Temple Owls

Temple 24, No. 20 Cincinnati 17 (OT): Owls score homecoming win

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Temple 24, No. 20 Cincinnati 17 (OT): Owls score homecoming win

BOX SCORE

After throwing three interceptions, Temple's Anthony Russo came through down the stretch and the Owls handed one of the most surprising teams in the country its first loss.

Russo threw a tying, 20-yard touchdown pass with 49 second left to Brandon Mack, and then a 25-yard TD to Isaiah Wright in overtime as Temple beat No. 20 Cincinnati 24-17 on Saturday.

Russo was 20 for 41 for 237 yards passing, with three touchdown passes and three picks for the Owls (5-3, 4-0 American). He led a seven-play, 75-yard drive in the closing minutes to tie the game with the TD to Mack.

"We just didn't quit," Russo said. "I think that's a big step for our team and something we're going to build on."

Cincinnati (6-1, 2-1) got a first down on its first play of overtime, but an errant snap behind quarterback Desmond Ridder left the Bearcats with second-and-21 and a personal foul pushed them even further back. Ridder was intercepted on third-and-36 by Shaun Bradley to end the game.

Temple receiver Randall Jones caught five passes for 67 yards and scored a touchdown.

"They just took shots," Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said. "They made some plays down the field and you have to give them some credit."

The Bearcats, coming off a 4-8 season, were off to their best start since 2009.

"You can't get overwhelmed with being 6-0 and forget about the things that got you there," Fickell said. "This is an opportunity for us to quit worrying about the undefeated, the rankings and really kind of go back to work."

Cincinnati's Michael Warren II and Charles McClelland combined for 202 yards on the ground and the Bearcats dominated the middle quarters after falling behind 10-0.

McClelland's 42-yard dash with 6:09 left in the third quarter broke a 10-10 tie and gave the Bearcats their first lead. Warren had 132 yards on 25 carries and scored a 24-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Ridder was 14 for 33 for 111 yards.

"We went at them and we just kept chipping away and chipping away," Collins said. "The guys did a great job when it mattered."

The Bearcats picked off Russo twice in the final six minutes, but Temple's defense kept holding and giving the offense a chance. Temple got the ball back after a Cincinnati punt with 2:37 to play and Russo took over from there for a tying drive.

"You could sense and feel a little bit of that going down the stretch there," Fickell said. "Defensively, you play so well for so long and something has to give down the stretch."

The takeaway
Cincinnati: After turning the ball over twice in the first half, the Bearcats' defense was dominant before Temple's final drive. Normally a strong dual-threat option, Desmond Ridder struggled with Temple's pressure and ran for only nine yards.

"If you can't protect the quarterback, it's going to be a long day," Fickell said.

Temple: Two short fields set up a 10-0 Owls lead, but the offense really struggled to find its footing in the second and third quarters. Temple's defense forced enough pressure to get the ball back in its offense's hands and keep the game alive.

Offensively we started fast, sputtered in the middle, and then when it counted the came up huge," Collins said. "When it mattered most, the guys on this team stepped up and made plays."

Missing the mark
Cincinnati kicker Cole Smith converted just one of his four field-goal attempts. The four tries were more than the three he'd attempted all season entering Saturday.

One of Smith's misses, though, was a bit peculiar. On a fourth down with 1:46 remaining in the first half, Temple called timeout to stop the clock. There was also a television timeout.

The Bearcats snapped the ball after the timeout and Smith's kick split the uprights, but the officials ruled the ball had not been marked for play out of the television timeout. Moments later, Smith missed wide right.

"There is no explanation for it," Fickell said.

Up next
Cincinnati: at SMU on Saturday

Temple: at UCF on Thursday, November 1.

Temple defense comes up huge in win over No. 21 Maryland

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Temple defense comes up huge in win over No. 21 Maryland

Anthony McFarland was already stuffed at the goal line once by Temple. With the Maryland running back needing inches again to put the Terps ahead, he should have known what was coming.

