2:00 PM ET, September 16, 2006
2:00 PM ET, September 16, 2006
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Al Golden knew turning around Temple's woeful football program wasn't going to be easy when he took the coaching job in December.
Three weeks into his first season, even he may have underestimated the enormity of the task.
"I'm not used to losing," said the 37-year-old Golden, who left the defensive coordinator job at Virginia to coach the Owls. "I'm never going to be used to losing. But I'm not going to get discouraged."
How could he not be?
Cupito hit Payne on scoring plays of 25, 2, 10 and 67 yards, all in the first half, and the Gophers (2-1) bounced back from a loss at California last week with an easy win over the inept Owls (0-3).
Payne finished with six catches for 136 yards.
After losing 42-17 in a rare nonconference game against a BCS school, the Gophers wolfed down another cupcake, taking a 45-0 lead at halftime to give Temple its 15th straight loss.
"After losing to Cal like we did, you want to get back on track, get focused again," said Amir Pinnix, who rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown.
They got on track in a big way on Saturday, thanks in large part to the overmatched Owls.
Golden is the latest to be charged with turning the program around, and it's clear he still has a lot of work to do. The Owls have been outscored 124-0 in the last two games, including a 62-0 loss to Louisville at home last week.
"I don't know what exactly to say," Gophers coach Glen Mason said. "We knew in some regard Temple would be outmanned. In a game like this, when that's the case, you don't make mistakes and they do, and you capitalize, it tends to get away from you. It got away from both teams, I guess."
Temple didn't wait long to give this one away. On the fourth play from scrimmage, Adam DiMichele stepped up in the pocket and threw a pass right into the arms of Gopher safety Dominique Barber.
The turnover gave the Gophers the ball on the Temple 40, and after converting a fourth-and-1 at the 30, Cupito connected with Payne on a 25-yard touchdown. Payne caught the pass at the 15, wheeled and used a nice stiff arm to fight his way into the end zone.
On the ensuing possession, DiMichele was sacked by Steve Davis and Eric Clark. Davis stripped the ball away, giving the Gophers a first-and-goal at the Temple 9.
After Andre Neblett stuffed Alex Daniels on third down at the 1, Cupito made a nice play-action fake and hit a wide open Payne for a 2-yard touchdown, and the route was on.
Just when it looked like the Owls might actually make the Gophers start a drive on the other side of the 50, punter Jake Brownell couldn't handle a high snap and was tackled at the 10.
Cupito's third TD pass to Payne came two plays later to give the Gophers a 21-0 lead. Cupito was 8-for-12 for 148 yards and four TDs in two quarters of work.
"We kept having the ball on their side of the field, which is great," Cupito said. "It seemed like we had it in the red zone two or three times before we even got out there."
One of the youngest teams in the nation, the Owls showed their youth in every aspect of the game. They managed just 157 yards of offense, constantly dropped passes and fumbled pitches and committed careless penalties throughout.
The defense finally forced the Gophers to punt on their fifth possession, but Bruce Francis was flagged for roughing the punter to give Minnesota a first down. Daniels scored from six yards out six plays later and it was 35-0.
"Coach Mason and his staff are established," Golden said. "They know who they are. We don't know who we are right now. We're not in their league right now."