By Tom Dougherty, CSNPhilly.com
Temple nearly knocked off another legendary football program.
The 21st-ranked Owls were minutes away from upsetting No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field on national TV, but they couldn’t get one final stop.
Roman Catholic product and Irish wide receiver Will Fuller’s 17-yard touchdown reception with 2:09 left in the game sent Notre Dame to a 24-20 win over Temple.
Notre Dame improves to 7-1 on the season, while Temple falls to 7-1.
The Owls opened this historic season by upsetting another storied program in Penn State.
With Temple leading, 20-17, with 4:45 left to play, Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer connected on a seven-yard pass to Fuller on a 3rd-and-5 at the ND 31.
On the next play, Kizer hit tight end Alize Jones for a 45-yard gain, putting the Irish in the red zone. Two plays later, Fuller sent the Irish to their seventh win.
On 2nd-and-10 on the TU 17, Kizer connected on a 17-yard TD pass to Fuller. Fuller had been relatively quiet coming into the final drive but came up with two big grabs.
Fuller finished with five catches for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Big men on campus
Temple’s defense repeatedly came through with a huge stop.
Two first-half red-zone interceptions prevented Notre Dame from jumping out to a big lead, and then in the third quarter, the Owls stiffened in the red zone and held the Irish to a field goal.
Defensive lineman Praise Martin-Oguike had TU’s first interception, while linebacker Tyler Matakevich had the second. Matakevich’s was his fifth of the season.
Given that Note Dame entered the game averaging 38.3 points per contest, it was an impressive showing from the Owls.
For Notre Dame, quarterback DeShone Kizer burned the Owls’ defense on the ground. The sophomore had 143 yards on 17 carries, including a 79-yard touchdown run.
Kizer was 23 of 36 for 299 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Inside the box score
• ND’s opening-drive TD was the first TU has allowed this season on the opening drive.
• TU’s eight-play, 94-yard TD drive in the second quarter was its longest of the season.
• TU quarterback P.J. Walker finished 13 of 30 for 188 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Walker added 38 yards on six rushes.
• The announced attendance of 69,280 at the Linc is a Temple record for a home game.
Saturday was the second meeting between Temple and Notre Dame. The Irish have won both games. The two teams met in South Bend two years ago, a 28-6 ND win.
Temple falls to 5-101-1 against AP-ranked teams and 1-42 against top 10 opponents.
Temple heads to Dallas, Texas, on Friday night for an 8 p.m. game against SMU.
Up next for the Irish is a 12 p.m. kickoff against Pittsburgh. The Panthers were ranked No. 23, but will drop out of the top 25 after losing to North Carolina on Thursday night.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: See the story on CSNPhilly.com)