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.''