Temple Owls' RB David Hood (24) on one of his 20 carries in their 34-10 win over the ECU Pirates Karl Deblaker

Temple Owls' RB David Hood (24) on one of his 20 carries in their 34-10 win over the ECU Pirates Karl Deblaker

Temple Owls Earn Their First AAC Conference Win Convincingly Over ECU Pirates 34-10

In what may be looked back on as a turning point in their 2017 campaign, the  Temple Owls (3-3, 1-2, 3rd Place AAC East) overwhelmed the ECU Pirates (1-2,1-5, 4th Place) 34-10.

1st Quarter:

Behind a defense that is looking more and more “Mayhem”ish as the season progresses, the Owls were able to overcome a 0-3 deficit after the 1st Qtr, caused by a missed 52 Yd FG by Aaron Boumerhi on the opening drive, and a Logan Marchi interception at the ECU 7 yard line, on their promising second drive of 10 plays, 68 yards. This is where the defense started to take over, holding the Pirates to 35 yards on 5 plays, where they also missed a long FG try of 50 yds.

2nd Qtr:

The second quarter was all Temple, as they put up 24 unanswered points. 0:15 in, the Owls tied the game on a 29 yd FG, ending the 7 play, 55 yd, wraparound drive.

After a bend but don’t break SDI, Temple’s first TD came on their longest drive of the day when ECU pinned them at the 9. A nice 22 yard dash by David Hood, and long passes by Marchi, recovering well from the earlier turnover, to Keith Kirkwood, 37 yds, and Isaiah Wright, 16 yds, which got them to the ECU 7.  The long possession ended on a 5 yd TD pass to Adonis Jennings for his second TD of the season. At 8 plays, 91 yds, 4:45, it was the second longest Temple drive in 2017.

2nd Half:

Except for the teams trading TD’s and Temple getting one more FG in the 4th Qtr, the story of the 2nd half was the possible emergence of the “Mayhem” defense promised when Coach Geoff Collins brought his D-Coordinator cred to North Broad St. At the same time the offense was able to control the ball and Marchi made no more mistakes.

Stats and Final Thoughts:

Coming in, I believed that Temple would be able to score on the worst defense in the AAC. Marchi may have finally quieted the critics as he found eight different receivers, going 19/31, 321 yds, 2 TDs, 1 Int. His leading receiver was Wright catching six balls, for 91 yds and a TD. On the ground Temple netted 179 yds on 46 attempts. Hood had himself a day with 106 net yards, his first over 100 and a career high, on 20 carries and a TD. This was a nice continuation of what they found last week against Houston. Also impressive for the developing offensive line is that they gave up no sacks.

What really impressed me was how the defense held this high powered ECU Offense (8th ranked in AAC coming in). Indicative of this is how they kept dual threat QB Thomas Sirk, in check. He wound up 20/38, 253 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int., but more importantly on the ground he netted a negative 14 yds, rushing 9 times for 14 yds, but sacked 4 times for -26. Mobile QBs had been a problem for Temple in the past, but not in this game. Overall ECU netted only 34 yds rushing.

We will see now if they can continue this next week, against another “inferior” opponent.

I would be sorely lacking if I did not note the PBP item below as fellow Cheltenham Panther, redshirt FR Branden Mack got his first touch as an Owl after Frank Nutile took over for Marchi for the final drive of the game.

3RD AND 3 ON THE ECU47

NUTILE,FRANK crossing pass complete to MACK,BRANDEN for 15 yards to the ECU32, 1ST DOWN TEM, PENALTY ECU holding declined.

Next Ups:

It’s Homecoming week as the UConn Huskies (0-3,1-4 AAC) come to the Linc, Saturday 10/14/17 12: Noon, ESPNNews