COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A week ago, Temple redshirt sophomore Anthony Russo earned his first collegiate playing time at quarterback, appearing in two series during the Owls' 36-29 loss to visiting Buffalo.
On Saturday, Russo made his first start when starting quarterback Frank Nutile was unable to go due to an unspecified injury.
Russo, who learned of his starting role an hour before kickoff, made it a memorable starting debut, as he helped Temple rebound from losing its first two games to defeat Maryland, 35-14, in a dominating performance at Capital One Field.
A redshirt sophomore, Russo completed 15 of 25 passes for 228 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
"It is awesome, it is exciting," said Russo. "We had a great team win, our defense played out of their mind, our offensive line, I think I was hit only two or three times all game."
Russo, who was not sacked, played a major role in what could turn Temple's season around after opening losses to Villanova and Buffalo.
"This is insane, especially against a great defensive team like Maryland," he said. "I am just excited and happy as hell to be out there."
He learned an hour before the game that he would get the start.
Russo bounced back from throwing a pick-six, to lead the Owls to a touchdown on the next series and extend their lead to 21-7 at halftime.
He then threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to wide-open tight end Kenny Yeboah on the first series of the second half.
"Playing a Big Ten team out of conference at their stadium with a big crowd (32,057), that is what you want," said Russo, who credited Nutile for helping him throughout the game. "It was pretty awesome when I heard I was going to start."
Temple's defense didn't allow a point. Besides the interception return, the Terrapins scored on a blocked punt. The Owls held Maryland to 195 total yards. The Terps, who averaged 39.5 points in their first two wins over Texas and Bowling Green, were 1-for-12 on third down conversions.
"We tackled well," defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker said. "…We played really hard and ran to the football. You could feel the energy."