Two years running Temple has been an underdog to Maryland. For the second straight year the Owls defied the odds makers. With two later defensive stands, Temple earned a 20-17 win over No. 21 Maryland. This came after last year’s 35-14 win at Maryland
Here are three takes from Saturday’ win at Lincoln Financial Field
After a 55-yard punt return gave Maryland a first-and-goal from the Temple 4-yard line late in the fourth quarter,, middle linebacker Shaun Bradley led a game-saving defensive effort. Bradley was a first-team all-American Athletic Conference selection a year ago and showed why in this game and specifically this drive.
Maryland’s 5-9, 198-pound back Anthony McFarland was stopped by Bradley for a loss of one on first down. McFarland gained four yards to the one-yard-line on second down before being stopped by Bradley. On third-and-goal from the one, safety Benny Walls stopped McFarland for no gain. Then on fourth down, Maryland went to McFarland again and Bradley shot the gap, was untouched and leveled the Maryland sophomore for a three-yard loss. Temple which was leading 20-15 at the time, took over with 3:27 left in the game.
After Temple failed to get a first down, Maryland had a first and goal from Owls 10 following a shanked a 7-yard punt.
Again, the defense stood tall.
Quarterback Josh Jackson overthrew Chigoziem Okonkwo on first down. Walls stopped McFarland for three yards on second. After a false start penalty, Jackson overthrew a well-covered Demus Dontay in the end zone. On fourth and goal from the 12, DJ Turner’s catch at the back of the end zone was ruled out of bounds. Temple linebacker Sam Franklin had great coverage. The Owls defense clearly saved this game.
For the second week in a row, Temple redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Ifeanyi Maijeh was the Owls best defensive player. In the first half alone, when Temple led 7-2, the 6-foot-2, 285-pound defensive tackle had four tackles, three tackles for loss, including two sacks. He had a sack of Jackson on Maryland’s second play from scrimmage, but his biggest play was when he stuffed McFarland for a loss of one yard on a fourth-and-goal from the Temple one-yard line. Maijeh added a third down sack in the second quarter, forcing Maryland to punt. While he might not be quite as big as some defensive tackles, his quick first-step is impressive, especially for somebody playing inside. In the third quarter he was credited for blocking a PAT after Maryland had taken a 15-13 lead. In the post-game press conference, he said he put on pressure but Quincy Roche actually blocked the kick. Maijeh would later leave the game with 3:45 left tin the fourth quarter. After the game he said it was just cramps and he was fine. He finished with six tackles, three tackles for loss and the two sacks.
Temple quarterback Anthony Russo started out well, leading the Owls to a touchdown on their first drive. He capped the 4-play, 59-yard drive with a 29 yard-touchdown pass to Isaiah Wright. On the play, Wright beat man-to-man coverage and Russo hit in stride. For the rest of the half Russo struggled, missing open receiver and never seeming comfortable. In the first half he completed 11 of 19 for 108 yards, and no inceptions. He especially had difficulty throwing on the run, which is usually a strength.
On the first series in the third quarter he overthrow a streaking Jadan Blue, three plays after hitting Blue for 29 yards on a laser, that he had to put over a leaping defender.
Russo then uncorked an NFL-type throw when he hit a streaking Blue for a 79-yard scoring pass to give Temple a 13-9 lead. Russo hit Blue in stride at the Maryland 45 and Blue then cut across the field and wen untouched into the end zone.
The series after that Russo was intercepted by linebacker Chance Campbell, throwing a ball in too tight of a window that was intended for Wright, who wasn’t open on the play.