WEST POINT, N.Y. — Temple’s season was so close to being revived, but the oxygen was sucked out by a last-second touchdown in regulation and a field goal miss in overtime.
The result was a 31-28 loss to a resilient Army team before 34,876 at picturesque Michie Stadium on Saturday.
Army’s Kelvin Hopkins found Jermaine Adams on a 16-yard scoring pass with one second left in regulation and the Black Knights then got a 29-yard field goal by Blake Wilson in overtime.
The Owls’ chance to send the game into a second overtime ended when Aaron Boumerhi was wide left on a 27-yard field goal try, a bitterly disappointing conclusion for a team that was without its starting quarterback and seemingly most of its offensive line.
The Owls are 3-5 and must go 3-1 in their final four games to become bowl-eligible. Army (6-2) extended its winning streak to four games.
“It hurts a lot, more than just a little bit,” said linebacker Shaun Bradley, who had a team-high 11 tackles.
Army tied the score at 28-28 when Adams caught the back-shoulder pass with Temple’s Mike Jones in coverage.
“We brought all-out pressure on that play,” Owls coach Geoff Collins said.
It wasn’t enough.
— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) October 22, 2017
Quarterback Frank Nutile made his first career start for the Owls an impressive one despite the outcome. The redshirt junior replaced Logan Marchi, who was the holder for field-goal and PAT attempts. Collins said Marchi wouldn’t have been able to play quarterback.
“He is banged up pretty good,” Collins said of Marchi.
Nutile, who had 19 career passing attempts entering the game, completed 20 of 29 passes for 290 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.
“This team is really hurting, I am really hurting,” Nutile said. “We played out butts off against a good team.”
Ryquell Armstead gave the Owls a 28-21 lead with a 21-yard run over the left side with 1 minute, 38 seconds left.
The Black Knights run the triple-option attack and had attempted only 38 passes in their first seven games. Army brought in one of its “passing” quarterbacks, Kelvin Hopkins, for that final series in regulation.
After a 21-yard kickoff return, Army went 79 yards in 14 plays, with just one timeout. Hopkins was 5 of 10 for 67 yards on that drive.
“We were trying to prevent them from going long, but they got little plays and made a good play at the end of the game,” Bradley said.
Armstead’s 43-yard touchdown run with 13:21 left in the fourth quarter gave Temple a 21-14 lead. He finished with 151 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.
With Temple still leading, 21-14, Boumerhi lined up for a 52-yard field goal, but the Owls were called for delay of game. So Temple ended up punting and Army made the Owls pay. Darnell Woolfolk’s third touchdown of the day, a 44-yard run up the middle with 5:03 left, tied the score at 21-21.
It was a rough day for Temple’s special teams. The Owls had a punt blocked and missed an earlier 32-yard field goal.
Temple was also playing with a depleted offensive line. Center Matt Hennessy, who started the first seven games, didn’t make the trip because of illness, Collins said. Redshirt junior Gordon Thomas replaced him, making his first college start. Another redshirt junior, James McHale, made his first start at left tackle and also played left guard.
Army opened the scoring with an 11-yard run by Woolfolk with 51 seconds left in the first quarter.
Army’s Cole Christiansen blocked an Alex Starzyk punt, giving the Black Knights the ball on Temple’s 28 and setting up the Black Knights’ second touchdown, a 4-yard run by Woolfolk
The Owls answered on the next series, when Isaiah Wright, lining up in the Wildcat, took the direct snap and dashed 50 yards for a score. with 10:05 left in the second quarter. This was a different Wildcat look that Temple has shown, with six players lined on the left and five on the right.
Wright had three receptions for 79 yards and four carries for 52 yards as he is becoming a bigger part of the offense each week.
Temple scored on its next possession when Nutile hit Adonis Jennings in stride for a 37-yard touchdown with 3:38 left in the second quarter.