Eagles Advance to Super Bowl After 38-7 Victory Over Vikings

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The Philadelphia Eagles are going to the Super Bowl.

 

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie shows off the NFC Championship trophy. // Credit: Sports Illustrated.

 

Yes, you read that correctly, no, you are not dreaming. After a 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings last night at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles advance to Super Bowl 52. It will be their 3rd appearance as a franchise and the first in 13 years. The Eagles will be taking on the same opponent as they did in 2005, the New England Patriots, a game in which the Eagles lost 24-21.

Philadelphia certainly embraced the “underdog” role and used it as a rallying point. Coming into the playoffs, many had doubt as to whether or not backup QB Nick Foles would be able to produce enough to get the team to the promised land. Against the Falcons, they were 3-point underdogs and against the Vikings, they were 3.5-point underdogs. And even though Nick Foles put up 38 points on a defense some say is the best in the league, the Eagles open up as 5.5-point underdogs to New England. That is the largest spread since 2009 when the Arizona Cardinals were 7-point underdogs to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In the NFC Championship, two big things stuck out. Nick Foles and the defense. After the first drive of the game where the Vikings scored seemingly too easy, the defense would not let up a single point the rest of the contest. In fact, they forced three turnovers in the process, two interceptions, one returned for a TD by Patrick Robinson and the other by Corey Graham, and a fumble recovery by Chris Long. All three turnovers coming when Minnesota was within scoring distance. The Eagles defense has been very productive at home over the last 5 games, holding teams to 10 or fewer points in those games. That is the best streak in the NFL in 9 years.

As for Nick Foles, he may have a 7 TD passing game from a few seasons ago, but there’s no doubting that this was Foles’ best performance as a starting QB. Foles went 26/33 for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns. Foles set a new Eagles playoff record 79% completions after his 77% last week vs Atlanta. He is also the only QB in Eagles history to have 3 straight playoff games with a 100+ rating.

Nick Foles cocks back one of his 33 passing attempts vs the Vikings. // Credit: Fox News

Celebrations quickly ensued once the final whistle blew as students of Temple flooded out of their homes, apartments, and dorms to gather in the streets and celebrate the championship win. Police shut down most traffic heading south on Broad Street due to the mass number of fans marching their way towards City Hall. On the march down Broad, cars were honking, fans were screaming, strangers were embracing and memories were made. Eagles success has a funny way of rallying the city and becoming one. Most importantly, no arrests were made during the celebratory night. The corner of Walnut and Broad Streets seemed to be the main rallying point for all, as some stayed until around 2:00 A.M. One can only imagine the city’s excitement and celebration if their beloved Birds finally bring home the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history.

In two weeks, the Eagles will get the rematch against Brady, Belichick and the Patriots they’ve been waiting for, for 13 years.

A revenge Super Bowl, and this time, it’s personal.

Temple Falls to Tulane 85-75 at Home in Conference Play Opener

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The Liacouras Center was home to the first conference matchup for the Temple Owls (7-4) as they hosted the Tulane Green Wave (9-3).

Tulane was able to hang onto a late Temple surge to win by a score of 85-75.

Tulane entered the contest winners of their last two against Nicholls Colonels and Southern Alabama. For Temple, they came in following an 18-point loss to Georgia.

Temple’s only lead was 2-0 when the game opened up. Tulane then went on to take a 9-2 lead. Turnovers remained an issue for the Owls throughout the game as they totaled 8 in the first half. Tulane capitalized, scoring 15 points off those turnovers.

Temple ended the half trailing 38-29.

The Owls were left playing catch-up the entire second half. They could not find a way to cut the lead to under 4 as the Green Wave took control and they would not give it back. It seemed as though every time the Owls would get close, there were the Green Wave making another shot to keep Temple at arm’s length.

With just under a minute to play in the game, the Owls trailed by 4 points. Certainly, a mountable comeback, but there was Tulane once again making another run. The Green Wave finished the game on an 8-2 run putting an end to Temple’s comeback bid.

The Owls’ leading scorers of the game were Shizz Alston Jr. and Quinton Rose who both scored 17 points, Rose also had 3 rebounds and 4 assists. Senior guard Josh Brown had 14 points before fouling out late in the 4th quarter and Nate Pierre-Louis off the bench was a sparkplug for the offense making plays all around, ultimately scoring 11 points and grabbing 5 rebounds.

Temple has now lost 3 of their last 4 and next will travel to Houston for their last game of the 2017 calendar year. That game will be tomorrow night at 6 PM and be televised on ESPNU. Follow up with the SportsDesk for coverage.

Temple Wins the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl 28-3 Over FIU

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In a defensive battle the entire game, filled with punts and turnovers, the Temple Owls prevailed for a victory against FIU by a score of 28-3.

FIU’s starting QB Alex McGough went down on their 3rd offensive play suffering a broken collarbone. So, FIU Head Coach Butch Davis entered sophomore QB Maurice Alexander who had only thrown 6 passes all season long.

Temple’s first 4 drives resulted in a punt, fumble, another punt and a turnover on downs. FIU’s first 4 drives resulted in a punt, an interception and then two more punts. It wasn’t until 7 seconds gone in the 2nd quarter that the first score was made. A 4-yard Frank Nutile run finally broke the scoring drought.

It wasn’t until 3:12 to go in the third quarter that the game saw its next score, a 27-yard field goal by FIU. Following the field goal, Temple went on to score touchdowns on 3 of their last 4 possessions. The first of the three came on a 1-yard run by David Hood after appearing to fumble it, it was reviewed and ruled he had crossed the plane before he lost control. The second was on a 45-yard catch and run by Isaiah Wright, and the final score of the game came on a Ryquell Armstead 5-yard run.

 

QB Frank Nutile was named the Bowl Game MVP. He finished the game completing 18 of 28 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown plus 18 yards rushing including his 4-yard TD run. Even with the QB controversy early in the season, Temple was able to record 3,273 passing yards which are second most in program history. Only 51 yards short of the most all-time set last season.

 

Junior RB’S David Hood and Ryquell Armstead each finished their season strong rushing for a combined 127 yards and two touchdowns. Armstead has been banged up for the majority of the season and is a true testament to his mental and physical strength to be able to finish out this season with a strong performance heading into his senior season. For David Hood, it was all about the seniors.

“It just feels good to be able to send our seniors out with a win. They’ve been preaching ’27 wins, 27 wins.’ It’s just been sitting on my heart to send Adonis and Kirkwood out with a win,” said the junior RB.

Mentioning Keith Kirkwood and Adonis Jennings, those two along with Isaiah Wright each finished the game with impressive lines. Wright with 5 catches for 73 yards, 45 of them coming on his long touchdown in the fourth quarter. Keith Kirkwood led all receivers, however, with 6 receptions totaling 96 yards. For Jennings, 3 catches for 51 yards, 39 of which came on a spectacular play where he was tripped up and fell to the turf but ended up making the catch on his back at the FIU 1-yard line.

This was a breakout season for Jennings as he totaled 742 yards receiving on 42 catches, almost doubling his production from last season. In fact, his 742 yards this season are the 9th most ever in the history of the program. He finished 17th in career receiving yards(1,362), Kirkwood sits at 10th all-time (1,638) and Ventell Bryant is 7th (1,754). Jennings finishes his career tied for 15th all-time in receptions with 89, Kirkwood finishes 11th all-time with 103 receptions, while Bryant enters his senior season tied for 5th all-time with 122 receptions, needing 44 to sit at number 1.
The Owls finished their season with an 8 game streak of gaining 390 or more yards of offense. The team’s 5,046 yard of total offense this season is 3rd most all time, only trailing the teams from the previous two seasons.

For Temple’s defense, they set a Gasparilla Bowl record with 7 sacks. LB Will Kwenkeu led the way last night with 2. Also, contributing to that feat was Sam Franklin, Dan Archibong, Dana Levine, Sharif Finch, and Quincy Roche. Roche finished his freshman season with 7 sacks which are the 3rd most ever by a Temple freshman. This was also the first season in Temple history that the team had 3 players with

7 or more sacks, Sharif Finch-8.5, Jacob Martin-8, Quincy Roche-7. The defense totaled 39 sacks this season which is good for 3rd most all-time, 4 behind the leading season.

Sharif Finch finished with 32 career tackles for loss which is 5th all-time, he had 15.5 this season which is 6th most in a season. Sean Chandler finishes his career sitting at 17th on Temple’s all-time tackle list with 265 and 7th on the all-time interceptions list with 10.

In Head Coach Geoff Collins first season with the Owls, he posted a 7-6 record after starting 3-5. He was able to coach his team to win 3 of their last 4 games which got them to the bowl game and ultimately winning. This was Geoff Collins’ first bowl win as a head coach.

“Coaches put down a lot of rules and a lot of plans, but these guys are together 20 hours a day. We’re only with them three or four, and the way that they handled this bowl game was amazing,” said the first year head coach. “This trophy, the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl trophy, is really special to me because of who it represents. It represents this group of seniors, it represents the guys in that locker room and all that they have put into it.”

The senior class now has the final piece to add to their puzzle: a bowl game victory.

SportsDesk Gasparilla Bowl Game Preview: Temple vs. FIU

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Following Temple’s dominant victory over Tulsa in the team’s regular-season finale, the Owls reached the mark of 6-6. With their 6th win, Temple clinched a school-record third consecutive bowl appearance.

