Brian Wright discusses Temple’s loss to Penn State and their missed opportunity at becoming Bowl Eligible.
Nov 15, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Temple Owls running back Jamie Gilmore (26) runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Temple 30-13. (Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports)
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., (C+P) — As Penn State players, coaches and fans were celebrating their sixth win of the season, the realization that the Temple Owls’ unfulfilled quest to qualify for a bowl game Saturday at Beaver Stadium began to set in.
What was a tied contest about midway through in the third quarter soon became a lopsided Nittany Lions lead in the early stages of the fourth quarter—aided by a barrage of Temple miscues.
“That was obviously a frustrating end of the game,” said Owls head coach Matt Rhule. “It was a really good football game in the first half and early into the third quarter; then we just gave it away.”
Austin Jones’ field goal eight minutes into the second half knotted the score at six apiece. That’s when the Penn State rushing attack turned it on—and Temple began turning it over.
The Lions countered with a two-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that opened with a 37-yard run from Bill Belton and ended with a 38-yard run from Akeel Lynch.
Any hopes of an answer by Temple were quickly squelched when Penn State safety Adrian Amos picked off a P.J. Walker pass and returned it to the Owls’ 8-yard line. One play later, it was Belton’s turn to tote the ball across the goal line.
In a flash, it was 20-6. In the end, it was 30-13.
Temple nearly had as many turnovers (five) as first downs (eight). Four of those giveaways came off the arm of Walker—all coming in the second half.
“I was just trying to do too much and trying to make too many plays,” he said. “I was not being smart with the football. I have to learn from these mistakes, and I have to go out there and be a lot smarter.
The outlier in those disastrous final two quarters was a 75-yard scoring pass from Walker to
Jalen Fitzpatrick—which accounted for the bulk of their statistical output. But, for the most part, it was riddled with inept play on offense—subsequently forcing the Owls’ worn-down defense to have to handle Penn State on a short field.
“We know how hard it is going to be,” said junior linebacker Tyler Matakevich, who had an interception of Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg. “We just have to keep overcoming it and keep playing.”
The time left to play is limited, but can likely be extended with one more victory. Possessing a 5-5 record, the goal for the remainder of the regular season couldn’t be more evident—as is the means for attaining that goal.
“We have two games left for a bowl game, and that’s what needs to happen,” Rhule said. “Once we stop beating ourselves, then we will win the games like this.”