WEST POINT, N.Y. Army scored five touchdowns in four different ways en route to a 37-21 victory against Temple in front of more than 34,000 fans at Michie Stadium on Saturday. Corey Anderson returned a kickoff for six, Jeremy Trimble scored on a punt return and a pass reception, Justin Larson added a touchdown catch and Jordan Murray recovered a fumble in the end zone as the Black Knights improved to 2-3 on the season and 2-0 at home.
Anderson opened the game by returning the kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Murray fell on a loose ball in the second quarter and Trimble scored on two separate plays totaling 154 yards as the Black Knights remained unbeaten at home this season and improved to 4-1 all-time vs. Temple.
Carson Williams, making his third start of the season, completed 11-of-26 passes for 175 yards and two scores. Trimble caught five passes for 125 yards and returned three punts for 128 yards. He also rushed for five yards, racking up 258 all-purpose yards. Anderson had two kick returns for 102 yards. Tony Dace and Patrick Mealy each rushed for 54 yards.
“We’re happy with the win,” said Army head coach Stan Brock. “Our goal is to be 1-0 every week and this week we reached our goal. It was a tribute to everybody on the field offense, defense and special teams.
“I think that in the first half, we were probably a little wound up,” Brock continued. “That could have been me having them a little too excited. They settled down in the second half and got where they were supposed to be and knew what they were supposed to do.”
Temple quarterback Adam DiMichele completed 23-of-42 passes for 314 yards and a pair of scores but was intercepted twice. Tailback Jason Harper rushed for 71 yards and a score on 24 carries.
Linebacker Frank Scappaticci led Army with 10 tackles, seven of them primary hits, the same number as Caleb Campbell, who also forced a fumble and broke up a pass. John Laird had seven tackles and teamed with Joshua McNary on a sack. John Wright forced a fumble and Josh Mitchell and Brandon Thompson each had interceptions.
“We’ve talked before about how we are not a team that will just line up offensively and beat you,” said Brock. “We know that our defense and special teams are good. When we all pitch in and all help, that solid performance all the way around is what we are looking for. We know that here are still a lot of things we can improve.”
Anderson got the Black Knights off to a great start. The opening kickoff bounced around for a second before Anderson picked it up and follow his wedge of blockers to the end zone, an 88-yard scoring return. Owen Tolson kicked the first of his four extra points for a 7-0 Army lead just 17 seconds into the content.
Temple tied the score late in the first quarter when a 9-play, 84-yard drive culminated with DiMichele finding Jason Harper for a 25-yard touchdown.
The Black Knights went back ahead in the second quarter. Campbell jarred the ball loose at the Temple 24-yard line and Murray was on the bottom of the pile for the recovery in the end zone and a 14-7 Army lead after Tolson’s PAT.
“I was just coming down to do my responsibility and I saw Caleb just knock the ball about 20 feet in the air. I was running toward the goal line, and I saw a Temple player and John Laird diving for the ball so I was expecting it to end up in the end zone. I just jumped on it. I guess I got lucky,” said Murray.
Temple tied the game on its next possession when Harper capped a 64-yard drive with a nine-yard scoring run. Jake Brownell’s PAT knotted the game at 14.
Army answered two possessions later when Williams found Larson for a 13-yard scoring toss with two minutes left in the second quarter. Williams rushed for a 16-yard gain two plays earlier to set up the scoring toss.
The Owls tied the game for a third time on its next possession with a four-play, 73-yard drive. DeMichele hit Bruce Francis with a 27-yard touchdown with 1:08 left until halftime.
The Black Knights went ahead to stay in the third quarter. Tolson, who missed his first field goal attempt, converted a 32-yard try, his second career field goal, for a 24-21 advantage with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter,
Trimble made it a 10-point contest with the first of his two touchdowns. He handled a Temple punt at the 15-yard line, followed his blockers, and went 85 yards to the end zone and a 31-21 lead after three quarters.
“We were in punt safe on fourth and short,” said Trimble. “We were trying to make sure they didn’t come with a fake so we had our defense in with me back there. On punt returns, everything has to be perfects the blocks and the kick. I got a good kick. It was short, and I got a good run on it. I had to make one guy miss and the defense took care of the rest. It was easy from there.”
Army’s Ted Bentler recovered a fumble on the next possession and the Black Knights added to their advantage. Mealy ran for 13 yards on two rushes before Williams and Trimble connected for a 69-yard touchdown and the final score.
“I caught it, and Mike Wright had a beautiful block on the corner to the outside that sprung me,” said Trimble. “The guy that was over me had a bad angle, and I outran him. I just saw a lot of green and thought, You know what? I’m going to try and take this.’ I outran them, which is surprising.”
The Black Knights will continue their two-game homestand Saturday when they host Tulane at 7 p.m. at Michie Stadium.