Starks' TD run in OT helps Buffalo trample Temple

AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) -- Turner Gill would've preferred a little

less suspense and a lot more scoring.

The win -- however ugly -- Gill will take, coming in his first

game as head coach of perennially struggling Buffalo.

When James Starks sealed the 9-3 victory over Temple on Thursday

night, scoring on an 18-yard scamper on Buffalo's first overtime

possession, Gill raised his arms, turned to the cheering crowd and

spiked his clipboard.

Two of Division I-A's most downtrodden programs had just

delivered an early front-runner for worst game of the year, but it

didn't keep the Buffalo faithful from celebrating as if they won

the Rose Bowl.

The fans -- 29,795 showed up for the coaching debut of the former

Nebraska quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist -- then rushed the

field in a wild celebration, capping a significant victory for the

Bulls, who registered their first season-opening win since 1997

when they were a Division I-AA program.

It was also an emotional win for Gill, challenged with turning

around a Mid-American Conference team that had gone 10-69 since

jumping to the Division I-A ranks in 1999.

"It makes it even sweeter," Gill said of winning in overtime.

"It doesn't matter how it comes about, what the score of the game

is, as long as you win by one point that's all you need to do."

Temple's Al Golden, also making his coaching debut, is faced

with a rebuilding job at least as daunting as Gill's

The Owls, who went 0-11 last year, have lost 13 straight and

dropped to 0-15 on the road, their last win coming at Middle

Tennessee State on Oct. 4, 2003.

"I'm disappointed," Golden said. "This is not the type of

team I promised Philadelphia I'd bring."

The game was a difficult one to watch, which is pretty typical

for the Owls and the Bulls. But at least it was competitive.

Buffalo dominated, gaining 356 yards offense to Temple's 183.

Trouble was, the Bulls couldn't score, coming away without a point

on three drives inside the Owls' 20.

Buffalo freshman kicker Taylor Packwood, who missed two earlier

field-goal attempts from 27 and 32 yards, opened the scoring with a

27-yarder with 7:38 remaining.

The Owls responded on the next possession when quarterback Adam

DiMichele marched them 75 yards on 12 plays, capped by Danny

Murphy's 20-yard field goal with 1:44 left. Temple, however, was

forced to settle for the field goal after running back Tim Brown

was stopped three times inside the 3.

Temple failed to score on its overtime possession when

DiMichele, facing third-and-16, forced a pass into the left flats

that was intercepted by Jesse Imes.

Buffalo needed only four plays to score, when Starks followed

his blockers on a sweep right and was untouched going into the end


"I've been waiting for the opportunity and I'm happy about

it," said Starks, a redshirt freshman, who led the Bulls with 86

yards rushing.

Starks was just as happy to deliver Gill a victory.

"To give him this win is really great," Starks said. "This is

the first time everybody can say that we really believe, that we

have faith in each other and faith in the coaches."

Gill tried to maintain perspective, even though he had many

family members and friends in attendance. The group on hand

included two of his former Cornhuskers' teammates, receiver Irving

Fryar and running back Mike Rozier. Also present was quarterback

Eric Crouch, whom Gill coached at Nebraska.

"I guess time will tell," Gill said, when asked where this

victory ranked for him. "But it isn't about me. It's more about

this university, this community. ... And I wanted it for these

kids. They've long suffered. But this is just one game."

Bulls quarterback Drew Willy went 12-of-23 for 175 yards.

Brown led the Owls with 81 yards rushing on 19 carries.

DiMichele finished 18-of-22 for 105 yards passing and the