Temple falls to Maryland, 36-27

Posted: September 08, 2012

There were enough miscues and undisciplined plays to give Temple coach Steve Addazio a migraine.

Perhaps that's why Saturday's 36-27 loss to an inexperienced Maryland squad at Lincoln Financial Field might sting for a while.

"We turned the ball over four times," Addazio said. "Two snaps over the quarterback's head. We had [four] personal foul penalties. And had a field goal blocked. That about tells you the tale, right there.

"You can't win a lot of football games like that. It's really hard to do."

The Owls (1-1) also gave up a safety, dropped eight passes, and were penalized seven times for 72 yards.

Temple drew national attention a year ago after a 38-7 blowout at Maryland. But the Terrapins (2-0) made sure there was no repeat to that story by taking a 26-3 lead into halftime on Saturday.

Yet Temple pulled within two points (29-27) with 7 minutes, 4 seconds remaining. The Owls needed one more defensive stop late in the fourth quarter to get the ball back for a chance to win. But Maryland did not give it back before reaching the end zone.

The Terps converted three third downs, including a 38-yard pass play to wideout Stefon Diggs to the Temple 13-yard line. Running back Justus Pickett scored from 7 yards out three plays later to put the game away.

"That played a big part today," said Temple linebacker Nate D. Smith, who finished with a game-high 11 tackles and two forced fumbles. "That was key right there. That was our prerogative so we can get the ball back."

The Owls' first-half performance provided little reason to believe they would ever be in position to win late. The Owls couldn't run effectively (28 yards on 22 rushes) and junior quarterback Chris Coyer attempted just three passes before intermission.

"We tried to open up [the passing game] in the first half," Addazio said. "We took a sack. We dropped a ball. We weren't in rhythm the whole day."

Opening up its passing game, Temple scored on its first three possessions of the third quarter. Coyer hit C.J. Hammond on a 62-yard scoring pass with 5:12 left in the third quarter to cut Maryland's lead to 29-16. Addazio chose to kick the extra point rather than go for two and a chance to make it a touchdown-field goal game. With the extra point, Temple still needed two touchdowns.

"It was too early," Addazio said. "I like to wait until the end to see where we are at. . . . I wanted to keep momentum rolling.

"Quite honestly, I thought we had it going enough that we were going turn it in the end. I really did."

Brandon McManus nailed a 40-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to make it 29-20, but his 23-yard field goal attempt two possessions later was blocked.

Temple moved closer still when Coyer hit Jalen Fitzpatrick for a 35-yard catch-and-run TD before Maryland put together its closeout drive.

Coyer, who had a 101-degree fever Saturday morning, completed 7 of 18 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns and an interception. The junior was also Temple's leading rusher, with 53 yards on 17 carries.

Temple tailback Matt Brown (10 carries for 35 yards) played with a sprained ankle.

The Owls lost two fumbles during their first four plays.

"Any time you have a turnover it can kill you," said Coyer, who lost the second fumble after a two-yard gain. "It's hard to win a game when you have [four] turnovers, with one of them being a safety.

Contact Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939 or kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow @pompeysgridlock on Twitter. Read his blog, "Owls Inq," at www.philly.com/owlsinq

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