Temple tops UConn in overtime

Posted: October 14, 2012

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - Look who's unbeaten in the Big East.

It's only two games, but Temple has a Big East winning streak for the first time ever after Saturday's 17-14 overtime victory at Connecticut.

That's ever, as in including the 14 seasons before they were kicked out eight years ago. So it's safe to call the Owls' Big East reboot an early success.

"I don't think anybody expected us to be 2-0 here in the Big East," said senior kicker Brandon McManus, whose 29-yard field goal in overtime was the fourth game-winning kick of his career. "The tabloids and no one in Philadelphia thought we would be 2-0. So it's huge for us to get this start.

"I don't think we are ever going to be complacent here. We are going to put the pedal to the metal, and we are not going to let go of that."

With the Huskies leading by 14-7 and just 2 minutes and 52 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Temple's Deon Miller blocked Chad Christen's 44-yard field goal attempt to keep the Owls alive.

Then after Temple converted two fourth downs on the ensuing drive, Miller, a junior wide receiver, made his biggest catch of the season. He hauled in a 33-yarder to the UConn 14 on a third-and-13 play. On the next play, Temple quarterback Chris Coyer completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Fitzpatrick with 19 seconds left to force overtime.

Temple (3-2 overall) won the overtime coin toss and elected to go on defense first. The Huskies' overtime possession ended when Christen's 28-yard attempt sailed wide right. It was his fourth missed field goal.

McManus didn't have the same problem, kicking the game-winner on Temple's offensive series.

"Let me start out by saying this, there's a lot of fight and a lot of will on 10th and Diamond," Temple coach Steve Addazio said, referring to the location of the Owls' practice facility and team headquarters in North Philly. "This team has got that fight in them, that will in them . . . It wasn't pretty, in fact at times it was downright ugly. But the moral of the story is we found a way to win."

Connecticut (3-4, 0-2) delighted its homecoming crowd of 37,279 at Rentschler Field by jumping out to a 14-0 lead with five seconds remaining in the first quarter. At the time, the Huskies held a 192-11 advantage in total yards.

But Temple outgained UConn, 323-189, the rest of the way en route to producing 17 unanswered points.

Addazio had to be extremely proud of Montel Harris and Tyler Matakevich.

Harris, who transferred to Temple this summer after a prolific career at Boston College, had 30 carries for a season-best 142 yards and a touchdown run. This was following last week's 133-yard effort against South Florida, the first time he had seen regular playing time this season after battling a hamstring injury.

Matakevich, a freshman linebacker from Stratford, Conn., finished with a career-high 19 tackles. Last week, in his first extended playing time for the Owls, Matakevich stepped in for the injured Olaniyi Adewole and recorded 15 tackles.

Temple running back Matt Brown reinjured his ankle while returning a first-quarter kickoff. He stood on the sideline with crutches and sweatpants in the second half. There was no update on his condition after the game.

UConn running back Lyle McCombs missed the game after injuring his wrist in last week's 19-3 setback to Rutgers.

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

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