DALLAS (FWAA) – The Temple Owls gave their school-record home crowd of 69,176 at Lincoln Financial Field a win for the history books in a 27-10 upset over in-state rival Penn State. The Owls beat the Nittany Lions for the first time since 1941, snapping a series winless streak that spanned 39 games. The momentous start earned the Owls (1-0) the AutoNation National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 5.
Quarterback P.J. Walker scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter for a 17-10 lead, and a Temple defense that registered 10 sacks held Penn State scoreless for the final three quarters after yielding 10 points on PSU’s first two possessions. An interception by Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich set up Walker’s touchdown. Matakevich also had a career-high three sacks and a team-high seven tackles. Jahad Thomas rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
“I am very proud of Temple, our fans, our students, our trustees, our president. Everybody that stuck with us and hopefully this won’t be the only highlight of the season,” Temple coach Matt Rhule said. “The reason I believe we won is because we focused on ourselves and the players bought into that and only worrying about the next play. After the game I said, ‘We won.’ It’s not about Penn State; it is about us. For our guys to do that and focus on themselves shows great maturity.”
Other AutoNation National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Sept. 5 included:
• BYU (1-0): The play doesn’t have a name yet, but stay tuned. What for now will be called a Hail Mary pass may soon be the dubbed Mangum-to-Mathews Miracle after the Cougars scored on a 42-yard heave on the final play of a stunning 33-28 win at Nebraska. Tanner Mangum came in at quarterback in the first quarter after starter Taysom Hill went down with a season-ending injury. On BYU’s final drive following a Nebraska missed field goal, Mangum led BYU just past midfield with no timeouts left to set up the winning play. Mitch Mathews caught the ball just over the goal line, and the play stood up to video review. The loss ended Nebraska’s a 29-year streak of home-opening wins.
• Illinois (1-0): The Illini scored 45 points on their first 42 plays and routed Kent State 52-3 after a one-day weather delay and only days after their head coach was fired. Illinois just missed its first shutout since September 2012. Short fields in the first quarter and Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt’s four touchdowns on 11-of-19 passing helped open up a 38-0 halftime lead for Bill Cubit’s team.
• Northwestern (1-0): The Wildcats out-rushed Stanford 225-85 and got their first victory in the series since 1958 with a 16-6 home win. Justin Jackson ran for 134 yards for Northwestern, which opened its season at home for only the second time since 2009. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald is now 9-1 in season openers at Northwestern, and the Wildcats are 16-5 in their last 21 opening games.