No. 21 Maryland halted by late Temple goal-line stands in 20-17 upset loss

Trailing by five after a Temple fourth quarter touchdown with under eight minutes left in the game, Maryland had a wide enough window to comeback. 

Senior wide receiver DJ Turner returned a punt down to the Owls’ four-yard line. Maryland running back Anthony McFarland had one shot less than his No. 5 jersey number of punching the ball into the endzone before a turnover-on-downs returned him to the sidelines.

The second peek at the comeback window came when Temple punter Adam Berry booted the ball out of bounds, after an ensuing three-and-out, for a seven-yard punt. This time, head coach Mike Locksley called on junior transfer quarterback Josh Jackson’s number but three incompletions and a false start that negated McFarland’s previous run closed the blinds shut.

The newly-ranked Terps fell short on their visit to Lincoln Financial Field against the Owls Saturday afternoon, 20-17.

“This is a really good football team,” Locksley said after the game. “ We want to give them all the credit. They executed better than us in at least two phases of the game.”

Temple had numerous miscues on special teams throughout the afternoon, but Maryland could not capitalize on them. The first kickoff of the game put the Terps on the 40-yard line, but the drive ended on fourth down with Jackson throwing an interception early in the first quarter.

The Owls scored first after senior wide receiver Isaiah Wright caught a 29-yard touchdown along the left hash early in the first quarter, Maryland’s first deficit of the season.

After going three-and-out on their next drive, Maryland caught a break as senior defensive back Antoine Brooks Jr. recovered a muffed punt deep in Owl territory, but this marked the start of the Terps’s goal-line-stuffing woes.

McFarland was stuffed at the one-yard line. 

“We had two opportunities down inside the one-yard line and tried to put the ball in our best player’s hands and got stuffed,” Locksley said when asked about the team's inability to score in the endzone. “We need to be able to be physical enough to line up and give Anthony McFarland the ball and get a yard.”

Temple had another mistake on special teams in the middle of the first as their punter could not hold on to a low snap and lost the ball in the back of their endzone, resulting in a safety.

Jackson did not look like the player who had thrown for 541 yards and seven touchdowns in his first two starts, as he was under constant pressure from the Owl’s front seven. He was sacked four times and finished the game throwing for 183 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. 

On the Terps’ first drive of the second half, McFarland broke off for a 33-yard run down the left sideline and later punched in a fourth-and-one conversion from Temple’s four-yard line to put Maryland up 9-7. McFarland finished with 132 rushing yards and one touchdown. He has seven rushing touchdowns in the last five games and leads the Big Ten conference.

The Owls’ answered right away, however, with a 79-yard touchdown on the first play of their drive. They led 13-9 after a failed two-point conversion attempt.

The Terps’ defense came up big in the second half with  an interception from sophomore linebacker Chance Campbell and a recovered fumble from senior defensive back Marcus Lewis to stop two drives in Maryland territory.

Their offense was able to capitalize off of the interception as Jackson connected with graduate transfer tight end Tyler Mabry for a 17-yard touchdown to put the Terps up 15-13 with just under three minutes left in the third.

Numerous pass interference penalties committed by the Terps in the fourth quarter aided the Owls on their go-ahead drive, which they capped off with a seven-yard touchdown.

Locksley said that the team will use their upcoming bye week to watch film, get healthy and get ready for their next opponent.

Maryland will host No. 13 Penn State on Sept. 27 at Capital One Field at 8 p.m.