The Temple offense took over 45 minutes of game time to really come alive against 20th ranked Cincinnati, but Anthony Russo and the Owls delivered when it mattered most.
After throwing an interception on the prior drive, Russo came back with a vengeance, hitting a streaking Branden Mack in the endzone for a game-tying 20-yard touchdown with 49 seconds to go in regulation.
After the Bearcat drive stalled sending the game to overtime, Russo threw a 25-yard strike to Isaiah Wright on 3rd and 10 to give the Owls the lead in overtime. The defense took care of the rest, picking off Desmond Ridder on 3rd and 26 to seal the upset.
It wasn’t a great performance by Russo, but he came through when it mattered most and led the Owls to their fifth win of the season, and fourth win in conference play, to remain undefeated.
“He’s a dog. It’s on to the next play for him,” said Michael Dogbe. “If he makes a mistake, a bad play, don’t worry about it.”
Russo finished the day with 237 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. For the 3rd straight game he was kept clean, as the Temple offensive line did not allow a sack to the talented defense of Cincinnati.
On the other side of the ball, the Temple defense kept the Owls in the game, holding Cincinnati to just 17 points, and shutting them out in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Leading the way was senior Delvon Randall, who was almost disqualified for targeting, with nine tackles on the day. He was joined by Michael Dogbe who registered 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss, along with Isaiah Graham-Mobley who also picked up a sack on the afternoon.
The biggest play of the game came at the hands of linebacker Shaun Bradley, who picked off Ridder in overtime to knock off the Bearcats.
“Those guys fought their tails off,” said head coach Geoff Collins. “They stayed together and never doubted. Play after play after play they just kept executing and fighting together.”
Next up for Temple is another undefeated opponent in UCF, and the 10th ranked Knights. The Owls will look for their third straight win, and to remain undefeated in conference play.
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