Cinicinnati beats Temple, 38-20

Temple quarterback P.J. Walker is tackled by Cincinnati's Silverberry Mouhon. Walker threw for two TDs.
Temple quarterback P.J. Walker is tackled by Cincinnati's Silverberry Mouhon. Walker threw for two TDs. (AL BEHRMAN / AP)
Posted: October 13, 2013

CINCINNATI - Freshman P.J. Walker dazzled early, then cooled in his debut as Temple's starting quarterback, and the Owls' defense fizzled in a 38-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats on Friday night.

The Owls dropped to 0-6 on the season, Matt Rhule's first, and 0-3 in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference.

Temple's defense came in surrendering 518 yards per game, 120th of 123 Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

Cincinnati (4-2, 1-1) gained 475 yards, but the Owls couldn't stop the Bearcats in the first half or get them off the field quickly in the second. Temple gave up touchdown drives of 79, 80, 12, 71 and 58 yards. A sixth touchdown was nullified by a Cincinnati holding penalty, and the game ended with the Bearcats approaching the red zone.

Cincinnati quarterback Brendon Kay completed 31 of 37 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Tion Green rushed for 91 yards and two scores.

Walker, one of 13 true freshmen to play for the Owls this season - only three teams have played more - got his first start, earning the nod after sparking the offense with 182 yards passing and 67 rushing in last week's 30-7 loss to No. 7 Louisville.

Keeping Cincinnati's defense off balance, Walker had 133 yards and two touchdowns passing and 55 yards rushing in the first half. But in the second half, with the Bearcat defense taking away some underneath routes and better containing Walker in the pocket, he was 6-of-11 for 67 yards after halftime.

Kenneth Harper rushed for 72 yards for Temple.

Leading 28-20 at halftime, Cincinnati scored on its first possession of the second half, a 4-yard TD pass from Kay to Anthony McClung, and the Bearcats weren't threatened again. A 44-yard field goal by Tony Milliano stretched Cincinnati's lead to 38-20.

Temple managed to drive to the Bearcat 18 early in the fourth quarter, but Walker fumbled on a keeper and Jordan Stepp recovered for Cincinnati.

The Bearcats came in ranked fourth in the nation in total defense, allowing just 251 yards a game. Energized by Walker, Temple had more than that (271) by halftime. The Owls were 117th in scoring offense at 15.8 points a game; under Walker, they had 20 by halftime.

Walker missed his first three passes as the Owls' first two drives stalled early. But he was on the target with the next three, tying the game at 7 with a smart drive late in the first quarter.

Walker twice found Zaire Williams for big gains on underneath routes before hooking up with Jalen Fitzpatrick for a 35-yard touchdown in the right corner of the end zone.

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