Temple holds off Massachusetts in closer than expected game
After a loss in their opener and a closer than expected game last week against city rival, Villanova, Temple expected this week’s game against Massachusetts to finally help build some confidence for the young squad. After all, UMass came into the game 0-3 and Temple did at least have a win under the belt. The Owls seemed to be making progress offensively and for the most part this game was marked as one of the easier match-ups for Temple this year. Yet again, nothing ever comes easy.
Temple held off the Minutemen for a closer than expected, 29-21 victory at Lincoln Financial Field on Friday night. The game played out like 2 scenes from a movie. The first half did not see much action until the final three minutes. UMass actually scored to give themselves the lead at 7-3 with 2:00 left but Temple rebounded to score on two drives and walk into halftime with a 16-7 lead.
Temple’s huge final two minutes were highlighted by a Quincy Roche forced fumble which got Temple the ball back with under a minute remaining until the half. Keith Kirkwood scored a quick touchdown on a pass from Logan Marchi and the Owls were able to go into the locker-room with something to build on for the second half.
The second half was a back and forth between the two teams. Ultimately, the game remained within the two touchdown Vegas spread for its entirety, which may not be a good sign for Temple moving forward. Even when favored by multiple touchdowns the Owls games seem to remain close.
Temple would go on to score in four straight drives but UMass continued to counter. It was not until Temple wide receiver, Isaiah Wright made a one-handed touchdown catch with 3:48 left in the game that Owls fans thought that they finally could relax. Still, the Minutemen did not give up.
UMass responded quickly and managed to reach the end zone on a 3 yard QB sneak by Andrew Ford. With 1:40on the clock and down 29-21 it was still a long shot but UMass was able to force Temple into a three and out and got the ball back in time for one last trick play. The play was unsuccessful and although UMass gave Temple all that they could handle the Owls are now 2-1 with a short week ahead and perhaps the best team in their conference on tap.
Temple will travel to South Florida, a team that they upset last season, for a Thursday Night game. This will be the biggest test of head coach, Geoff Collins, short career and Temple and will most likely be a great measuring stick for what to expect from the Owls for the rest of the season. If this game was any indication, I would expect the unexpected as much as possible.