Stewart's 4 TDs lead Temple as blowout win keeps Owls in title game picture

AKRON, Ohio -- Chester Stewart threw two touchdown passes Friday night and ran for two scores to lead Temple to a 56-17 victory over Akron that kept the Owls on track for a spot in the Mid-American Conference championship game.

The Owls (8-2, 6-0), winners of eight straight, have their best record since going 10-2 in 1979, when they made their last bowl appearance. Temple defeated California 28-17 in the 1979 Garden State Bowl -- then endured losing records in 27 of the next 29 seasons.

Akron (2-8, 1-5) led 17-7 after Sean Fobbs recovered a bad snap from center in the Owls' end zone with 3:06 left in the first quarter.

Temple scored 49 unanswered points to extend its longest win streak since finishing 1973 on an eight-game run. The Owls opened 1974 with six straight victories.

Bernard Pierce ran for 97 yards on 19 carries. His 2-yard run with 31 seconds left in the first half was his 15th rushing touchdown this season, matching the Owls' record shared by Paul Palmer (1986) and Walter Washington (2004).

Stewart, a sophomore making his second start, completed six of 11 passes for 145 yards. He connected with Michael Campbell for a 63-yard TD pass on the game's fifth play -- the longest pass play allowed by the Zips this season.

Akron quarterback Patrick Nicely quickly drove the Zips 78 yards in seven plays, capped by a tying 9-yard TD pass to Andre Jones.

The Zips went ahead on a 45-yard field goal by Branko Rogovic and Fobbs scored 1:54 later. Center John Palumbo snapped the ball nowhere near Stewart, who was in shotgun formation at his own 26. Fobbs slapped at the ball at the 5 and finally fell on it in the end zone for the score.

Temple's James Nixon ran 22 yards to score with 10 seconds left in the wild first quarter to make it 17-14.

The Owls went back ahead on a 66-yard punt return by Delano Green midway through the second. Stewart added an 8-yard run and Pierce's run made it 35-17 at the half.

The Owls' point total was their most since a 56-28 win over Rutgers in 1999.