Temple had talked all week about not being overwhelmed by the moment, playing Notre Dame on national television in a game between nationally ranked teams.

The Owls showed their grit, but a late scoring pass to Philadelphia product Will Fuller provided the Irish with a 24-20 win over Temple on Saturday night before 69,280 at Lincoln Financial Field.

"I couldn't be prouder of our football team," Temple coach Matt Rhule said. "I thought they fought, scratched, clawed, made some mistakes, but I think we proved we were a really good football team and one of the better teams in the country."

No. 21 Temple is 7-1, while No. 9 Notre Dame improved to 7-1. Trailing by 20-17, Notre Dame went six plays and 75 yards, scoring on a 17-yard touchdown from DeShone Kizer to Fuller, the former Roman Catholic star, with 2 minutes, 9 seconds left.

Fuller beat Temple's cover two defense for the winning score near the back corner of the end zone. Kizer threw the ball over Tavon Young and safety Will Hayes.

"I had to look up through the lights," said Fuller, who had five receptions for 46 yards. "I just got past the corner and looked back. I never saw the safety."

Temple entered the game having not allowed a second-half touchdown in its previous four games, but that ended late in the fourth quarter with Fuller's score.

"We had them," said linebacker Tyler Matakevich, who had 13 tackles. "It was on us and being a defensive guy we had mistakes and will take a look at it and get it fixed."

A diving interception of a P.J. Walker pass on the next series by Notre Dame's KeiVarae Russell sealed the win.

"He made a great player, that's all I can say about it," said Walker, who completed 13 of 30 for 188 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 38 yards on six carries.

Temple trailed by 17-10 entering the fourth quarter, the third straight game the Owls entered the final period trailing.

Yet the Owls were marching when the third quarter ended and moved even closer when P.J. Walker hit Robby Anderson on a fourth-and-4 go pattern for 31 yards to the Irish 7-yard line.

Ventell Bryant dropped what would have been a 9-yard scoring pass on second down, but Notre Dame was flagged for targeting by Elijah Shumate on third down. That gave Temple a first and goal and the Owls would eventually tie the game on Jahad Thomas' 1-yard run on fourth down with 10:51 left.
Thomas would finish with 82 yards on 21 carries.

"We expected that from Temple," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. "We just made one more play than them."

The Owls took a 20-17 lead on Austin Jones' 36-yard field goal with 4:45 left before the Irish came back.

Notre Dame scored on the game's first drive, going 74 yards on 12 plays and immediately it looked like it could be a long night for the Owls' defense. It was the first opening-drive touchdown Temple has allowed this season and the first since a 34-14 loss at Central Florida on Oct. 24, 2014.

The Owls cut the lead to 7-3 on Jones' season-best 41-yard field goal with 2:25 left in the first quarter.
Temple, which entered the game eighth nationally in scoring defense (14.6 points per game), was bailed out in the first half by two interceptions in the red zone.

The first came when defensive lineman Praise Martin-Oguike dropped in coverage and intercepted a pass at the Owls' 6.

Temple would then go on season-best 94-yard drive, scoring on a 12-yard pass from Walker to Brandon Shippen, giving the Owls a 10-7 lead with 6:17 left in the first half. The other big play in the drive was a 39-yard run by Thomas.

On the next series Notre Dame would take a 14-10 lead on a run by Kizer, who earned his shot after Malik Zaire suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the second game of the season.

Kizer faked a handoff to C.J. Prosise, pulled the ball back at the right time, and dashed 79 yards for his fourth rushing touchdown with 4:51 left in the half.

That 79 yards was more than the Owls allowed to four teams this season.

Kizer completed 23 of 36 passes for 299 yards one touchdown and two interceptions. He rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.

Notre Dame was marching on its next series, but the Owls earned their second red zone pick when Matakevich intercepted his fifth pass of the season. Temple's Young tipped the pass and Matakevich picked it off at the 5-yard line and returned it 21 yards.

On Notre Dame's first possession of the second half, the Irish tacked on a 23-yard field goal by Justin Yoon to increase the lead to 17-10. Temple's defense held the Irish to the field goal after Notre Dame had a first and goal on the Owls' 3-yard line.

mnarducci@phillynews.com

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