TEMPLE — An interception by Hunter Aviles that led to Anthony Jackson’s 15-yard touchdown run. A 54-yard scoring pass from Jared Wiley to Quentin Johnston. A Monto President Jr. interception that set up Wiley’s 2-yard scoring toss to Bobby Johnson, followed by Wiley’s 20-yard TD strike to Johnston.
The Temple Wildcats did all of that during the game’s first 11 minutes as they seized a 27-0 lead.
So although coach Scott Stewart wasn’t pleased with how Temple’s reserve units played in the second half of night’s non-district finale against Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, the visitors from Monterrey, Mexico, the Wildcats got off to such a hot start that they were bound to cool off.
Wiley threw for 225 yards and four touchdowns and Temple’s swarming defense limited the Tigres to 19 first-half yards as the Wildcats built a 36-0 halftime lead, then Jackson added a 65-yard scoring sprint before Nuevo Leon scored two fourth-quarter TDs against defensive reserves as Temple grabbed a 43-14 victory at Wildcat Stadium to improve to 2-0 entering District 12-6A play against Harker Heights.
“I loved the energy and how these kids play the game,” Stewart said of the Wildcats’ first-half performance. “They imposed their will. I couldn’t be happier with our first units on both sides.”
Said Jackson, the speedy junior whose two carries went for two TDs: “Our offensive line, they’re doing an incredible job. Jared made the right calls and everything’s clicking.”
One week after allowing 225 yards rushing and 399 overall in the season-opening 45-25 home win over Round Rock Cedar Ridge, Temple’s defense didn’t let Nuevo Leon (0-2) breathe in the first half. The Tigres, who lost 34-27 at Copperas Cove last week, mustered only 19 yards (4 rushing) and one first down.
“We read our keys and flew around to the ball,” Temple senior end D’Ashton Merida said. “We have a goal chart, and last week offense got every single one and defense only got one. We had a chip on our shoulder.”
What bothered Stewart was the second half, in which Temple was outscored 14-7, allowed 113 total yards and gained just 74 while almost exclusively playing its backups. Although the outcome was sealed by halftime, Stewart made it clear to his players that their second-half play didn’t meet his standards.
“You’re trying to build depth, and we proved we don’t have any,” Stewart said. “We’ve got to work on that.”
UANL coach Juan Carlos Garcia admitted his team was overwhelmed early by Temple’s talent.
“It was a great atmosphere. Temple has a great team, a big team. We got out of the game at first and missed assignments,” said Garcia, whose Tigres play at Port Lavaca Calhoun and College Station the next two Saturdays.
Aviles intercepted Angel Fernandez on the first possession, then Wiley hit Montavian Carlysle for 38 yards before Jackson bounced off right tackle for his 15-yard touchdown. Wiley and Johnston connected for four long TD passes against Cedar Ridge, and they were back at it on Temple’s second possession as Johnston beat his defender deep for a 54-yard score and a 14-0 advantage. After Wiley’s 2-yard scoring pass to Johnson, Johnston fought through two defenders for his 20-yard TD.
The Tigres didn’t score until 2 minutes into the fourth, when Aldo Herrera crashed in for a 5-yard touchdown. In a display of sportsmanship, Wildcats fans stood and cheered for UANL and Temple’s band played its fight song as if its own team had scored.
“The coolest thing was watching our fans and our band,” said Stewart, whose players posed for pictures with Tigres players afterward. “This is the classiest town I’ve been in.”