Late Notre Dame TD overcomes tough, unbeaten Temple, 24-20
Philadelphia – Following a fourth quarter, 36-yard FG by Temple’s Austin Jones, Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer led his team on a 76-yard drive completing a 45-yard pass to Alize Jones to get to the Temple 8. Two plays later from that distance, he connected with Philadelphia native Will Fuller who kept his feet in the end zone to haul in the game-winning catch with 2:09 remaining for a 24-20 lead. No. 8 Notre Dame (7-1) slammed the door shut on the upstart, No. 23 Owls (7-1, 4-0) when CB DeiVarae Russell picked off P.J. Walker’s pass at the ND 35 to ice the score to finish off the Irish victory in a game well-played by both squads. For Collegefootballfan.com, it was our second game of this Saturday driving up after the Navy vs. USF game played at noon in Annapolis. We parked in a lot within walking distance from Lincoln Financial Field and walked past day –long tailgate parties coming to an end and passed out college students in the now lighted parking lot on the way into the long lines security lines heading into the stadium. It was well worth the effort to see this game played between a traditional college football power and an up and coming new “beast of the East”, the well-coached Temple Owls. After the close game, the Irish jumped to No. 8 from No. 9 while the Owls remained in the Top 25 falling from No. 21 to 23 attesting to the quality of both teams. Both still have their sights set on major bowl bids at the end of this season.
The Irish wasted no time scoring after the opening kickoff. Kizer (23 for 36 passing, 299 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs; 17 carries for 143 yards and 2 TDs) mixed the pass and run effectively finishing off a 74-yard drive with a four-yard TD run for the early lead. ND’s next possession went for three and out. A 27-yard punt started the Owls from their 42. A 14-yard pass from P.J. Walker ( 13 for 30, 188 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) to Venlett Bryant (6 catches for 91 yards) on a third down followed by a 22-yard completion to Robby Anderson were key plays for Austin Jones to put three up on the board with his 41-yard FG cutting the ND lead, 7-3.
After an exchange of punts in the second period, the Irish drove to the Owl 17. Then after calling for timeout by HC Brian Kelly, LB Praise Martin-Oguike intercepted Kizer’s pass and TU took over from its six. A 39-yard run by Jahad Thomas (21 rushes for 82 yards, 1 TD), a 26-yard pass to Bryant, and a pass interference by ND put Temple on the ND 9. Backed up three yards, Walker fired a pass over the middle to WR Brandon Shippen with his back to the defender who he made contact with and fought this way over the goal line falling over for the TD to grab a 10-7 lead for the Owls. A holding call on the ensuing kickoff set the Irish on its 12. Kizer broke through the right side and once past the defenders in the box against a short yardage situation he raced 79 yards into the end zone to regain the lead for the Irish, 14-10. The Irish forced Temple to a three and out on its next series, and took control back on its 15. The Irish moved down field with some key plays for big gains. On third and six at the Temple 26, Kizer threw a 15-yard completion to Chris Brown (six for 72) for the first down. On third and ten knocking on the door at the 11, All-AAC LB Tyler Matkevich picked off Kizer’s pass over the middle and returned it to the 26 with one minute left to play in the half. The teams went to their respective locker rooms with the Irish up by four.
The Temple Owl Marching Band celebrated Halloween at halftime in front of the sell-out crowd of 69,696. They put on an entertaining “Thriller/Time Warp Show” with the appropriate tunes for the occasion by Michael Jackson and from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” On a very comfortable, seasonably cool evening, I looked forward to the second half not rooting for either team in particular this half. I like both teams. ND was my favorite growing up as a kid, but they were set aside based on my personal affiliations with Penn State and Navy over the years. For Temple, I now have lot of respect for what I’ve seen Matt Rhule, former Nittany Lion LB, do with this program in his third year as Head Coach. The Owls impressed when I saw them beat PSU in the season opener for both schools. From what I’ve seen in person and the program’s results, I think Rhule will be coaching in the Big Ten in the near future, Rutgers or Maryland. He does a great job recruiting in the northeast at Temple which will bode well for him at either aforementioned school. But, I’m most impressed with his game preparation and the execution of his team’s play on the field in all facets. He has surrounded himself with a good staff. He evidently has good organizational and leadership skills to take over a bigger program.
In the third period, the Irish drove to Temple’s six where the Owls held, and PK Justin Yoon kicked a 23-yard FG for a 17-10 Notre Dame lead. Both defenses held to three and outs. Temple was driving at the ND 43 as the third period ended.
Continuing the drive, on fourth and four, Walker completed a 31-yard pass to Robby Anderson who took it to the Fighting Irish seven. Aided by a personal foul, TU picked up a first down and Jahad Thomas banged it over from the one to make the score even between the two ranked teams. Next time the Owls had the ball, they moved 42 yards in eight plays for Jones to convert his second field goal to go ahead of the Irish, 20-17, with 4:45 left to play. At that point, it was Kizer’s arm and his legs that put the Irish in the lead for good to seal the win in a great, entertaining game played by both teams. We’re hoping for the best for both programs through the end of this season.
The Irish will next visit another improving team in the East when they meet ACC opponent Pitt (6-2, 4-1), also a long-time rival of Notre Dame’s. No. 9 Stanford of the PAC 12 looms in the future out in Palo Alto for a key contest that could possibly land either team in the College Football Playoff with a win in that game. Temple travels to SMU in Dallas next weekend. They need to avoid a letdown a week after their first loss. This is a so-called “trap “a game for them as the following week they will host AAC West foe Memphis (8-0,4-0) currently ranked No. 15 in the nation. This could probably also be a prelude to the AAC Championship game (although we’re hoping Navy has something to do with that this weekend). Wins for the Owls the rest of the regular season could bring the AAC championship game right back here to “The Linc” on December 5 (and again we hope Navy…) and if so, we’re going! As for Collegefootballfan.com this weekend, we’ve declared it as our first official BYE week of this season. Not only is it time to rake leaves, take old paint cans to the County Recycling center, and watch some big impact games on TV (Navy-Memphis, LSU-Alabama, ND- Pitt, et al), but we’ve got to finalize some plans for our gala Game # 500 two weeks later on November 21 at West Point when we celebrate at the Rutgers- Army game with two busloads of friends coming along for the festivities. The week before, we will be seeing Games 498 and 499 for our longest regular season trip of this season when we fly out to Colorado. On the evening of Friday, November 13, we will be at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado for the game between the USC Trojans and The Colorado Golden Buffaloes (Go Buffs!). The next day, we will head from there to Colorado Springs for our first Air Force home game when the Falcons host the Utah State Aggies.
Everything is going as planned for what we had hoped would be a great season for CFF.com, and so far it’s been just that! Keep coming back to check out our site for the latest.