Army's quarterback Kelvin White (13) runs up the middle through the Temple defense as Shahbaz Ahmed, (91) and Brandon Chudnoff, right, try to bring him down Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in Philadelphia. Temple won 33-14. (Michael Bryant / AP)
PHILADELPHIA — Army coach Rich Ellerson probably wishes Veterans Stadium was still standing.
Ellerson’s Black Knights got behind early and stayed there in a 33-14 loss to Temple at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday.
The loss not only drops Army to 3-5 this season, but also plummets the program to 0-11 at the Linc since the stadium opened in 2004.
Temple, meanwhile, was able to advance to 1-6 this season with its first win of the year and the first victory for first-year head coach Matt Rhule.
Ellerson’s team found itself trailing 33-0 in the third quarter before it managed to score the final 14 points of the game.
“The guys got down on themselves because we were down by four touchdowns in the first half,” Ellerson said. “With multiple turnovers today, it’s going to be tough to win the battle.”
Temple jumped out to an early lead thanks to the play of freshman quarterback P.J. Walker, who completed eight of his first 11 attempts and finished 10 for 16 for 203 yards passing, two touchdowns and an interception. Both of his scores came in the first half, on a 37-yard pass to Jalen Fitzpatrick and a 39-yard strike to John Christopher.
While Walker was steady under center for Temple, Army found itself having to play three quarterbacks.
Junior starter Angel Santiago exited the game in the second quarter with what appeared to be a left ankle injury, and was replaced by a combination of sophomore Kelvin White and freshman Tevin Long.
White ended up seeing the bulk of the action and was responsible for all 14 of his team’s points and three of its four turnovers.
He found Patrick Laird in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown pass in third quarter and ran in his other score on a 1-yard keeper in the fourth quarter. But he also fumbled in the second and threw two picks in the fourth. In all, White finished 7 for 16 for 79 yards passing and 47 yards rushing.
“Getting him meaningful repetitions were important,” Ellerson said, referring to White. “When he had some momentum he was making some great plays, but consistency was not quite there.”
Long ended up being responsible for the remaining Army turnover when he fumbled early in the third quarter. Army ended up negating nearly all of its points by allowing Temple to score off turnovers.
“Turnovers are a big deal,” Ellerson said. “If we don’t turn the ball over, then we have a chance at winning this game. Taking away 13 points that they got off of us, then that finish is a little bit more interesting. We were well-prepared, but they capitalized on our mistakes.”
Army will stay on the road and head to Air Force in two weeks to begin its battle for the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy. The Black Knights have not won that trophy — given to the victor of the Army-Navy-Air Force season series — since 1996.