Temple falls to Army, 28-13

OWLSFB03-A
Disappointed Temple fans late in the fourth quarter of the Army-Temple football game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Sept. 2, 2016.

The Temple football players and coaches talked during training camp of needing extra time to prepare for the unconventional offense of opening opponent Army.

It turns out that the extra time wasn't much assistance.

With Army darting all over the field with its triple option attack, the Black Knights, more than a two-touchdown underdog, ran all over Temple during Friday's 28-13 win over the Owls before 34,005 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Temple has lost three straight games, and the shine of last year's landmark 10-4 season has clearly faded.

Army, coming off a 2-10 season, rushed for 329 yards, averaging 5 yards per carry. The Black Knights didn't attempt a pass in the second half and only five in the game.

"They were just knocking us off the ball, and we weren't able to knock them back," Temple coach Matt Rhule said.

Temple also struggled on offense with dropped passes and misguided ones. Senior Phillip Walker, who threw just eight interceptions in 14 games last year, completed 12 of 26 passes for 168 yards and three interceptions. He was also sacked four times by a relentless blitzing Black Knights defense.

"I thought we moved the ball well. We just didn't execute in the red zone," said Walker, who became Temple's all-time leader with 7,542 passing yards.

Trailing, 10-7, at the half, Army took the lead for good on Andy Davidson's 3-yard run capping a 12-play, 77-yard drive opening third quarter drive

Temple had to settle for an Austin Jones 27-yard field goal on its first drive of the second half, which consumed 6 minutes, 49 seconds.

A key play earlier in the drive was when Temple's Keith Kirkwood failed to catch a low pass in the end zone. It would have been a difficult but not impossible pass to catch.

Army extended the lead to 21-13 on Tyler Campbell's 12-yard run with 9:38 left. That capped a 14-play, 81-yard drive that took 6:45.

The Black Knights had a chance to put the game away, but Mitchell Howard missed badly on a 47-yard field goal attempt with 3:41 left.

Two plays later, Army linebacker Kenneth Brinson intercepted Walker, giving the Black Knights the ball on Temple's 36 with 3:11 remaining.

Davidson then sealed the win with a 17-yard touchdown run with 2:28 left.

Army enjoyed a time of possession advantage of 35:48, compared to 24:12 for Temple.

"It was very tiring, and you usually don't do the things you do [well] when you're not tired," Owls safety Sean Chandler said.

Temple was marching on the game's opening drive before Army's Marshall Hyatt's interception and return gave the Black Knights the ball at their own 42.

Walker hit Brodrick Yancy in the hands, but the ball deflected off him and into the arms of Hyatt.

The Owls scored first on Ryquell Armstead's 6-yard run with 14:32 left in the first half.

Armstead, the sophomore from Millville, was starting in place of all-American Athletic Conference selection Jahad Thomas, who suffered a sprained left hand earlier in camp. Rhule said Thomas probably won't play next week against Stony Brook, and he doesn't know about the following week at Penn State.

Army tied the score with nine minutes left in the first half on Ahmad Bradshaw's 10-yard run.

Later in the half, Temple's Sharif Finch performed his specialty - the blocked punt. It was the fourth of his career and led to a Jones 41-yard field goal that gave Temple a 10-7 halftime lead.

mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard