Temple football

Temple falls just short of upsetting No. 17 Cincinnati

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USA Today Images/Aaron Doster

Temple falls just short of upsetting No. 17 Cincinnati

BOX SCORE 

CINCINNATI — A blocked extra-point attempt turned into Cincinnati’s decisive points. In a season full of close escapes, this one was the most unusual.

And the most meaningful, too. The Bearcats’ year of living dangerously has culminated in the American Athletic title game.

Michael Warren II ran 13 yards for a touchdown on a cold, raw Saturday night, Coby Bryant went 98 yards with a blocked extra-point attempt and No. 17 Cincinnati held on for a 15-13 victory over Temple that clinched a spot in the league’s championship game.

The Bearcats (10-1, 7-0) secured the AAC East title and remained the only unbeaten team in league play. They would host the title game if they win next week at No. 18 Memphis (10-1, 6-1), which shares the AAC West lead.

Of course, it didn’t come easy. With these ‘Cats, it never does.

“Well, I don’t know where to start,” coach Luke Fickell said. “Another one that some way, somehow, we found a way. We showed the resiliency to get it done and found a new way tonight.”

Temple (7-4, 4-3) had won four straight against Cincinnati with its dominant defense, but couldn’t get enough out of its offense until too late on a windy, rainy night with temperatures in the 30s and snow falling in the closing minutes. Receivers from both teams had trouble catching the ball, leaving it to the running games and special teams to decide matters.

Cincinnati got the better of it both ways.

In addition to Warren’s touchdown, the Bearcats blocked the extra-point try after Re’Mahn Davis’ touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Bryant gathered the ball at the right sideline, ran across the field and went untouched for two points and a 15-6 lead.

“It was amazing!” linebacker Perry Young said. “You just love to see that.”

Anthony Russo’s 16-yard touchdown pass cut it to 15-13 with 6:33 left, but his interception with 1:19 left closed it out. Russo finished 24 of 43 for 228 yarbds.

Warren finished with 106 yards rushing. Desmond Ridder played despite a sore passing shoulder that kept him out of practice early in the week and was only 9 of 25 for 62 yards.

“Des was banged up and wasn’t able to go most of the week,” Fickell said. “As the week progressed, Des showed us something. He said he could do it, he said he could go.”

The Bearcats led 6-0 at halftime on Sam Crosa’s field goals of 36 and 37 yards, the latter set up by another weird special teams play. Temple punter Adam Barry put his right knee on the ground while fielding a low snap, turning the ball over at the 6. Ridder was sacked on first down, and the Bearcats settled for a field goal.

It was the second straight game that Cincinnati failed to get into the end zone in the opening half. They trailed 10-0 at South Florida before rallying for a 20-17 win on Crosa’s field goal on the last play.

Temple missed a field goal attempt and was stopped on fourth-and-1 from the Cincinnati 18-yard line in the second half as the Owls were eliminated from the division race.

“We’ve still got a lot left to play for this season,” coach Rod Carey said. “Eight wins is a big deal, and we’ve got a bowl yet. When you look at it holistically, we’re growing this program. That’s what I told them.”

Big picture 

Temple: The Owls came in second-to-last in the AAC in rushing and lost five yards on the ground in the first half. Jager Gardner failed to get a first down on fourth-and-1 from the Cincinnati 18 in the second half.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats have struggled offensively in their last two games, a major concern heading into the final week of the regular season. The passing game failing to get into a rhythm for the second straight game. In the last two games, Ridder is 18 of 43 for 140 yards.

Seeing Blue 

Temple’s Jadan Blue set the Temple single-season record with 80 catches, topping Zamir Cobb’s mark of 74 in 2003. Blue has 923 yards receiving. He finished with 13 catches for 120 yards, his third straight game with at least 10 catches and 100 yards.

Flags galore 

Cincinnati was penalized nine times for 74 yards, including personal fouls for roughing the passer and a horse-collar tackle. The Bearcats lead the FBS in penalties.

Up next 

Temple: Hosts UConn.

Cincinnati: At Memphis. The Tigers beat South Florida 49-10 on Saturday to maintain a share of the AAC West lead and stay in contention for a third straight appearance in the AAC title game.

Temple forces four turnovers in upset of No. 23 Memphis

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AP Images/Chris Szagola

Temple forces four turnovers in upset of No. 23 Memphis

Anthony Russo threw two touchdown passes and Temple took advantage of four turnovers by Memphis to upset No. 23 Memphis 30-28 on Saturday.

Brady White passed for 355 yards and two scores for Memphis (5-1, 2-1 American), which fell behind 16-0 as the Owls turned the Tigers' mistakes into points.

The win was secured when an apparent diving catch for Tigers tight end Joey Magnifico to convert a fourth-and-11 was overturned by instant replay with 1:50 to play in the fourth. It would have placed Memphis inside the Temple 30, but instead the Owls (5-1, 2-0) were able to burn the clock.

Jager Gardner ran for a score and Isaiah Wright and Brandon Mack caught touchdown passes for Temple. Russo's 12-yard touchdown to Mack made it 30-21 with 12:48 left in the fourth.

Russo threw for 224 yards on 20-for-33 passing.

Kenneth Gainwell had eight catches for 98 yards and rushed 19 times for 107 yards and a touchdown for Memphis.

The takeaway
Memphis: The Tigers were able to move the football effectively against a Temple defense that had averaged 292.4 yards in yield through the first five games of the season. Memphis posted 502 yards of total offense.

Temple: The Owls could have buried Memphis early, but the first three Memphis turnovers were turned into Will Mobley's three field goals.

Poll implications 
Memphis: Entering Saturday at the No. 23 spot, the Tigers are likely to fall out of the poll after appearing in it for the first time this week.

Temple: The Owls have wins over two teams that were ranked in the Top 25 at the time of their contest, though Maryland has crashed since then. Temple might not break into the rankings this week but with No. 21 SMU and UCF up next, it has plenty of chances to impress.

Up next 
Memphis: The Tigers return home to face Tulane in a Saturday night.

Temple: The Owls visit SMU.

Re'Mahn Davis has big night as Temple tops East Carolina

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Re'Mahn Davis has big night as Temple tops East Carolina

BOX SCORE 

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Re’Mahn Davis rushed for a career-high 157 yards with a touchdown and Temple defeated East Carolina 27-17 on Thursday night.

The true freshman surpassed the 135 yards he had a week earlier in a win over Georgia Tech. He carried the ball 24 times and scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter that broke a 10-10 tie.

Temple (4-1, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) had its quarterbacks go 27 of 39 for 253 yards. Starter Anthony Russo was 23 of 34 for 208 with a touchdown pass late in the third quarter to push the lead to 14. Branden Mack had nine receptions for 107 yards and Isaiah Wright 9 for 104, including a 7-yard score.

Holton Ahlers was 19 of 39 for 229 yards and two touchdowns, the last coming with 29 seconds left, for the Pirates (3-3, 0-2). CJ Johnson had eight catches for 100 yards with catches of 14 yards to open the scoring and 10 to close it.

Temple leads the series 9-8, having won all six matchups following the formation of the AAC. The game was delayed for about 10 minutes after some of the lights went out with about 3½ minutes remaining.