COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Every once in a while, a bully gets flattened by the object of its scorn. That’s what happened Saturday in front of a stunned crowd at Byrd Stadium, where Temple lashed back at Maryland with vengeance in a 38-7 victory.
Bernard Pierce set a school record with five rushing touchdowns, and Temple built a 31-point halftime lead in defeating the brash Terrapins for the first time in a previously lopsided series.
Maryland made it clear when the teams were on the field before the game that this contest would be no different than all the rest. The Terrapins came in 6-0 against the Owls, winning the last two games by a combined 54 points.
“Down where we were warming up at, there were rude things said,” Pierce said.
The Terrapins were speechless by game’s end.
“At the end of the day that’s what you live for,” Pierce said. “You got to love that and you got to come out and try to prove
people wrong and that’s what we did as a team today.”
A week after coming agonizingly close to snapping a 28-game skid against Penn State, Temple (3-1) dominated Maryland (1-2) from the outset. It was 21-0 after the first quarter, 31-0 at halftime and 38-0 before the Terrapins got a meaningless touchdown on a pass by backup quarterback C.J. Brown with 4 1/2 minutes left.
Pierce ran 32 times for 149 yards, including 108 in the first half. He had touchdown runs of 1,9,4, 44 and 13 yards, giving him 12 TDs for the season. The previous school record for rushing touchdowns in a game was four, performed four times previously.
“It’s nice to know I’m back on top of my game, where I should be at,” Pierce said. “Everything just seemed to play out the way we planned all week.”
Not so for the Terrapins. Coach Randy Edsall warned the Terrapins of the Owls’ aggressive nature, but it was evident that
he didn’t get the message across.
“What happened today is unacceptable and really, embarrassing,” he said. “We didn’t rise to the challenge today, pure and simple.”
The Terrapins wore unsightly yellow, black and red uniforms, yet its performance was far uglier. Danny O’Brien was 17 for 33 for 153 yards and an interception, and he also absorbed his first three sacks of the season. The running game produced only 45 yards, and the defense allowed scores on all five of Temple’s first-half possessions.
Maryland was terrible on special teams, too. The Terps had a punt blocked for the first time since 1999 and missed an
opportunity to get a comeback going in the second quarter by roughing the kicker on a fourth-and-14 punt at the Temple 16. Given a second chance, the Owls completed a 93-yard drive to increase its lead to 28-0. After registering an emotional win over Miami in the opener, the Terrapins gave highly regarded West Virginia a scare last week before this dud against the Owls.
Nearly two-thirds of the crowd of 39,102 departed before the end of the third quarter — much to the delight of the Owls.
“They were booing us a lot before the game. It really motivated us,” quarterback Chester Stewart said. “We felt like (the Terps) didn’t respect us too much. We all kind of came out with a chip on our shoulders and we came out ready to play.”
Starting for the first time this season, Stewart completed all six of his passes in the first half and finished 9 for 9 for 140
yards. He also ran for 43 yards. That, combined with a defense that hounded O’Brien all afternoon, produced the Owls’ first BCS win under first-year coach Steve Addazio.
“It’s a great program win,” Addazio said. “You have to respond in college football and I think that we showed that we can
compete and we can play with anybody. We’re awful proud of that.”
Coming off a bitter 14-10 defeat against Penn State, Temple couldn’t have drawn up a better start. After holding the Terrapins to one yard on three plays, the Owls’ first offensive snap produced a 54-yard completion from Stewart to tight end Evan Rodriguez, setting up the first of Pierce’s four first-half scores.
Following another three-and-out for Maryland, Stewart ran for 18 yards on a third-and-5 and connected with Rodriguez on passes of 18 and 18 yards before Pierce made it 14-0. The Owls weren’t done. Temple again forced a punt, and Rod
Streater blocked the kick to set up a touchdown. Maryland had gone 139 straight games without having a punt blocked.
At that point, many in the crowd began to boo the Terps. The jeers continued as the teams changed sides after a first quarter in which Temple led 21-0 and held a 153-47 edge in yardage.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)