Rutgers Stays Unbeaten, Tops Temple 35-10
For 30 minutes, Temple had the big boys on the ropes. Then things quickly fell apart.
Gary Nova threw four touchdown passes in the second half to lead No. 19 Rutgers to a 35-10 comeback victory over Temple on Saturday.
Jawan Jamison had 114 yards rushing and 81 receiving, Nova threw for 232 yards, and the Scarlet Knights (7-0, 4-0 Big East) rallied from a 10-0 halftime deficit in their first game against Temple (3-3, 2-1) since the Owls were kicked out of the conference in 2004.
"It's one of the worst third quarters I've seen in a long time," Temple coach Steve Addazio said. "You take a game in which we had complete and utter control in the first half and came out in the third quarter and just totally blew the third quarter out. To their credit, in the third quarter I felt like they played like a big-time team.
"I'm guessing we didn't help ourselves too much but give that team credit. They had to come alive and make some plays, and they made plays in the third quarter."
Held to just 110 total yards in the first half, the Scarlet Knights scored on their first four possessions in the second and racked up 271 yards in the last 30 minutes.
Nova connected with Tim Wright on a 32-yard TD pass to cap a 75-yard drive and cut Temple's lead to 10-7.
Jamison then caught a short pass over the middle, broke a tackle, juked a defender, and ran into the end zone for a 32-yard TD catch that gave Rutgers a 14-10 edge.
"We just have the ability to fight," Jamison said. "We play together and punch adversity in the face."
Nova completed a pair of third-down passes to keep the 89-yard drive going, hitting Wright for 15 yards, and Mark Harrison for 23.
Logan Ryan intercepted Chris Coyer's pass on Temple's ensuing possession and returned it 17 yards to the Owls 49. That set up Nova's 5-yard TD pass to Harrison that put Rutgers up 21-10.
Nova rolled to his right and threw back across his body to Harrison, who slid across the end zone to make the catch.
"We just executed better in the second half," Nova said. "We did what we're supposed to do."
After Leonte Carroo blocked a punt to give Rutgers the ball at Temple's 26, Nova hit D.C. Jefferson on a 10-yard TD pass for a 28-10 lead.
Then Rutgers' defense joined in. Khaseem Green returned a fumble 20 yards for a TD that made it 35-10.
"We knew that was their best punch," Ryan said. "Ten points is not enough to win a game. We just had to play our game. We have a target on our backs in the conference. We earned it and we expect every team's best."
The Scarlet Knights are 7-0 for the second time in six seasons — and the fifth time since being credited with playing the first college football game 143 years ago.
The Owls were bidding for their first upset of a Top 25 team since 1998.
"We looked like we just ran out of gas," Addazio said.
Facing the nation's second-ranked rushing defense — Rutgers came in allowing just 60.8 yards on the ground — Temple had 74 yards in the first quarter alone.
Coyer tossed a 4-yard TD pass to Cody Booth to give Temple a 7-0 lead late in the first. Coyer had two open receivers in the right corner of the end zone. The pass sailed over the head of running back Kenny Harper, who jumped and tipped it back. Booth slid in behind him and made a diving catch.
Brandon McManus booted a career-best 68-yard punt to the Scarlet Knights 6 late in the first half. He then kicked a 49-yard field goal to put Temple up 10-0.
A crowd of 35,145 was the third-largest for Temple at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. There were plenty of red-clad Scarlet Knights' fans who made the trip down the New Jersey Turnpike.
Rutgers went three-and-out on its first two series, and Nova lost a fumble on the third. Nova's streak of 165 passes without an interception ended on the final play of the first half when Tavon Young picked off his deep throw.
Temple played without safety Vaughn Carraway, who was suspended by the Big East for a flagrant foul during last week's win at Connecticut.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)