After leading early, Charlotte fell victim to the big play, resulting in four second-quarter Temple touchdowns, as the Owls cruised to a 48-20 win Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Charlotte (1-3) took a 7-3 lead into the second quarter, courtesy of quarterback Kevin Olsen’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Workpeh Kopa, before things quickly spiraled out of control.
Two plays later, Temple quarterback Philip Walker, who had briefly left the game after taking a hit, hooked up on a 51-yard scoring strike to Adonis Jennings, putting the Owls (2-2) back on top, 10-7.
Things then went from bad to worse for the 49ers when running back Kalif Phillips’ fumble was scooped up by Temple’s Praise Martin-Oguike and returned 20 yards to the 13.
On the next play, running back Jahad Thomas turned the corner and shook off an arm tackle to score, making it 17-7 for the Owls.
That was not for long, as Charlotte went three-and-out, with Temple taking over after a 16-yard punt. Three plays later, Walker rolled right and found Brodrick Yancy behind the secondary for 40-yard touchdown.
When running Ryquell Armstead scored from a yard out, the Owls had a 31-7 lead at halftime.
It got only worse it the second half for Charlotte. After Phillips’ 66-yard touchdown run cut it to 31-14, Temple reeled off 17 unanswered points, clearing its bench by the end of the third quarter.
Three Who Mattered
Walker: Temple’s senior quarterback was on target all day, throwing for 268 yards and two long touchdowns. Thomas, who missed the first two games with a hand injury, had 132 all-purpose yards – 68 rushing – and a touchdown.
Phillips: His 66-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter was the fifth-longest run in school history. His 77-yard scoring bolt against Charleston Southern in 2014 is the longest. He finished the day with 114 yards on 16 carries.
T.L. Ford: Entering the game with 12 catches for 168 yards , Ford hauled in five passes for 92 yards. His 28-yard sideline grab set the stage for Charlotte to take an early 7-3 lead.
▪ The 49ers were suckered on a couple of play-action passes that resulted in big gains for the Owls. Walker had good protection on his touchdown pass and later hooked up with Thomas for 44 yards on a wheel route.
▪ Charlotte has to improve its punting game. Arthur Hart averaged 32.8 yards on six tries, with a low of 16. The good news is those low-rolling punts don’t allow much for returns.
▪ After facing nonconference powers Louisville, Eastern Michigan and Temple, the 49ers’ schedule should turn more favorable in Conference USA, beginning next week when they host Old Dominion, followed by Florida Atlantic on the road.
▪ No ‘D’ in ‘Charlotte’: The 49ers have surrendered 169 points this season, a 42.5 average.
Phillips 66: Phillips’ 66-yard touchdown run helped him achieve the 18th 100-yard rushing game in school history. He has 12 of them.
Winchester down again: Cornerback Terrance Winchester separated his shoulder again, though coach Brad Lambert said it would not require surgery. His status is day-to-day.
They Said It
“We gave up too many big plays. Give Temple credit – they went play action and hit us deep one play and on the wheel route another. Those are plays you can’t give up and can’t survive. You’ve got to make people earn it.” – 49ers coach Brad Lambert
“The level of competition we’ve been playing and the pace should help us going into conference play when it’ll slow down a bit. We need to put these four nonconference games in the past, learn from them and get ready to hit the conference full speed.” – 49ers linebacker Nick Cook
“It’s an honor to have it. I’ll keep it in my heart so that one day I can look back and say ‘I did that.’ But I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my O-line.” – 49ers running back Kalif Phillips on his 12th 100-yard game.