When Temple, leading by 20-16 with 1 minute, 50 seconds to play, failed to convert on fourth and 1 at the Rutgers 27 and turned the ball over to the Scarlet Knights, Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova felt confident.
“I had no doubt we were going to win the game once we got it back,” said Nova, benched last week in a 49-14 loss to Houston. “I knew we were going to go down there and score. We just trusted the guys, and everyone was on the same page. We executed at the end.”
Another wasted lead
After trailing at halftime in five of their first six games, the Owls led Rutgers by 13-3 at halftime to make it three games in a row that Temple has led at the half.
Last week, the Owls led Southern Methodist by 28-14 at halftime, and the week before that they held their biggest halftime lead of the season, by 26-0 over Army, in their lone win.
That lead again failed to hold up for the Owls, who are 1-8 for the first time since they started the 2006 season 1-8 and finished 1-11. That year, the Owls lost their first eight games before beating Bowling Green, 28-14.
“We have to put a full game together,” freshman quarterback P.J. Walker said. “Leading at halftime would only mean something if we played games that lasted two quarters.”
Walker completed 21 of 31 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns, with a pair of interceptions.
Tight end Chris Coyer had two receptions for 18 yards but ended the game on crutches after suffering an ankle injury. The Owls were uncertain how serious the injury was. The good news for Temple is that it doesn’t play again until it hosts Central Florida on Nov. 16.
“Hopefully, it’s not that bad, and he’ll be able to return for us,” coach Matt Rhule said. “We asked him to do a lot of different things all season. You want to see him finish strong.”