Nelson Smith rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns, and Terrell Adams broke up a would-be game-tying two-point conversion to preserve a 31-29 Navy win over Temple on Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Navy (2-2, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) led wire-to-wire, but the Midshipmen's advantage never grew to more than 11 points.
Temple (0-1, 0-1), playing its pandemic-delayed season opener, rallied from 28-17 down at the start of the fourth quarter on the second of quarterback Anthony Russo's two rushing touchdowns.
The Owls' two-point conversion attempt failed, which set the scene for the game's final 14 minutes.
Navy's ensuing possession ate up 9:06 and included two fourth-down conversions. The Mids went 4-for-4 on fourth down for the day.
The Temple defense bowed up, but Bijan Nichols capped the possession with a career-long 50-yard field goal.
Temple went 75 yards in 10 plays on the next possession, capped with Re'Mahn Davis' goal-line touchdown run. Davis rushed for a team-high 97 yards, and his score marked three consecutive Owls' possessions in the second half that ended with touchdowns.
Needing a two-point conversion to force overtime, Russo fired a pass that Adams -- who made a team-high nine tackles -- got a hand on to bat down. The deflection sealed the Navy win.
The Midshipmen offense came into Saturday's conference matchup one week removed from rushing for just 90 yards in a blowout loss at rival Air Force. With quarterback Dalen Morris back in the lineup on Saturday, Navy gained 251 yards on the ground.
Jamale Carothers rushed for 53 yards on 15 carries and got the Mids' scoring started with a goal-line touchdown in the first quarter. Smith rushed for 6.0 yards per carry en route to his game-high 120, and he scored on carries of 26 and 22 yards.
Russo went 21-of-30 for Temple for 206 yards and threw a touchdown to Branden Mack. Mack finished with a game-high 80 yards on seven receptions.
Navy's John Marshall picked off a Russo pass to deny the Owls a pivotal score just before halftime.
--Field Level Media