After building up a huge early lead, Maryland let Temple get much closer than they would have liked, but ultimately pulled out the key victory in Philadelphia, beating the Owls 36-27.
After a slow start to the game, in which three fumbles led to a field goal from each side, Maryland exploded in the second quarter. Perry Hills recorded his first collegiate touchdown on a beautiful 22-yard strike to Matt Furstenburg in the end zone. On Maryland's next drive, he found Marcus Leak in the end zone on a perfect play-action for a 32-yard touchdown, making it 17-3 Maryland.
On the second play of Temple's next drive, the Owls botched a snap so badly that the ball went from the 20-yard line all the way to the end zone, where Chris Coyer dove on top of it for a safety. On Maryland's next drive, the Terps drove down the field quickly and scored again - this time on a botched snap that turned into an eleven-yard Perry Hills run.
At halftime, Maryland held a 26-3 lead, and the game looked fairly in hand. That's when the Owls woke up.
Throughout the third quarter, mental lapses from Maryland secondary players led to Temple touchdowns. Kenny Harper scored a one-yard touchdown after a 28-yard completion to Jalen Fitzpatrick, and Coyer found C.J. Hammond for a 62-yard touchdown on a play-action that badly faked out true freshman safety Sean Davis.
In the midst of a key drive down the field, Temple started out the fourth quarter with their second botched snap of the game, leading to a loss of 18 yards and bringing up 3rd-and-31. Coyer was able to salvage it somewhat, running for 18 yards, but the Owls had to settle for a 40-yard field goal from McManus, making it 29-20 Terps.
With nine-and-a-half minutes left, Joe Vellano came up with what looked like a huge third-down sack on Coyer, but Stefon Diggs dropped the ensuing punt. The Owls recovered, giving them possession in the red zone, but the Terps' defense stood strong again, forcing a field goal opportunity. McManus' field goal attempt was blocked by A.J. Francis, and the Terps recovered near midfield.
Maryland's first play on the next drive was a Wes Brown fumble, his second of the day, and Temple recovered. On the drive, Coyer completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Fitzpatrick, who juked Anthony Nixon out of his socks on his way to making it 29-27.
Luckily, Stefon Diggs was there to save the day. Perry Hills led a great drive down the field for the Terps, topping it off with a 38-yard completion to Diggs for the first down. Justus Pickett ran it in seven yards for the score, giving Maryland the 36-27 lead.
Demetrius Hartsfield picked off a late Coyer pass, giving the Terps the ball and sealing the victory.
Hills finished with a much-improved effort after a lackluster opener, completing 11 of 21 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns - but most importantly, no turnovers. Pickett ran 21 times for 69 yards, but the star on the ground was Wes Brown, who had eight carries for 54 yards in his first taste of collegiate action on offense.
Leak caught three passes for 90 yards - all of them huge - and a touchdown, and Stefon Diggs had 137 yards of total offense on nine touches.
Maryland outgained the Owls by 104 yards, notably shutting down Temple's vaunted running game. The tandem of Coyer, Matt Brown, Harper and Fitzpatrick averaged 1.3 yards per carry on 39 rushes.
It's a big road win for Maryland - who hadn't won a game away from home since November 13, 2010 at Virginia. The Terps now gear up for the Edsall Bowl at home against Connecticut next week. We'll have analysis tomorrow.
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