Shaun Bradley wrapped up McFarland in the backfield for one more clutch hit for Temple's defense. Bradley flexed his muscles, pounded his chest and let loose toward Temple fans howling in delight.

"It was the best feeling ever, man," Bradley said.

Kenny Yeboah had put Temple ahead on a one-handed touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter, and the Owls used two stops at the goal line — Bradley's was one of them — to hold off No. 21 Maryland 20-17 on Saturday.

The Owls (2-0) defeated an unbeaten Maryland team for the second straight season and got coach Rod Carey off to a nice start in his first season on Temple's sideline.

"Everything you're supposed to do to lose a game, we did," Carey said, "yet, we still executed well enough to overcome that."

Minus awful special teams, the Owls were nearly flawless in the fourth quarter.

Yeboah used his outstretched right hand to snag Anthony Russo's pass with 7:27 left in the game to put Temple ahead 20-15, but Maryland wasn't going down easy — and Temple's D pushed back.

The game program cover boy, Bradley stopped McFarland on fourth-and-goal with 3:27 left to seemingly seal the win. But Temple got the ball back and Adam Barry shanked a punt from the end zone to give Maryland first-and-goal at the 10.

Again, the Owls held the Terrapins, and a fourth-down pass was incomplete with 2:14 to go to complete the upset.

"Play the next play. You vs. me," Bradley said. "We're going to win that."

Russo's intentional safety finished off the scoring and completed the win for the seven-point underdogs.

Russo threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns for the Owls. McFarland ran for 132 yards and Josh Jackson threw for 183 yards and was sacked four times for the Terps.

"I'm disappointed in our ability to run the ball inside the goal line area," Maryland coach Michael Locksley said. "Any team that I coach, we're going to be a team that has to have the ability to punch it in."

The Terps (2-1), who had opened with two straight blowout wins, made a series of plays in the third quarter to shake out of a road malaise.

McFarland, who had four touchdowns rushing in his first two games, gave Maryland a 9-7 lead when he scored on a 4-yard run early in the third. That got a rise out of thousands of Maryland fans who had made the 130-mile trek north to watch the Terps try to stay unbeaten.

Then, Jackson hit Tyler Mabry with a 17-yard pass to put Maryland ahead 15-13 — the 2-point conversion was missed.

Temple had its supporters, too, at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles, and the announced crowd of 30,610 wasn't far off the actual mark. It was the biggest home game of the season and the parking lots were stuffed with tailgating fans hungry for a win.

Russo hit Jadan Blue in stride for a 79-yard touchdown in the third quarter for a 13-9 lead, and that gave those Temple fans hope another upset was on the horizon.

"There was a lot of hype around this game," Bradley said. "I don't talk too much on Twitter about it. But I see it. `Maryland was going to do this. How's Temple going to stop this?'"

Bradley and the rest of Temple's defense had all the answers.

The takeaway 

Maryland flashed one of the more dominant offenses in the nation in the first two games, rolling to a 79-0 win over Howard and 63-20 victory over then-No. 21 Syracuse. The Terps averaged 335.5 yards rushing, the fourth-best average in the country and were best among Big Ten teams.

The Terps' offense dragged in Philadelphia.

Maryland had just 79 yards rushing and two first downs in the first half, its lone score came on a safety. Jackson was sacked three times, McFarland was stuffed on fourth-and-goal and Joseph Petrino was wide left on a 42-yard attempt. Maryland even botched a fake field-goal attempt in the second quarter, and suddenly the Terps seemed to be spiraling toward another upset loss to the Owls.

Temple has been to four straight bowl games with three coaches and Carey could be the latest one to keep the run going.

Poll implications 

The Terps cracked the Top 25 for the first time since 2013 and hadn't ranked as high as No. 21 since November 2006. So much for that.

Up next 

Temple plays Saturday at Buffalo.

Maryland has a week off before Penn State on Sept. 27. "The way we played, the bye couldn't come at a better time," Locksley said.

The Fran Dunphy era ends as Temple falls to Belmont in First Four of NCAA Tournament

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The Fran Dunphy era ends as Temple falls to Belmont in First Four of NCAA Tournament

Updated: 1:31 a.m. 

