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
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
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."