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(Saturday, September 7)
Final Score: Houston 22, Temple 13
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Richie Leone kicked five field goals and the Houston Cougars hung on to beat the Temple Owls, 22-13, in the first league game of the new American Athletic Conference at Lincoln Financial Field.
Ryan Jackson ran for 109 yards and sealed the outcome with a fourth-quarter touchdown run for the Cougars (2-0, 1-0 AAC).
Connor Reilly had a tough day under center for the Owls (0-2, 0-1), who fell to 14th-ranked Notre Dame last week, 28-6, in the head coaching debut of Matt Rhule. Reilly completed only 20-of-38 passes for 200 yards and two interceptions, and he was also sacked three times.
Leone's 40-yard field goal gave UH a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Temple responded with a 15-play, 91-yard drive that ended with Kenny Harper's one-yard touchdown plunge. However, Jim Cooper missed the extra point.
The Cougars tied it on another field goal from Leone, this time from 19 yards at the 11:20 mark of the second quarter. Leone tacked on another 19-yarder with 4:40 to play in the half to give UH a 9-6 lead.
However, Temple answered with an 11-play, 75-yard drive, as Harper found the end zone again on a three-yard run to make it a 13-9 game with 50 seconds remaining until halftime.
Leone accounted for all of the scoring in the third quarter with field goals of 24 and 22 yards, the latter of which gave the Cougars a 15-13 lead with five and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Temple responded with a 12-play, 78-yard drive, but Paul Layton missed a 25- yard field goal. On Houston's next play from scrimmage, Xavier Maxwell lost a fumble at the UH 35, giving the ball right back to the Owls in the waning moments of the third quarter. However, Temple went three-and-out and punted the ball right back to the Cougars.
UH went on a 16-play, 87-yard drive, but quarterback John O'Korn took a hit at the 3-yard line and lost a fumble. The Owls offense was once again unable to capitalize as they were eventually forced to punt.
The key play came late in the fourth quarter when Reilly was intercepted by Adrian McDonald, who returned it 40 yards to the Temple 12 with 1:18 to play in regulation. Two plays later, Jackson scored on a 10-yard run to ice the game.
The Cougars consistently shot themselves in the foot inside the red zone, as they managed only one touchdown out of eight chances inside the 20.
09/07 16:44:30 ET
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