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Posted on Sat, Oct 3, 2009 : 3:28 p.m.

Temple scores early, defeats Eastern Michigan football team, 24-12

By James Briggs

All you need to know about Eastern Michigan University’s game against Temple can be summed up by two plays.

Trailing 21-3 with 2 minutes left in the first half, Eastern Michigan blocked a Temple punt and downed the ball at Temple’s 7-yard line, giving the Eagles a chance to score and take momentum into halftime.

That momentum lasted exactly 6 seconds - long enough for Eastern Michigan running back Dominique Sherrer to fumble at Temple’s 4, tossing possession right back to Temple.

Temple scored the game's first 21 points and rushed for 248 yards Saturday en route to a 24-12 victory at Rynearson Stadium. Eastern Michigan showed signs of life in its Mid-American Conference opener, but failed to take advantage of big plays.

"Our inability to score when we need to score and take advantage of field position, and to eliminate big plays, is really hamstringing our team," Eastern Michigan coach Ron English said.

Temple (2-2, 2-0 MAC) took control on the opening drive, going 60 yards on five plays and scoring on a 16-yard run by Bernard Pierce 1:42 into the game. Pierce rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

"We come out, and I don't know if somebody's waiting for someone else to make a play, or what the issue is," English said.

The Owls took a 21-0 lead in the second quarter, before Eastern Michigan (0-4, 0-1) finally got on the board with a 38-yard Joe Carithers kick. Carithers added a 43-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, making the score 21-6.

Temple capped its scoring on a 40-yard fourth-quarter field goal by Brandon McManus, and Terrence Blevins scored on a 1-yard run for Eastern Michigan with 1:39 left, making it 24-12.

Junior quarterback Kyle McMahon started for Eastern Michigan in place of Andy Schmitt, who tore his right ACL two weeks ago against Michigan. McMahon completed 25 of 36 passes for 230 yards. He also threw an interception.

"Stats can be misleading," English said. "There are some issues there mechanically that he needs to fix. The numbers are decent. They are what they are … but he gave a good effort and he has good numbers."

Eastern Michigan’s top rusher - junior Dwayne Priest - finished with just 14 yards and a 1.2 yards-per-carry average. As a team, the Eagles rushed for just 50 yards.

Eastern Michigan plays Central Michigan next Saturday at Mt. Pleasant.

James Briggs covers sports for AnnArbor.com. Contact him at 734.623.2557 or jamesbriggs@annnarbor.com.