PHILADELPHIA, PA. 9/15/2017 – Temple Coach Geoff Collins sent a message that his team needed to be ready for anybody. It was the standard he wants to set. The Owls needed little reminder about the Minutemen of Massachusetts. It took last second heroics to allow Temple to survive last years game. As expected this game was a tussle. It was never comfortable, but the Owls outlasted the Minutemen winning 29 – 21 before 22,911 at the Linc.
“Temple has been in tight games, close situations, and we’re fighting to the end,” said Collins. “We want the knockout blow in the fourth quarter. We’re going to outlast you, and when the critical situations happen we are going to rise to the occasion. And it happened again tonight. I am proud of the way the guys responded.”
A key sequence in the game was late in the second quarter. The Cherry and White put two touchdowns on the board in the last 1:04 to take a 16 – 7 lead into the locker room. Quarterback Logan Marchi hit wide receiver Adonis Jennings with a 30-yard scoring toss giving the Owls a 10 – 7 advantage.
On the next play defensive lineman Quincy Roche forced and recovered a fumble by Massachusetts quarterback Andrew Ford setting up Temple 18 yards away from the goal line. Marchi found tight end Keith Kirkwood with an 11-yard touchdown pass at the 10 second mark. The extra point was no good.
Temple began the third quarter driving 53 yards capped by a 52-yard field goal by Aaron Boumerhi, the longest of his career, and the longest by an Owls player since Brandon McManus converted a 53-yarder in September of 2010 against Villanova. The 19 – 7 lead gave the Cherry and White breathing room.
UMass answered with a 20-yard strike form Ford to Jessie Britt with 5:56 left cutting the gap to 19 – 14. Temple got three back on a 37-yard field goal by Austin Jones as they continue to use two kickers. Jones opened the scoring with a 24-yard three-pointer. He has a team-best 14 points scored.
The Owls put the Minutemen in jeopardy on a Marchi 13-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Wright ending a 10-play, 72 yard drive and a 29 – 14 lead with 3:48 left. A last UMass drive ended 37 yards short.
Marchi threw for 248 yards and 3 touchdowns. Eleven different players caught a pass. More importantly he has not thrown an interception this season.
“Being composed, taking care of the offense, taking care of the ball is my main concern,” Marchi said. “Guys respond to that. It’s really fun playing football again.”
“Logan spread the ball around really well,” Collins said about the performance of Marchi. “He was reading coverage and getting the ball to the play makers. Logan managed the game really well.”
Ford accounted for 377 Minutemen yards through the air, and ended the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run with 1:41 showing on the clock.
Athough Massachusetts (0 – 4) moved the ball well with 458 yards of offense, it was the effort of the Temple defensive front seven who recorded 9 sacks that stalled the UMass offense. Roche was credited with 3 sacks, and Sam Franklin had two. Roche led the team with 9 tackles.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Roche. “I’m just happy we got the win. It was a great performance against a great team.”
Temple improves to 2 – 1. They prepare for a major test next Thursday night opening conference play at nationally ranked South Florida, who easily defeated Illinois.
“We’ve got a great opponent coming up, in division, in front of us this week.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian