Temple Beats Central Michigan with FG in OT. Owls 2-0 For First Time Since 1981.
Fresh off of their win over 2009 FCS champion Villanova before a crowd of over 32,000 at the Linc on Friday, the Temple Owls were again in action in south Philadelphia tonight as they took on the defending MAC champions, the Chippewas of Central Michigan to open their Mid-Atlantic Conference season. While CMU won the MAC last year, Temple is the favorite this year to win the conference.
Central Michigan also came into this match up with a 1-0 record after destroying the Pirates of Hampton 33-0 on September 2nd.
With 2009 QB Dan LeFevour in the NFL, the Chippewas have turned to redshirt sophomore Ryan Radcliff to lead the offense.
Temple was lead by QB Chester Stewart and RB Bernard Pierce. Stewart was 16-27 for 200 yards and one touchdown against Villanova. Pierce gained 75 yards on the ground against the Wildcats.
CMU got the ball to start the game but after driving the ball across midfield they were forced to punt. Pinned back at their own 12 yard line, Temple’s first offensive play was a 56 yard bomb from Chester Stewart to Rod Streater. Already well into Chippewas territory, the Owls couldn’t muster another first down and called upon Brandon McManus to attempt a field-goal. Although McManus was brilliant against Villanova, he couldn’t connect on the 44 yard attempt, pushing it wide right.
CMU, behind QB Ryan Radcliff and RB Paris Cotton, drove the ball back onto Temple’s side of the field but Radcliff was intercepted by Stephen Johnson at the Owl’s 35 yard line.
After a short gain, and incomplete pass, and a 9 yard sack, Temple went three and out and was forced to punt. Central Michigan drove into Temple territory where the Chippewas faced a 4th and 1 at the Owl’s 25 yard line. Cotton took the hand off but lost a yard and the Owl’s took over yet again.
Starting from their own 26, the Owls RB Bernard Pierce carried several times and Stewart connected with WR’s Delano Green, and Joe Jones to reach the Chippewas doorstep. On the 6 yard line, Streater was called for an illegal block in the back that moved Temple back to the 21. On 3rd and 18 Stewart couldn’t connect with Michael Campbell and McManus was brought in to attempt his second field goal.
Again McManus missed the kick attempt (this time wide left) from 38 yards.
CMU took over at their own 21 but found themselves facing a 4th down six plays later after several incomplete passes from Ryan Radcliff. Punter Brett Hartmann connected on a 44 yard punt which Delano Green returned for 13 yards.
With the game still scoreless at the 5:38 mark, Temple started a drive from the 31 yard line. Matt Brown rushed the ball twice to bring up a 3rd and 1. Pierce then got the call and broke off a 24 yard run to bring the Owls to the CMU 36. After several rush attempts and a nine yard pass from Stewart to Campbell, the Owls had a 1st and 10 at the 15 yard line. A six yard run (Pierce) and a 5 yard penalty later, Temple had a 1st and goal at the 4. Pierce took the hand-off into the end-zone to break the nothing-nothing stalemate.
McManus hit the extra point. Radcliff rushed for 9 yards to open CMU’s drive followed by a completed 5 yard pass. With another first down he hit Cody Wilson for a 21 yard gain but Temple CB Kee-Ayre Griffin forced a fumble which Jaiquawn Jarrett retuned 28 yards to the CMU 20.
On the Owl’s first play Stewart was sacked and fumbled the ball and Sean Murnane recovered it for the Chippewas. Radcliff was then sacked for a loss of 10 by Muhammad Wilkerson and the clock expired. Temple went into the locker room up 7-0.
The Owls began the second half with a quick first down but then went three and out and were forced to punt. CMU returned the favor with a three and out of their own and Temple got the ball back.
With the ball on their own 49, Temple again went three and out and were unable to do anything with the great field position. They punted and CMU took over at the 18 yard line.
Radcliff started off the drive with a strike to TE David Blackburn to break the run of three and outs. After a failed rushing attempt by CMU, Radcliff hit Cody Wilson for a 70 yard strike and he was tackled at the 1 yard line. Paris Cotton took the ball at the Temple 1 and rushed into the end zone. After the extra point connected, the game was tied 7-7 with 7:45 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Feeling the pressure, Temple drove the ball from their own 20 to the CMU 14 on a fourteen play drive. That set up another field goal attempt for McManus who was finally able to connect from 31 yards to give the Owls back the lead at 10-7.
During the 3rd quarter Temple RB Bernard Pierce appeared to injure his hand and left the game. He did not return.
CMU began a long drive at the end of the 3rd quarter which ended in the 4th quarter when their kicker Paul Mudgett missed a 27 yard chip-shot FG.
Temple reverted back to their three and out ways (along with two penalties) and the Chippewas quickly got the ball back. CMU put together a lengthy fifteen play, 66 yard drive which set up another FG attempt. This time, using PK David Harmon, Central Michigan connected and the game was tied with just over a minute to play.
Just as they had against Villanova, Temple had the ball late in the game with a chance to win it, but on the fourth play of the drive Stewart was sacked by Kashawn Fraser and fumbled the ball. CMU nose-tackle John Williams recovered the ball.
With 35 seconds remaining, the Chippewas took over at the Temple 35 yard line. After a gain of three yards on their first play, Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson forced a fumble that was recovered by CMU as time expired. The game moved to over-time where Temple won the coss toss and elected to play defense.
The Chippewas got the ball and quickly faced a 3rd and 5. Radcliff completed a five yard pass to give CMU a first down. On the next series, Radcliff was intercepted in the end zone by Owl’s DB Griffen.
As is customary in college football, Temple took over from the CMU 25 yard line with a chance to win the game. Matt Brown carried for 3 yards on 1st down, and 4 yards on 2nd down. Brown again carried on 3rd down and picked up 3 yards for an Owl’s 1st down. Now on the 15 yard line, Brown got his fourth and fifth consecutive carries and rushed for 2 yards on two plays. Temple called timeout as they prepared for a McManus 30 yard FG attempt on 3rd down. CMU then called a timeout of its own in an attempt to ice McManus.
It did not work. McManus was again the hero for Temple as they downed Central Michigan 13-10 in OT. Temple is 2-0 for the first time since 1981. The Owls next game is September 18th (at home) vs. the Huskies of UCONN.
For expanded photo coverage check out our Photo Gallery of the game: