Temple rolls to 35-14 upset of previously unbeaten Maryland
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Desperate to get its first win of the season, Temple incorporated a defensive strategy that could be summed up in three simple words: Stop the run.
Jamming the line of scrimmage and daring unbeaten Maryland to throw, the Owls shut down the Terrapins' potent offense and pulled off a 35-14 upset Saturday.
After watching the Terrapins run over Texas and Bowling Green, Temple coach Geoff Collins knew what the Owls had to do as a 16-point underdog.
"Our defensive staff had a great plan and our defense executed that plan," Collins said. "We took away a lot of the things they had done well in the first two games, and when they changed up, our guys were able to change up."
A rushing attack that had been averaging 293.5 yards per game totaled only 50 through the first three quarters and finished with 132.
"Credit to Temple. They had a great scheme," Maryland interim coach Matt Canada said. "They had their safeties down really low and we didn't make them pay on our shots over the top. We couldn't get it going."
Ryquell Armstead rushed for 118 yards and Anthony Russo threw for 228 yards in place of injured Frank Nutile to help Temple (1-2) bounce back from losses at home to Villanova and Buffalo. The Owls took a 28-7 lead early in the third quarter and cruised to the finish.
Shaun Bradley returned an interception 78 yards for a touchdown with 4:11 left to seal it.
"I'm really proud of how they started fast, how they didn't let go of the rope and finished strong," Collins said.
Maryland (2-1) had been thriving under Canada, who also serves as offensive coordinator. The Terrapins were averaging 39.5 points and 486 yards per game, but nothing seemed to work against Temple.
"We didn't do anything on offense today, so I take full responsibility for this loss," Canada said.
Maryland totaled 195 yards, made only 11 first downs and got its touchdowns on an interception return and a blocked punt .
The sour performance took the luster from the Terrapins' home opener in a season dedicated to fallen teammate Jordan McNair, who collapsed during a training session in late May and died of heatstroke two weeks later.
There was a moment of silence for McNair before the game, his No. 79 was painted in a large circle behind one end zone and a red 79 was painted outside both 21-yard lines, each of which are 79 yards from the goal line. Many in the student section raised a sign with the No. 79 during the moment of silence.
While the university investigates the circumstances of McNair's death and the culture of the football program, coach DJ Durkin is on administrative leave. Canada has been running the team since August.
The game was scoreless late in the first quarter when Temple kept its offense on the field on fourth down at the Maryland 36. The Owls took a timeout, discussed the situation and went into punt formation.
In the second quarter, after Russo completed a 40-yard pass on a third-and-16, 330-pound defensive tackle Freddie Booth-Lloyd bulled into the end zone on fourth down from the 1.
Darnell Savage's 23-yard interception return halved the deficit, but the Owls added a touchdown just before halftime with a 65-yard drive that included Armstead's 25-yard run on a third-and-9.
Russo connected with Kenny Yeboah for a 47-yard touchdown on the opening drive on the second half.
Temple: The Owls needed this victory to show themselves and their fans that those first two games won't have a bearing on the rest of the season. Beating a Big Ten team can only be a confidence booster before entering play in the American Athletic Conference.
Maryland: Maybe it was overconfidence, perhaps Temple figured out Canada's scheme or maybe the Terps aren't that good. Regardless, this is not the way Maryland wanted to play before opening in the Big Ten.
Temple begin American Athletic Conference play on Thursday night against visiting Tulsa.
Maryland launches its Big Ten schedule at home against Minnesota, a team the Terrapins beat 31-24 last year.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
Updated September 15, 2018