Temple holds on for 39-37 win over South Florida

A week after losing when its own two-point conversion attempt failed, Temple stopped one with the game on the line and escaped with a 39-37 victory against visiting South Florida on Saturday in Philadelphia.

After Leonard Parker scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:03 left, USF backup quarterback Noah Johnson took a sweep to the left but was tackled for a loss by Owls safety Amir Tyler.

Temple (1-1, 1-1 American Athletic Conference), which missed a pair of two-point conversions in a season-opening 31-29 loss at Navy last weekend, won for the 11th time in its last 12 games at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Bulls (1-4, 0-3), who dropped their fourth consecutive game, were hurt by three lost fumbles and 11 penalties for 111 yards.

South Florida’s Jordan McCloud completed 15 of 26 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns. But a mishandled exchange between McCloud and Kelley Joiner allowed Arnold Ebiketie to scoop it up and return it 11 yards for a touchdown that put Temple ahead for good at 32-31 with 9:52 left in the fourth.

Ebiketie also had one of Temple’s four sacks and forced a fumble.

Temple’s Anthony Russo completed 30 of 42 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns, including a 13-yarder to Randle Jones with 4:28 remaining.

Jones finished with 81 yards on eight catches while Jadan Blue caught nine passes for 60 yards and two scores. Blue took a hard hit from Antonio Grier, who was ejected for targeting with 2:17 left in the third quarter.

Temple’s offense totaled 412 yards and finished with 32 first downs.

South Florida running back Johnny Ford hurt his left ankle on a rush near the goal line with 1:14 left in the fourth. Ford finished with 206 all-purpose yards and one receiving touchdown.