PHILADELPHIA – The biggest game in the history of Temple football lived up to the billing. Unfortunately for Owls fans, it didn't result in a victory over Notre Dame.
DeShone Kizer hit Will Fuller with a 17-yard touchdown pass with 2 minutes, 9 seconds left, KeiVarae Russell picked off a pass to end the last threat and No. 9 Notre Dame escaped with a 24-20 victory over No. 21 Temple on Saturday night.
"It all comes with experience. When you go out there and you do it once or twice, that's how it's going to end up being," said Kizer, the redshirt freshman who took over for the injured Malik Zaire at Virginia. "We know how to go about a fourth-quarter comeback now."
The Owls (7-1) pushed the Fighting Irish (7-1) to the brink and took the lead with 4:45 left on a 36-yard field goal by Austin Jones. But Kizer came right back with a long scoring drive, capped by the TD to his star receiver.
Then the Notre Dame defense stepped up. Temple's P.J. Walker went deep down the right side, but Russell cut underneath the throw and made a diving pick.
Not until the very last play, when Kizer dropped the ball, picked it up and then threw it away to kill the clock, did the Irish get to celebrate.
Kizer finished with 299 yards passing and a 79-yard touchdown run.
The Irish had chances to distance themselves from the Owls, but four red-zone trips produced only 10 points in the first three quarters against a defense that ranked eighth in the country.
The Owls entered the fourth quarter down seven. After a targeting penalty in the end zone by Notre Dame's Elijah Shumate gave Temple a new set of downs, the Owls got it down to the 1 on fourth down. Coach Matt Rhule decided to go for it and Jahad Thomas made a crisp cut to turn the corner and tied the score with 10:51 left.
Temple, a laughingstock for so long, leading the most famous program in the world on Halloween. But Notre Dame would not let an upset happen.