Originally posted on Buzz On Broad  |  Last updated 11/11/11


This season, Temple had had pretty much two types of games: big wins, and close losses. The big wins were dominated by the running game and defense--nothing flashy, nothing exciting, just old school, smash-mouth football that somehow led to 40+ points for the Owls.

The losses featured mostly the same style of football, though lower scoring--like a 13-10 loss to Bowling Green or a 14-10 defeat at the hands of Penn State earlier in the season. Last week’s loss at Ohio was the first game that was different, a 35-31 defeat that set the stage for this week’s game, a thrilling 24-21 victory over the Miami RedHawks.

“At some point, in every season, there are those games where you have to find a way to win those games like that” Temple head coach Steve Addazio said after the game. “That’s what we did--found a way to go win that football game, and I’m real happy for that.”

Addazio has talked about taking steps throughout the year--he even called the loss to Ohio an “important step” in terms of playing a close game on the road--so this Miami win seemed to be a continuation on a theme. Temple had been involved in three close games before Wednesday, and had fallen short in each of the first three--to Bowling Green, to Penn State, and to Ohio. To finally win one and get over the hump, even though it wasn’t a fourth-quarter comeback like the others could have been, was a step for Temple indeed.

“It was a real team win tonight,” said starting quarterback Chris Coyer (Oakton, Va./Oakton HS), who rushed for nearly 100 yards in his first career start. “We won the game on all phases instead of just one.”

The fact that Coyer was running the offense and not former starter Chester Stewart might have had something to do with Temple’s first win in a close game. The lefthander adds a huge dimension to the Temple running game, picking up over 270 yards on the ground in the last two games after coming on in relief of Stewart in the Ohio loss. Stewart, meanwhile, never rushed for more than 47 yards in a game this season.

“I wanted to have the opportunity to have a lot of different ways to attack a defense,” Addazio said. “We’re gonna springboard off and really force the stretching of that field both in the throw game and in the run game.”

The defense and special teams certainly did their part in this one as well. Although RedHawks starting quarterback Zac Dysert threw for 364 yards and three touchdowns on 28-of-37 passing, he also threw two key interceptions. The first, with five minutes to go in the second quarter, was an Adrian Robinson pick that put the Owls at the nine yard line. One play later, Chris Coyer ran it in from nine yards out to put Temple up 17-7.

The second interception was arguably more important than the first. With Temple holding on to just a three-point lead in the third quarter, Dysert was leading the Miami (Ohio) offense down the field, picking up 27 yards in five plays to move into Temple territory.

On second and nine, Zamel Johnson grabbed a tipped ball and raced 52 yards down to the Miami (Ohio) 30-yard line. A two-yard Matt Brown touchdown run made it 24-14, which was enough offense for Temple to hang on. Those two interceptions came along with seven sacks, although it took until the second quarter for Temple to finally bring Dysert down.

“We knew they were gonna come,” said defensive end Adrian Robinson, who had two sacks in the game. “I was beating the tackles, (defensive end Morkeith Brown) was beating the tackles...we knew sacks were gonna come, we just had to be patient.”

The defensive effort, combined with Coyer’s abilities and Matt Brown’s 123 rushing yards, allowed Temple to come away with the victory. The Owls still need two more wins to close the season--home losses against either Army or Kent State would almost be sure to knock Temple out of bowl consideration.

Temple (6-4, 4-3) will next take on the Army Black Knights (3-6, independent) at Lincoln Financial Field, November 19, at 1pm. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.

Josh Verlin is the lead columnist for BuzzOnBroad.com. He can be found on Twitter @jmverlin

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