PHILADELPHIA, PA - Temple (1-6) forced four Army (3-5) turnovers, including a 19-yard scoop-and-score in the second quarter, en route to a 33-14 victory Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. The Owls led 33-0 before the Black Knights scored two second-half touchdowns.
Army’s four turnovers marked a season high. The Black Knights’ first fumble ended a streak of 292 plays without a miscue, dating back to the Wake Forest game on Sept. 21.
The Owls outgained the Black Knights, 361-338, but Army held a 255-158 advantage on the ground. Junior fullback Larry Dixon led Army’s ground attack with 84 yards on 16 carries. He also caught two passes for 29 yards. One game after rushing for an Academy record 304 yards, junior Terry Baggett was limited to 24 yards on just seven carries.
Army starting quarterback Angel Santiago was knocked out of the game early in the second quarter. Sophomore Kelvin White played most of the rest of the contest, completing seven passes in 16 attempts for 79 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. White also rushed 10 times for 47 yards and a touchdown. Xavier Moss caught five balls for 80 yards, while senior wide receiver Patrick Laird caught one pass for 14 yards, scoring his first touchdown of the season.
Defensively, senior linebacker Colby Miller, who made his first career start, made a career-high 16 stops, including a career-best two tackles for loss. Justin Trimble was one of three players with five tackles and registered his second interception in as many weeks.
Temple quarterback P.J. Williams was 10-for-16 for 203 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Jalen Fitzpatrick was his favorite target, catching four passes for 128 yards and a score. John Christopher accounted for the Owls’ second touchdown catch with a 39-yard reception. Zaire Williams ran 19 times for 94 yards and a score, while Kenneth Harper had 50 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Tyler Matakevich, who entered the game among the nation’s top five tacklers, led the Owls with 13 stops and an interception.
The Owls scored on its initial possession, going 78 yards in just six plays. Harris connected with Fitzpatrick for a 45-yard gain to the Army 1-yard line, and one play later, Harper plunged into the end zone for the score. The PAT gave the Owls a 7-0 lead with 12:13 left in the first quarter.
Army drove into Temple territory before getting stopped on third down. Alex Tardieu’s 42-yard punt was downed at the 1-yard line with 8:00 showing on the first-quarter clock. Again, Harris and Fitzpatrick provided the big play, covering the final 37 yards of the 99-yard drive with the Owls’ first touchdown pass of the game. Harris faked a quarterback sneak on 3rd-and-1, but instead dropped back and hit Fitzgerald who was streaking down the middle of the field. The extra point gave Temple a 14-0 advantage with 4:26 left in the opening quarter.
After punts on the next four possessions, Temple was able to flip field position and force Army to punt from its own end zone. The Owls took over at the Army 42-yard line with less than five minutes to go in the half. On 3rd-and-12 from the 39-yard line, Harris hit a wide-open Christopher for the Owls’ third touchdown. The PAT was no good, keeping the Temple lead at 20-0 with 3:43 to go in the half.
The Owls’ needed just one play to score its next touchdown. An errant pitch from White hit the turf, and after a scrum, the ball popped free and Nate D. Smith returned the fumble 19 yards for the touchdown. Temple went for two points, but the pass fell incomplete, keeping the Owls’ lead at 26-0 with 3:26 to go in the half.
Army punted on the next possession, but the Black Knights’ defense got the ball right back when Trimble intercepted Harris on the first play of the drive. The Black Knights took over their own 37-yard line with 53 seconds to go in the half. After an initial completion, White’s next two passes were incomplete, and Tardieu punted for the sixth time of the half. The Owls gained possession at their own 29-yard line with 18 seconds to go in the quarter. Temple ran play before allowing the clock to reach all zeroes.
The Owls outgained the Black Knights, 291-93, through the first two quarters, including a 108-81 advantage on the ground. Santiago led Army with 32 yards on the ground despite missing most of the second quarter with an injury. Williams paced the Owls with 49 yards, while Fitzpatrick caught three passes for 112 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Harris was 8-for-12 for 183 yards, two touchdowns and an interception through two quarters.
The teams exchanged punts to start the second half, but a fumble on Army’s second possession set up Temple at the Black Knights’ 21-yard line with 9:50 to go. Williams did the honors on the second play, going in from 15 yards out. The extra point extended Temple’s advantage to 33-0 with 9:04 left in the third quarter.
White re-entered the game at quarterback in place of Tevin Long, who took the first two drives of the second half, and the Black Knights went 78 yards in 13 plays for their first touchdown of the game. White hit Laird for a 14-yard touchdown, and Grochowski’s extra point made it a 33-7 game with 3:19 to go in the third quarter.
The Army defense forced another punt, and again, the Black Knights were able to find paydirt. A 36-yard run by White moved the ball inside the Temple 10-yard line, and two plays later, he dove in from a yard out for the score. Grochowski’s extra point pulled Army within 33-14 with 14:48 left in the fourth quarter.
Another Temple punt gave Army the ball at its own 21-yard line. The Black Knights moved the ball to the 40-yard line, but Tavon Young intercepted a deep ball intended for Moss to give the Owls possession. The Owls punted, but after Army moved the ball into Temple territory, Matakevich made a highlight-reel interception to thwart the Black Knights’ drive.
Neither team was able to score the remainder of the contest.