Postgame Press Conference Video:
Addazio, part I
Four Temple turnovers proved to be the Owls' undoing as visiting Toledo posted a 36-13 win over the Cherry and White in front of 21,705 fans Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. Temple falls to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in Mid-American Conference play while Toledo improves to 2-3, 1-0.
The Owls, which entered the game leading the nation in scoring defense (7.8 ppg,), allowed more points in the contest than in the first four games combined (31). Two first quarter turnovers, a fumbled punt by junior RB Matt Brown and a Ross Madison interception of redshirt senior QB Chester Stewart led to two Toledo scores, setting the tone for the contest.
“I give a lot of credit to Toledo. They came in off a tough loss and I thought they came in here ready to play”, Temple head coach Steve Addazio said. “You can't turn the ball over and we turned the ball over four times. The tale of the game is in the turnovers. It forced the momentum against us and the opportunity to tilt the momentum didn't happen.”
Trailing 15-3 after the Rockets Morgan Williams (20 carries, 130 yards) scored on a 32-yard fourth-and-one carry, the Owls came to life. Stewart directed the team on a five-play, 76-yard drive, hitting senior TE Evan Rodriguez on a career-high 55-yard touchdown down the left sideline. Brandon McManus, who had connected on a 30-yard field goal on TU's opening possession, was good with his 18th straight conversion to cut the deficit to 15-10.
Temple's defense then forced a Toledo punt with the Owls quickly moving back into Rocket territory. Junior RB Bernard Pierce, who compiled 75 yards on 24 carries, rushed six times for 33 yards on the 11-play drive, which ended with a McManus' 37-yard field goal to make the score 15-13.
It took the Rockets just four plays to answer back. Junior WR Eric Page would connect with WR Dwight Macon on a 33-yard TD reception. Page's fourth career TD pass gave Toledo a 22-13 lead.
The Owls moved the ball effectively again on their final drive of the half, marching 31 yards on 11 plays before Stewart was sacked at the Toledo 29 on a third down play. McManus came on for a 46-yard attempt, but was wide right to end the half.
Toledo's defense was the story of the second half, limiting the Owls to only two first downs in the third quarter. Meanwhile QB Austin Dantin hit RB David Fluellen on a 20-yard TD pass on the Rockets opening drive of the quarter to push the margin to 16 points, 29-13.
The Rockets held the Owls on a critical fourth down play at midfield on the first possession of the fourth quarter. That stop was quickly capitalized on as Dantin hit Fluellen for a 43-yard pass play to the Temple one. Fluellen then carried it in two plays later to make it 36-13.
That was more than enough as the teams traded turnovers on their next possession with Stewart being intercepted for the second time in the contest which was followed by Toledo's only miscue, coming on a big play by senior LB Tahir Whitehead, who forced his third fumble and also recovering the ball (2nd of the season).
The Owls now travel to Ball State for an October 8 game (2:00 p.m./1210 AM WPHT).