Temple falters, falls to Rutgers

Posted: October 21, 2012

If college football games were 30 minutes, Temple would be celebrating a huge upset victory right now.

But they're 60 minutes, so the Owls must live with being steamrolled by No. 19 Rutgers in the second half.

Gary Nova threw touchdown passes on the Scarlet Knights' first four second-half possessions to lead Rutgers to Saturday's 35-10 Big East victory at Lincoln Financial Field.

Temple (3-3, 2-1 Big East) had dominated both sides of the ball in taking a 10-0 lead at intermission.

"I have to go back and look at the tape and see what just happened in that third [quarter]," said Owls coach Steve Addazio. "It was a third period that was not very good at all.

"It's hard to watch the team you watched the first two [quarters] and watch the team in the third [quarter]. You are like, 'What happened there? What just happened?' "

What happened was that Rutgers (7-0, 4-0) just played like a nationally ranked team is supposed to play.

"I wish I could tell you that there was a magical halftime speech," Scarlet Knights coach Kyle Flood said. "But the message was very simple and very clear that we needed to execute. The game is about 11-man execution.

"I think in the second half you saw that and I think the results were pretty obvious."

Rutgers outgained Temple 261 to 49 in total yards after halftime. Leonte Carroo, a Scarlet Knights wideout, also blocked a fourth-quarter punt. And Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene recovered and returned a fumble by Owls quarterback Chris Coyer 20 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown.

But by then, Nova's passing all but decided the outcome.

The sophomore quarterback's fourth scoring pass - a 10-yarder to D.C. Jefferson - gave Rutgers a 28-10 lead with 11 minutes, 41 seconds remaining.

Nova, from North Jersey football powerhouse The Don Bosco Prep High, completed 17 of 27 passes for 232 yards and four touchdowns. He produced 176 of those yards on 12-for-14 passing during the four straight TD drives.

While Nova lit up the end zone, Coyer had another subpar game.

The redshirt junior completed 7 of 14 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown to go with an interception and two fumbles. Coyer threw incomplete passes on seven of his final 10 attempts. He was benched after Greene returned his fumble for a score to make it a 35-10 game with 10:51 left.

"I can't throw a pick and I can't turn the ball over," said Coyer, whose third-quarter interception set up Nova's third touchdown pass. "I had three turnovers in that game. We are not going to win games like that."

Temple could have led by more than 10 points at intermission.

Coyer lost his first fumble on a fourth-and-1 after a 1-yard gain to the Rutgers 26 on the game's opening drive.

He made up for that play on Temple's third offensive possession when he gave Temple the lead on a touchdown pass to tight end Cody Booth. Coyer's pass, on third-and-goal from the 4, bounced off the fingertips of fullback Kenny Harper and into the arms of the diving Booth.

Temple senior Brandon McManus missed a 48-yard field goal attempt and made a 49-yarder before halftime.

"There is no question we should've had at least three more points if not more," Addazio said. "The way we played in third quarter, not sure that would have mattered.

"We had a collapse in the third quarter, which is not really like us. But we did."

Notable. The Big East suspended Temple safety Vaughn Carraway from Saturday's game because of his flagrant foul in last week's overtime victory at Connecticut.

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at kpompey@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter @Pompeysgridlock

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