Jahad Thomas (three touchdowns) celebrates with Ventrell Bryant (one touchdown) during Temple’s 30-16 win over UCF on Saturday. (USA Today Images)
Temple Owls (5-0,2-0) hosted the U of Central Florida Knights (0-6,0-2) under the lights @ Lincoln Financial Field for what turned out to be a competitive American Athletic Conference match-up more by Temple’s miscues than any kind of UCF competence on offense or defense,
Temple wasted no time, taking the opening possession 73 yards, hilited by a great 22 yard catch by WR Robby Anderson from P. J. Walker, and capped off by a 12 yard dash by RB Jahad Thomas – his 8th TD of the year.
After a poor punt by Alex Starzyk gave UCF good field position @ their own 37 and an unnecessary face-mask penalty, the Knights got on the board on a career long 48 yd FG by Matthew Wright, w/ 30 seconds left in the 1st period.
Temple answered right back on the ensuing drive going 10 plays, 86 yards ending w/ a Walker toss in the back of the endzone to red shirt FR WR Ventell Bryant – the 1st of his career.
The Owls were pretty much in control on both sides of the ball giving most of the yards to UCF on penalties, another miscue on offense – a pick 6 of Walker by UCF’s Shaquill Griffin, and then a muffed punt by Anderson leading to a short FG, kept the, on paper, over-matched Knights in the game.
The 1st half ended w/ coach Matt Rhule keeping the kids after school lecturing them on the field b/4 they ran to the locker room, and the highly favored Owls only led by a point, 14-13.
The lesson appeared unlearned as the 3rd facemask of the night on Temple during the 2nd half kick-off gave UCF a shorter field and a few 1st downs picked up by a scrambling Knights QB Justin Holman, helped UCF take the lead on another FG, 16-14. Then after a fumble by Walker gave UCF the ball on the Temple 29 it was looking like my call of a “trap game” here, KNIGHTS @ OWLS 10/17/15 , might have been coming into play, until Temple DB Sean Chandler‘s int. stopped that threat. Still it seemed every time the defense made a stop some miscue or another gave the Knights the ball once again in good field position.
The 3rd qtr ended w/ UCF still up 16-14 as Temple fans held their breath awaiting another punt return to start the last period…..the wait was worth it as Chandler returned it 65 yards to the 20…and then Thomas went the rest of the way on a 22 yard scamper for a TD. Walker then found Doylestown native TE Colin Thompson for the 2 point conversion to go back on top 22 – 16, 14:03 left in the game. Thomas’ 3rd rushing TD of the game, followed by a trickeration, flea flicker style, WR John Christopher throwing to a wide open P. J. Walker, for their 2nd 2 pt PAT on the night w/ 4:54 to go, pretty much ended this one as Temple were then up 2 TD’s, 30-16….and Tyler Matakevich‘s 3rd Int. of the season sealed the deal.
It was not pretty, and Temple played down to their opponent to make things a lot closer than it should have been most of the game, but the good teams find a way to win these type of games and that is exactly what the Temple Owls did this night. Temple improves to 6-0,3-0, while UCF falls to 0-7,0-3.
Offensive kudos go to Jahad Thomas for his 199 yards on 31 carries and 3 TDS. On the defensive side All Everything Tyler Matakevich had 8 total tackles (3 solo) as well as an assist on a TFL and an INT.
1st game this season Temple not only did not outscore their opponent in the 3rd qtr, but did not score at all.
Temple special teams blocked their 3d punt of the season.
Tyler Matakevich got his NCAA active leading 400th career tackle, joining Temple greats Steve Conjar and Lance Johnstone.
Head Coach Matt Rhule passes former boss Steve Addazio for 10th place all-time in wins for Owls’ coaches.
Temple is now Bowl Eligible and still keeping pace w/ the 1974 team as they go to 6-0, 3-0 their best ever start in the AAC.
The Owls have a short week as they travel to East Carolina (4-3,2-1) Thursday night.