Coverage: ESPN Classic
7:00 PM ET, August 29, 2008
Michie Stadium, West Point, NY
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Adam DiMichele threw two touchdown passes and Temple took advantage of two Army mistakes for a big early lead in a 35-7 victory Friday night.
Playing their first opener in August in their 119th season, the Black Knights struggled with a new option offense and their inexperienced defense produced little.
"I don't want to make excuses for the offense," fullback Collin Mooney said. "We've had plenty of time for preparation, and in my heart I thought we were ready. But we just didn't produce like we should have."
Temple (1-0) capitalized on the Army miscues to take a 21-0 lead barely 15 minutes into the game. Jamal Schulters made it 28-0 when he returned the second half kickoff 98 yards.
DiMichele, who missed the last four games last season with a fractured left tibia, finished 15-for-22 for 159 yards and had one interception.
"What can you say about him? Should he even be out there medically?" Temple coach Al Golden said. "He's a great kid, he looked good, no limp, just really did a nice job."
Mooney led Army with 81 yards on 26 carries. Carson Williams finished 6-for-14 for 74 yards and threw one interception. He added 16 yards rushing on 10 carries.
Army coach Stan Brock said he felt his young defense played well enough to win, but acknowledged the work ahead for Army on both sides of the ball.
"I think the young guys did a pretty good job," linebacker Frank Scappaticci said. "They're going to improve. I just feel like our defense, once we give up that many plays, we didn't we didn't force enough turnovers."
Though he said he briefly considered pulling Williams at halftime -- the junior responded by leading the Black Knights on their lone scoring drive when they got the ball back after Schulters' touchdown -- Brock said he had no temptation to ditch the option midway through the game.
"I said over the headphones, 'We are who we are. Let's stay with what we do,' " Brock said.
"I would say there's still a lot to work on," Williams said. "We worked on it for the spring and the fall going into this game, and at times we thought we were on our way. ... This was a good test. It's obvious that we still need to work on a few things."
Temple hardly needed its offense to do much to build its big lead. Army (0-1) had the ball nearly 14 minutes longer and outgained the Owls 284 yards to 250.
"We hung in there. It was a tough attack," Golden said. "We didn't know what they were going to do on offense and defense. They threw a lot at us on defense, which was different that their approach last year."
Of the Owls' first four touchdowns, only one came following a sustained offensive drive. Temple set up its first TD by scoring three plays after Tommie Williams recovered a fumbled punt return by Carlo Sandiego at the Army 8.
The Owls scored on a 17-yard return by Morkeith Brown off a fumbled exchange between Williams and fullback Robert McClary. And they opened the second half with Schulters' big return.
Brock implemented a new option-based attack to start this season, which the Black Knights used from 1984-99. But except for a 78-drive early in the third quarter that ended in a 1-yard touchdown run by Tony Dace -- bringing the Black Knights within 28-7 -- and a 60-yard drive that ended 1 yard shy of the end zone midway through the fourth quarter, Army had trouble sustaining drives.
"I think that when we executed correctly we gave ourselves an opportunity," Brock said. "Without the turnovers, you're in a football game."
After their last meeting 11 months ago, when Army beat Temple 37-21, the teams have gone in opposite directions. The Black Knights won once more before losing their final six games last season. Meanwhile, Temple snapped a five-game losing streak after the Army defeat, closing their season on a 4-3 run.
"Like I told the team today, the only goal that was lost today was the perfect season," Brock said. "I still believe what we are doing is the right thing. The people that we have doing it are the right people. ... We have a lot to work on, but I still believe in what we are doing."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-10||8-18|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||1-3|
|TD||06:06||Bruce Francis 5 Yd Pass From Adam Dimichele (Jake Brownell Kick) |
Drive: 3 plays, 8 yds, 1:32
|TD||00:31||Steve Maneri 7 Yd Pass From Adam Dimichele (Jake Brownell Kick) |
Drive: 10 plays, 71 yds, 4:06
|TD||14:50||Morkeith Brown 17 Yd Fumble Return (Jake Brownell Kick)||21||0|
|TD||14:42||Jamal Schulters 98 Yd Kickoff Return (Jake Brownell Kick)||28||0|
|TD||07:10||Tony Dace 1 Yd Run (Adam Demarco Kick) |
Drive: 14 plays, 78 yds, 7:35
|TD||13:50||Marquise Liverpool 1 Yd Run (Jake Brownell Kick) |
Drive: 10 plays, 67 yds, 3:05