October 12, 2019 / 8:03 PM / 11 days ago

Opportunistic Temple upsets No. 23 Memphis

EditorsNote: update: minor editing

Temple’s defense forced four Memphis turnovers that led to 16 points and hung on at the end as the Owls upset the No. 23 Tigers 30-28 on Saturday in Philadelphia.

Temple nearly sacked Memphis quarterback Brady White on fourth-and-9 with 1:50 left, but his desperation heave to diving tight end Joey Magnifico — good enough for a first down — was initially called a catch.

However, a booth replay overturned the completion, allowing the Owls to run out all but 48 seconds and pin Memphis at its 16. Temple (5-1, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) then held off five Memphis offensive plays for the upset.

Temple quarterback Anthony Russo finished 20 of 33 for 224 yards and two touchdowns, and wide receiver Branden Mack grabbed nine receptions for 125 yards and a score.

Kicker Will Mobley booted three field goals.

White finished 28 of 43 for 363 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Running back Kenneth Gainwell rushed 19 times for 106 yards with a score and caught eight passes for 98 yards for the Tigers (5-1, 1-1).

Temple’s defense made stops on its first five series and forced three turnovers as the Owls jumped out to a 16-0 lead.

After holding Memphis on the contest’s first series, Temple tallied first on Jager Gardner’s 1-yard plunge at 10:51 to get the home crowd into it.

Defensive back Harrison Hand intercepted White on Memphis’ second series, and Mobley added a 31-yard field goal to boost the early lead to 10-0.

A 32-yard fumble return by Sam Franklin on a sack of White led to Mobley’s second successful kick, from 29 yards, for a 13-0 edge with 5:06 left in the quarter.

Mobley lined a career-long 44-yarder early in the second quarter after the home side recovered a second Memphis fumble.

However, the Tigers cashed in after Temple’s first turnover. White rolled left and tossed a 14-yard score to Damonte Coxie with six minutes left in the half.

Wide receiver Isaiah Wright raced in with a 12-yard pass for Temple, hurdling over the goal line, but Gainwell ran in from 25 yards to close out the half with Temple up 23-14.

A 23-yard TD run by Kylan Watkins trimmed Memphis’ deficit to 23-21 with 7:55 left in the third quarter.

Temple scored for the fourth time off a Memphis turnover — another fumble by White — when Russo tossed a 12-yard strike to Mack for a 30-21 lead early in the fourth quarter.

White answered with a 3-yard TD pass to Tyce Daniel with 9:58 remaining to make it 30-28.

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