Temple 24, Miami (Ohio) 21

Temple played without its star running back, but the Owls didn’t

miss a beat.

Matt Brown ran for 123 yards and a touchdown and Temple edged

Miami (Ohio), 24-21, on Wednesday to snap a two-game losing

streak.

Brown filled in for Owls leading rusher Bernard Pierce, who

sustained a head injury in a 35-31 loss to Ohio Nov. 2. Pierce is

among the nation’s leaders with 19 touchdowns, and is averaging 115

yards per game.

”It was my offensive line,” Brown said. ”They were opening

these massive holes and I was just filling them.

”All praise goes to them.”

The game was played in front of a subdued crowd of 17,050 in

Lincoln Financial Field, some 3 1/2 hours from State College, Pa.,

where the sports world was rocked by the Penn State football

scandal. During the second half, news filled the stadium that Joe

Paterno, who went 28-0 in his career against Temple, and led the

Nittany Lions to a 14-10 win over the Owls in September here, had

been fired.

”I’m really not up to speed on anything,” Temple coach Steve

Addazio said, ”and I really would never want to comment on

something that I don’t really have any facts other than this whole

thing to me is so incredibly sad on every front.”

Chris Coyer, making his first career start, was 10 of 19 for 92

yards and a touchdown and ran for 97 yards and a score as the Owls

improved to 6-4, 4-3 in the Mid-American Conference. Temple is now

in second place in the MAC East, percentage points behind Ohio.

”We felt like we had a great team win tonight,” said Addazio,

who is now bowl eligible in his rookie season. ”At some point

during a season you have to find a way to win a football game like

that, down players and everything else.

”I’m real happy for that.”

Despite the loss, Miami’s Nick Harwell put on a show. He had 15

receptions for 229 yards, both school records, and two touchdowns.

His quarterback, Zac Dysert, threw for 364 yards and three scores,

as the RedHawks fell to 4-6, 3-3.

The Owls sacked Dysert seven times, the most the RedHawks have

allowed this season. In the end, he finished 28-of-37 with two

interceptions.

”Their pass rush really hurt us in the first half,” Miami

coach Don Treadwell said, ”but overall we didn’t play as well as

we could have.”

Coyer, a sophomore who relieved Chester Stewart at Ohio, helped

Temple jump to a 10-point halftime lead. His 10-yard scoring pass

to Deon Miller early in the second put Temple up 10-7, and the Owls

went ahead 17-7 when Coyer ran it in from 9 yards out one play

after Adrian Robinson’s interception.

”Temple’s quarterback did a great job and was their missing

link,” Treadwell said. ”He was one more guy that we had to

cover.”

Miami pulled to within three points on Dysert’s 25-yard pass to

Chris Givens with 4:50 left in the third. But Temple regained a

10-point lead on Brown’s 2-yard run early in the fourth.

The RedHawks closed to 24-21 on Harwell’s second score, a

14-yard catch, with 3:57 left before Brown sealed the deal by

rushing for 22 yards on the Owls’ eight-play, 31-yard drive that

ran out the clock.

”That guy was a warrior,” Addazio said of the 5-foot-5,

170-pound Brown. ”How about that little guy? And the offensive

line rocked off that ball with a hell of a deal.”

So focused on the game and its buildup, and trying to end an

Owls skid, Addazio, a former assistant at Florida, wasn’t even

aware of Paterno’s firing until asked about it in his postgame

press conference.

Turns out, Addazio was across the sidelines from Paterno in his

final bowl game, a 37-24 Florida win on Jan. 1. And the Owls’ loss

to the Nittany Lions on Sept. 17 here started a Paterno winning

streak that reached – and has now ended at – seven games.

”I didn’t know that,” he said of the firing. ”My head has

been down. All we did today was try to get prepared for a football

game. I don’t know what to say right now.

”The whole situation is extremely sad.”