s pretty easy to say, yeah,” Collins said.

“Looking into [the seniors’] eyes before the game, how much hope and how much excitement they had and then conversely at the end, the hurt and the pain — I just told them to take their time. No one should be in a rush to get out of that locker room.”

As painful as Saturday may have been, there is still a glimmer of sunshine as the Owls can gain the bowl eligibility they’ve been yearning for with a win next week at 2-9 Tulsa. The Owls could still be selected for a bowl game with only five wins, but a bowl is more likely to select a five-win team with more of a pedigree and from a bigger conference.

Of course, there is a chance even a sixth win could get the Owls nowhere. Remember the 6-6 team from 2014 that was left heartbroken with no bowl invite?

Despite a 2-9 record, Tulsa is no gimmie for Temple. The Golden Hurricanes feature senior running back D’Angelo Brewer, the conference’s leader in rush yards for a tailback with 126.2 yards per game and 1,262 total rushing yards. And Tulsa just hung tough at South Florida last week, losing only by a 27-20 decision.

The Owls say the page has already been turned to Tulsa and they know what’s at stake.

“We just want to go out on a good note,” senior safety Sean Chandler said.  “We definitely want to get to a bowl game.

“This week is going to be my last game. But most importantly, we want to get to the bowl game and send each other out on a good note.”

“Every week, we talk about going 1-0 every week. That never changes,” Collins said.

“I think everybody knows what’s on the line for next Saturday. So we aren’t trying to make it bigger than that. “

Seniors say goodbye
Saturday marked the last home game for a studded senior class that includes Chandler, DE Sharif Finch, DB Artrel Foster, WR Adonis Jennings, WR Keith Kirkwood, DL Jacob Martin, FB Nick Sharga and DL Julian Taylor.

One more win will give this group of seniors 32 wins, which would be the most for a class in school history.

One-handed wonder
UCF star linebacker Shaqueem Griffin is an incredible story of perseverance and triumph.

Born with a painful defect that left burning sensations shooting through his left hand, Griffin had that hand amputated when he was 4 years old. But he never gave up on his football dream and overcame all obstacles to become one of the premier defensive players in the nation.

He starred on Saturday with three tackles, a forced fumble and a beautiful over-the-shoulder interception.

An amazing talent and story.