The Temple Owls were ragged, but right early in this game, using the long ball, along with a rushing attack that featured nine different ball carriers, even with hurting themselves with penalties, overwhelming the Tulane Green Wave 31-0, for their second shut out in a row. The last time they did that was 2011.
Close First Half:
Despite a long opening drive down to the Green Wave 20, Temple came up empty on the missed FG by Aaron Boumerhi into a strong wind – the first miss of his young career. They did chew up 5:52 going 11 plays, 56 yds. On the 4th play of the ensuing drive Artrel Foster recovered a fumble forced by Haason Reddick at the Tulane 34. A 31 yd pass from Phillip Walker to Ventell Bryant got them to 1st and goal, and three plays later Jahad Thomas plunged into the endzone from 2 yds out, 4 plays 34 yds 1:47, 6:12 left in 1st qtr. A 10 play, 63 yd, 2:29 drive then led to a Temple FG to end the half 10-0. Temple had a 259 – 66 yd offensive advantage, holding the ball for 18:38 to Tulane’s 11:22, but but too many penalties, 5 for 40 yds , kept this game closer than it needed to be.
Temple Opens Up a Lead in the Second Half:
That changed in the 2nd half as the Owls scored on their first two possessions, as well as cutting the penalties back to only 2 for 15 yds in the 2nd half.
Walker found Bryant in the end zone for 14 yds, who deserved it after all the big catches he made today. 14 plays, 73 yds 7:30, 6:03 left in the 3rd pd. Then Thomas, pushing his lineman out of the way on the screen pass, rumbled for a 42 yd TD. 24-0, 5 plays, 78 yds, 2:39, 2:56 left in 3rd pd.
With time winding down in the 4th qtr, Isaiah Wright added 22 yds to cap a nice rushing day, for another Owl TD, to push the final tally to 31- 0, 10 plays, 84 yds 5:12, with still 6:08 left in regulation. It was the first TD of his career.
Tulane inserted its FR QB Johnathan Brantley late in the 2nd qtr and again early in the 4th. His ability to run better than starter SO Glen Cuiellette, seemed to spark the Green Wave a bit, but in the end they still could not dent the scoreboard.
Temple Stats RoundUp:
Temple came into this game with the plan of throwing the ball down the field as reflected in Walker’s final numbers 18/33, 337 yds, 10.2 YPA, 2 TD, 0 Int. His leading receiver was Bryant, 9 catches for 168 yds, 18.7, YPC, 1 TD. He also spread it out to six other players. As noted at the top nine guys carried the ball for 48 rushes, 196 yds, 4.1 YPR, 2 Tds. To illustrate how evenly this was spread around, the top ball carrier was Thomas who only got 57 yds on 22 carries, 2.6 YPC, and one TD. Most of those yards came as Temple was running out the clock as Tulane was keying on him early. Wright was also a big part of the running game with 49 yds on 3 carries, 16.3 YPC, augmented by his late game 22 yd TD run. Overall Temple amassed 533 total yds to Tulane’s 142. The Owls defense held one of the best rushing teams in the country, 18th nationally in rushing, averaging 236.4 yards per game, rushing for 100 or more yards in every game this season coming in, to just 118 yds on 33 attempts, 3.6 YPR.
Temple Next Ups:
Temple Owls(8-3, 6-1. 1st Place in AAC East) come home for their last regular season game on 11/26 facing the East Carolina Pirates (3-8. 1-6, Tied 4th place), in a time TBD at this posting. Win this one and they will achieve step one in their “unfinished business” goal of returning to the AAC title game. I will be back at the Linc covering that one for you.