DAYTON, Ohio — A few seconds were still left on the clock when Fran Dunphy headed to midcourt for his final postgame handshake, the outcome long decided. Belmont was simply too much for his Owls.

Nobody else in the NCAA Tournament is excited to face their efficient offense, either.

Kevin McClain scored 29 points and led the decisive second-half run as Belmont got its first NCAA Tournament win, pulling away to an 81-70 victory Tuesday night and ending Dunphy's career in the First Four.

The 11th-seeded Bruins (27-5) play Maryland on Thursday in the East Region.

"We belong in this tournament," said McClain, who finished two points shy of his career high. "You can see that."

Belmont got an at-large bid after losing to Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title game. The Bruins showed the selection committee's faith was not misplaced, getting the breakthrough win on their eighth try.

"I think that they can play in this atmosphere and this is important," coach Rick Byrd said. "I didn't think many times we played well, or knew what we were in offensively, but they found a way to win. And you never play perfect, and I think they've got some toughness about them."

The loss sent Temple (23-10) into a transition. Dunphy is retiring after his 13th season at Temple, where he replaced John Chaney. Dunphy previously coached 17 seasons at Penn.

"The game of basketball has given me way more than I have given to it," Dunphy said.

He was hoping to coach another day, but Belmont's high-scoring offense pulled away at the end. Senior guard Shizz Alston Jr. led the Owls with 21 points.

"That team is smart," Alston said. "They only do what they're good at."

The Bruins entered the tournament second in the nation at 87.4 points per game. The Owls' aim was to slow the high-percentage offense just enough to give themselves a chance. Temple hung in during a first half that featured five lead changes and ended with Belmont ahead 37-31.

The Bruins pushed their lead to 11 points by hitting their first two shots in the second half. Alston, who led the American Athletic Conference at 19.7 points per game, hit three 3-pointers as the Owls surged ahead 50-46. Alston has been the Owls' catalyst, scoring at least 20 points in each of his last nine games.

McClain led a 16-3 run that put Belmont ahead to stay. McClain finished two points shy of his career high.

The Bruins' balanced offense had more than enough even though leading scorer Dylan Windler was held to five points on 2-of-7 shooting, matching his season low. Windler came in averaging 21.4 points.

Big picture 
Temple: Former Owls star Aaron McKie takes over for Dunphy. McKie is an assistant on Dunphy's staff. The Owls haven't won an NCAA Tournament game since 2013, when they beat N.C. State at Dayton before losing in the second round. They went 2-8 in eight appearances under Dunphy.

Belmont: The Bruins got only the second at-large NCAA Tournament bid in Ohio Valley Conference history, along with Middle Tennessee in 1987. They'd dropped their seven appearances when they had automatic bids.

Tourney history 
Temple's last NCAA Tournament win was in 2013 over N.C. State in Dayton. The Owls are 33-33 all-time in the tournament.

Belmont is making its eighth NCAA appearance since 2006. Its closest previous brush with a victory was a one-point loss to Duke in 2008.

Moose tracks
Six-foot-11 freshman center Nick Muszynski missed the OVC title game with a sprained left ankle, injured the previous game. Muszynski, whose nickname is Moose, started Tuesday and had 16 points and four rebounds. He wore a protective boot after the game.

"I thought he played terrific," Byrd said. "We just didn't know what we were going to get. Frankly, yesterday in practice he didn't look very good at all. But he really showed a lot today."

Philly fewer 
Philadelphia's Big 5 rivalry lost two of its longtime coaches Tuesday. In addition to Dunphy heading into retirement, Saint Joseph's fired Phil Martelli after his 24th season.

No stage fright 
The crowd at University of Dayton Arena was 11,874, the second-largest Belmont has played in front of this season. The high was 14,804 at Mackey Arena on Dec. 29, when Belmont lost to Purdue 73-62.

Up next 
Belmont heads to Jacksonville, Florida, for its game against Maryland.