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Logan Marchi efficient as Temple beats UMass

Redshirt freshman defensive end Quincy Roche had three sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery to lead the Owls to their second win.

Temple wide receiver Ventell Bryant attempts to catch the football against UMass cornerback Lee Moses during the first-quarter on Friday, September 15, 2017 in Philadelphia. YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Temple wide receiver Ventell Bryant attempts to catch the football against UMass cornerback Lee Moses during the first-quarter on Friday, September 15, 2017 in Philadelphia. YONG KIM / Staff PhotographerRead moreYong Kim

Temple quarterback Logan Marchi was supposed to be one of the question marks this season, but the redshirt sophomore has been downright efficient in his first three starts.

Marchi threw three touchdown passes to lead Temple to a  29-21 win over Massachusetts before 22,911 Friday night at Lincoln Financial Field. He completed 22 of 37 passes for 248 yards.

In three games for the 2-1 Owls, Marchi has yet to throw an interception.

"The close games we're having, throwing no interceptions and not turning over the ball over is a big key," Marchi said.

Ready or not, the Owls will begin their American Athletic Conference schedule Thursday at preseason conference favorite South Florida.

As they  did in last week's 16-13 squeaker over Villanova, the Owls showed periods of inconsistency, something they won't get away with against USF.

For the second week in a row Temple sophomore Aaron Boumerhi hit a career-long field goal. Boumerhi's 52-yarder extended Temple's lead to 19-7 during its opening third-quarter drive.

UMass (0-4) came back on a nine-play, 66-yard drive when  Andrew Ford hit Jessie Britt with a 20-yard touchdown pass with 5:56 left in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 19-14.

Austin Jones' 37-yard field goal with 1:52 left in the third quarter upped Temple's lead to 22-14. It was the 50th career field goal for Jones, who is the Owls' short-range field goal kicker.

Early in the fourth quarter the score remained 22-14 when UMass' Michael Schreiner missed his third field goal of the game, all inside 40 yards.

With the kicking woes, UMass later in the quarter, went for the first down on a fourth-and-10 from the Temple 28, but cornerback Derrek Thomas had tight coverage on an incompletion to Brennon Dingle with 8:39 left.

The Owls got some breathing room when Isaiah Wright made a spectacular one-handed catch in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown reception that increased Temple's lead to 29-14 with 3:48 left.

UMass came back, with Ford scoring on a 3-yard run with 1:41 left, cutting Temple's lead to 29-21.

After a 54-yard punt by Alex Starzyk, UMass had one final chance, with the ball on its 18-yard line and 26 seconds left, but the Minutemen  did not  come close to scoring.

In the first half, redshirt freshman defensive end Quincy Roche had three of the Owls nine sacks, a  forced fumble, and a fumble recovery for the Owls.

"Coaches preach starting early with everybody," Roche said. "In warm-ups there was great energy on the sideline and when you have great energy like that, it is easy to out there and just play football."

After UMass took a 7-3 lead on Ford's 10-yard scoring pass to Nick Orekoya with 2 minutes, 29 seconds left in the second quarter, Temple  scored twice before halftime.

On the next series, Temple completed an eight-play 73-yard drive when a rolling Marchi hit Adonis Jennings in the end zone for a 30-yard scoring pass with 1:04 left in the half.  Jennings turned around Isaiah Rodgers to get free and earn his first touchdown reception of the season.

Roche then had a defender's triple crown, sacking Ford, forcing a fumble, and recovering the ball on UMass' 18-yard line with 46 seconds left in the first half.

Three plays later Marchi hit Keith Kirkwood on a back-shoulder pass in the end zone with 10 seconds left in the  half. UMass linebacker Bryton Barr had tight coverage, but it was a perfectly thrown ball that only Kirkwood could catch.

Jones missed the conversion kick, so Temple led, 16-7, at halftime.

Since preseason practice, Temple coach Geoff Collins said he had certain packages for freshman Todd Centeio, the Owls' best dual-threat quarterback.

Centeio gave the offense a spark in the first half, although Marchi played the majority of time.  In limited first-half time he completed both of his passes for 20 yards and gained 10 yards on two carries.

"He has great intangibles, is a gamer, a good athlete, he threw two nice balls," said offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude of Centeio. "We probably could have gone back to him but he will have a role moving forward."