PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Walter Washington scrambled for one big play after another during Temple’s frantic fourth-quarter rally. Then, one of the simplest plays cost the Owls one of the biggest wins in their history.
Virginia Tech quarterback Bryan Randall ran 23 yards for a touchdown in overtime, and Temple missed an extra point on its matching TD, giving the No. 12 Hokies a 24-23 victory Saturday.
“Ten years from now nobody’s going to remember who won this game. They’ll remember how they played in it,” Temple coach Bobby Wallace said.
Temple (1-9, 0-5 Big East) overcome a 17-0 deficit in the fourth quarter, with the Owls tying it on Jared Davis’ 37-yard field goal with 40 seconds left in regulation.
Temple won the toss and chose defense. Two plays later, Randall ran 23 yards for the score.
Temple came right back when Washington found Zamir Cobb in the flat, with Cobb using a big block to go 22 yards for the touchdown.
Davis, who went 18-for-20 on extra points this season, was wide left, setting off a wild celebration for the Hokies (8-2, 4-2), who were nearly upset by Temple for the second time in five years.
“Who knows what would have happened in the next overtime? He didn’t lose the game for us,” Wallace said. “It ended the game, but there were other plays that could have been made.”
Temple lost for the third time this year in overtime and lost for the 11th time in the last 12 games against the Hokies. The third-ranked Hokies barely survived a 20-10 win last season and the winless Owls beat the No. 10 Hokies 28-24 in 1998 in Blacksburg.
“They didn’t play like a team that had won just one game,” Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. “Thank goodness we got out of here with a win. Now let’s go back to Blacksburg.”
They’ll leave with memories of Washington darting around the field.
Washington, the fleet-footed quarterback starting for injured Mike McGann (elbow), energized Temple’s offense, which was last in the Big East in passing efficiency.
Washington finished with 151 yards rushing—the first 100-yard effort ever by a Temple quarterback. He used his feet, and one clutch pass, to bring Temple back in the fourth.
With Virginia Tech leading 17-0 early in the fourth, Washington threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Umar Ferguson to make it 17-7. Later in the fourth, Washington’s 34-yard run to the 1 set up a scoring run by Ferguson on the next play.
Then, Washington came through with one of Temple’s most important plays of the year. With the Owls facing fourth-and-9 at the Hokies 45, Washington dropped back and connected with Phil Goodman for a 30-yard gain.
Four plays later, Davis kicked his 37-yarder and was mobbed by teammates, silencing the thousands of Hokies’ fans who made the drive.
“We got a lot of inspiration out of Walter’s play,” Wallace said. “He picked everybody up in the stadium that was for Temple. He got everybody excited and believing.”
Just minutes later, however, those same Virginia Tech fans would be going wild when Davis missed the biggest kick of his career.
The game wasn’t supposed to be this hard for the Hokies, who were coming off a 31-28 loss at Pittsburgh that knocked them out of the national and conference title picture.
“Pennsylvania’s a tough state,” quipped Hokies linebacker Mikal Baaqee.
Virginia Tech was sluggish in the first half and led only 3-0 at the half, giving Washington and the Owls the opening they needed for an upset.
Washington opened the game with a 39-yard run and seemingly never stopped. His most impressive effort was a 9-yard run where he dragged a pile of defenders for about 7 of those yards.
“We couldn’t get him on the ground. I think they found a quarterback,” Beamer said.
Virginia Tech finally broke through in the third quarter, when Kevin Jones scored on a 9-yard run on the opening drive. The Hokies made it 17-0 on a 28-yard TD pass from Randall to Ernest Wilford 37 seconds into the fourth.
Jones, a Chester, Pa., native, ran for 150 yards and a touchdown, despite being sick for most of the game. Jones said he felt drained after throwing up twice on the sidelines, which he blamed on a bad pregame meal.
Jones did finish with his seventh 100-yard game this season, a school record.
Virginia Tech was driving for the win late in the fourth when Randall’s pass was intercepted by Jonathan McPhee and returned to the Hokies’ 33.
Davis missed a 50-yarder as time expired.
“I guess they thought we were going to be a pushover, but we showed we can play with them any time,” Washington said.