Saturday, October 30, 2010

Temple records 2nd straight shutout; stops Akron 30-0

By John McMullen

Philadelphia (The Phanatic Magazine) -  Last week Temple recorded its first shutout over an FBS opponent in 36 years with a 42-0 decision over Buffalo in western New York.

The Owls must have liked the feeling.

Al Golden's bunch secured its second whitewash in as many weeks on Saturday with a 30-0 triumph over hapless Akron at Lincoln Financial Field.

Mike Gerardi completed 15-of-22 passes for a career-high 209 yards and a touchdown for Temple (7-2, 4-1 MAC), which tied the school record with its 10th consecutive home win and won for the 16th time in its last 20 contests.

The Owls also won 10 consecutive home games form 1972-73 in both Temple and Veterans Stadiums.

Bernard Pierce had 83 yards rushing and a TD on 19 carries and Matt Brown added another 69 on 13 carries. Michael Campbell caught three passes for 96 yards while Rod Streater had five for 35 and added another 46 yards rushing, including a 24-yard scoring run on a reverse.

On the defensive side of the ball, Maurice Jones had two sacks.

Patrick Nicely connected on 15-of-26 passes for 134 yards and an interception for the Zips (0-9, 0-5), who remained winless under first-year coach Rob Ianello. Alex Allen had 30 yards rushing on 10 carries and Antoine Russell finished with five catches for 50 yards.

Akron was intent on stopping the vaunted Temple running game and forcing Gerardi, a former walk-on that took over the starting quarterback job from Chester Stewart earlier this month, to beat them. The Zips stacked the line of scrimmage and Gerardi was able to make some big plays in the passing game early but lacked the consistency to finish.

The two teams exchanged punts to start the contest before Gerardi, backed up inside his own 10-yard line, rolled left and found Campbell for a 35-yard gain. After an 11-play, 84-yard march, the drive bogged down at the Akron 10, however, when Gerardi missed a wide-open Streater on a post pattern in the back of the end zone. The Owls were forced to settle for a 27-yard Brandon McManus field goal and a 3-0 edge with just over six minutes left in the first quarter.

TU extended its lead late in the second quarter with a similar long drive that featured a 45-yard Gerardi to Campbell hookup. This time the Owls stalled inside the 10 after an 11-play, 91-yard drive when Gerardi didn't give Deon Miller a chance on a poorly thrown fade pattern in the end zone. McManus came on again to connect on a 25-yard field goal to give Temple a 6-0 edge with 4:02 left until halftime.

The woeful Akron offense was given its best chance to get on the scoreboard before intermission when defensive end Shawn Lemon came up with a defensive trifecta, sacking Gerardi, forcing a fumble and recovering it at the Owls' 32 with 1:33 remaining. The Zips failed to move the ball much and Igor Iveljic'2 42-yard field goal attempt was blocked by junior defensive back Kee-ayre Griffin.

Brown had just 31 yards rushing on seven carries in the first half, 18 on one play, and Pierce was bottled up with just 21 yards on nine attempts.

Temple came out of the locker room with more urgency and a 38-yard Delano Green punt return gave the Owls great field position on their first possession of the second half. Green's return set the Owls up at the Zips' 37 and the team needed just three plays to take it in. First, Streater took a reverse for 16 yards and Brown followed by going off left tackle for 11, before Gerardi capped the quick-strike by finding freshman tight end Alex Jackson for the 10-yard score.

Junior defensive back Keith Kroboth's interception on Akron's ensuing possession set up McManus' third field goal of the game, this one a 45-yarder with 8:13 remaining in the third quarter to put TU on top 16-0.

The rout was on in the fourth when Streater took a reverse around left end for a 24-yard TD run to make it a 23-0 game with 9:03 left in the game.

Pierce's 8-yard TD run with 2:46 left in the game accounted for the final margin.

TU returns to action next Saturday when the club travels to Dix Stadium to take on Kent State.


*Temple, which is bowl eligible for the second straight year after last week's win in Buffalo, now leads the all-time series with Akron 13-7. This is the first time the Owls have been bowl eligible for two consecutive seasons and just the fifth time in school history that Temple could go "Bowling," 1934 (1935 Sugar Bowl), 1979 (Garden State Bowl), 1990 (7-4 record but no bowl bid) and 2009 (Eaglebank Bowl).

*Since joining the MAC in 2007, the Owls own the league's best home record in conference games at 13-2.

*McManus' three field goals give him 27 for his career, surpassing Chonn Lacey (1998-01) for sixth on the all-time Owls' list. McManus also has 151 career points at Temple, moving past Anthony Anderson (1975-78) or seventh in school history. Pierce's TD gave him 156 career points, tying Nick Mike-Mayer for the
fifth spot.

*Pierce's 83 yards rushing gives him 2,005 for his TU career, passing Mark Bright (1976-79) for sixth in school history.

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