ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- For 30 minutes, Navy's bowl hopes were in
But the Midshipmen scored 24 straight points in the second half
to beat Temple 38-17 Saturday, becoming bowl eligible for the third
consecutive year and clinching a winless season for the Owls.
Adam Ballard rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries
for the Midshipmen (6-4), who trailed 17-14 at halftime before
shutting out Temple in the second half, scoring on drives of 85, 80
and 81 yards.
Navy could go to a third straight bowl for the first time in
"Like so many games this season, we played just well enough to
win. This wasn't pretty," Navy coach Paul Johnson said. "We
played much better in the second half than the first."
The Houston, Liberty and Poinsettia bowls are possibilities for
Navy, which has one game remaining, against Army.
The Owls (0-11) did not win a game on the field for the first
time since 1959. Temple also finished 0-11 in 1986 after forfeiting
six victories for using an ineligible player. The game was the last
for Temple coach Bobby Wallace, who announced in October that he
would not be back. The Owls were 19-71 during his eight years as
"This is my 33rd year in college football, including the years
I played," Wallace said. "That's a lot of games."
Lamar Owens threw for 120 yards and rushed for 84, and Marco
Nelson added 83 yards rushing, including a 22-yard touchdown, for
the Midshipmen, who finished with 495 yards of total offense,
including 375 on the ground.
"We all knew what was riding on this game," Owens said. "The
coaches talked to us about blocking all of that out. But it seemed
guys were playing not to lose in the first half."
Temple came into the game as the lowest-scoring team in Division
I-A, but gained a season-best 383 yards. Mike McGann completed 24
of 38 passes for 245 yards, and Umar Ferguson rushed for 116 yards
on 22 carries. Bruce Gordon had 10 catches for 125 yards.
The Owls led at halftime for the first time this season, and
their 17 points tied a season-high. Temple gained 241 yards in the
first half and moved into Navy territory on all five possessions.
"We stayed positive," said Antwon Burton, who led the Owls
with 14 tackles and recovered a fumble. "Given the underdog
position that we were in, I'm still glad for the people that are
around me, including the coaches."
Nelson opened the scoring with a 22-yard run early in the second
quarter, capping a 14-play, 80-yard drive for the Midshipmen. The
drive included two fourth-down conversions, including one on a fake
punt from the Navy 29.
Temple tied the game less than four minutes later on Josh
Bundy's 1-yard touchdown run.
Navy took a 14-7 lead after a 3-yard run by Owens with 6:01 left
in the half, but Temple countered with a 65-yard drive, capped by a
22-yard pass from McGann to Gordon with 3:38 remaining. The Owls
tacked on a field goal to close the half.
"At halftime, I told (the players) I was embarrassed," Johnson
said. "I told them that that we can play better than that. That,
and a few other things."
The Midshipmen tied it with a field goal early in the third
quarter, set up by a 65-yard pass from Owens to Nelson. After
blocking a field goal attempt, the Midshipmen drove 80 yards and
took the lead on Owens' 11-yard run.
The Midshipmen padded their lead with an 81-yard drive that
covered six minutes, ending with Ballard's 4-yard run. On Temple's
next possession, Tyler Tidwell tackled McGann to force a fumble,
and John Chan returned it 41 yards for a touchdown with 2:33
remaining in the game.
"In the second half, we blocked the field goal and backed them
up on penalties," Johnson said. "We made the plays to get them
off the field."