The team was chosen to play in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl in St. Petersburg, Florida, at Tropicana Field, which is the home of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. The team selected to face-off against the Owls are the 8-4 Florida International University Golden Panthers from Conference USA.

This is the 10th annual Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, however, it is the first time Bad Boy Mowers is a title sponsor. The game had been known previously as the St. Petersburg Bowl.

This will be the first time that Temple will be playing against FIU and the first time the Owls will be playing at Tropicana Field.

Temple enters this game 2-4 all-time in bowl game appearances, 1-3 in the last 8 years and have lost in the previous two seasons. However, Geoff Collins is in the process of turning the tide on the recent bowl game outcomes. In this just his first season as head coach, he was able to reach the .500 mark for the season and make a bowl game appearance. Temple has not had a head coach guide the team through two postseason appearances. (Previous HC Matt Rhule left the team for the HC job at Baylor prior to last season’s bowl game vs. Wake Forest.)

Nutile will be making his sixth straight start in Thursday’s bowl game. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

For the Golden Panthers, they will be making their school’s third bowl appearance in program history. In their previous two appearances, FIU has a record of 1-1. In 2010, the team was the Sun Belt Conference Champion, entering the game at 6-6. FIU played the 8-4 Toledo Rockets. FIU was able to overcome a 24-7 deficit early in the 3rd quarter to come back and win the game on a game-winning 34-yard field goal as time expired. The following year, in 2011, FIU went 8-4, finishing 4th in the Sun Belt Conference. They were invited to play in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl against the 6-6 Marshall Thundering Herd. The game was tied at 10 apiece going into the 4th quarter, then Marshall scored the final 10 points to win the game.

The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl has had some significant names come through their contest. Blake Bortles, the starting QB for the Jacksonville Jaguars played QB doe UCF when his team played in the bowl in 2012. Star wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts T.Y. Hilton was catching passes when FIU played in the game in 2011. Other star players include the Colts starting QB Jacoby Brissett (NC State), the Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty (Rutgers), Minnesota Vikings running back Latavius Murray (USF), Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu Sr. (Rutgers).

Florida International comes into this game with an offense that ranks first in the nation in red zone scoring, scoring points on 97.5% of red-zone opportunities. On the opposite side of the ball, the Golden Panthers defense has been quite stingy in the red-zone, finishing the season 25th in the nation with their opposition scoring on just 77.6% of their chances. While the Golden Panther’s third-down conversion percentage is 26th in the FBS at 44.6%.

The FIU offense is led by senior QB Alex McGough, who on the season has a 65.3% completion percentage, throwing for 2791 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. McGough also has the team’s third most touches rushing the ball 77 times for 214 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Alex McGough has led his team to the third bowl game in program history.

Leading the rushing attack is senior Alex Gardner. This season, he’s rushed 171 times for 765 yards and 6 touchdowns. Over the last 4 seasons, Gardner has tallied up 3,037 rushing yards on 675 carries. He is also a viable option to receive out of the backfield as well. This season he’s caught 17 passes for 70 yards. Over his 4 seasons, he has caught 115 passes totaling 751 yards and 1 touchdown.

QB Alex McGough’s favorite target is senior WR Thomas Owens. On the season, Owens has 59 catches for 887 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has not had a game where he caught below 40 yards. Though due to a knee injury that sidelined him the last three games, he will be forced to sit out of the bowl game, and he will look towards the NFL for his next step.

In the place of Owens’ receptions, look to senior TE Pharoah McKever who has 26 catches for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns. Also look for sophomore WR Tony Gaiter who has 31 catches for 293 yards and 1 touchdown.

Defensively for the Golden Panthers, their leading tackler is senior LB Treyvon Williams with 82 tackles, 8 for loss. He also has 3 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Right behind Williams in total tackles is fellow senior LB Anthony Wint with 81 total tackles, 7 for loss.

Leading the team in interceptions is senior CB Brad Muhammad with 4. The senior also has 51 total tackles. Leading the team in sacks is junior defensive lineman Fermin Silva, who has 7 sacks and 45 total tackles, a team-high 14 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. Right behind Silva in sacks is fellow junior defensive lineman Anthony Johnson with 6 sacks, and 37 tackles, 7 for loss.

Again, it’s the Temple Owls (6-6, 4-4 American) vs. the Florida International Golden Panthers (8-4, 5-3 C-USA). The game is set to kick off from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, at 8 PM, on ESPN. Make sure to follow up with the SportsDesk for continuing coverage throughout game day.

Temple Edges St. Joseph’s in Big 5 Matinee

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On a snowy Saturday afternoon in North Philadelphia, Big 5 basketball tipped off once again as the Owls (5-2) took on the Hawks (4-4).

Temple was able to withstand St. Joeseph’s late surge to earn an 81-78 win over their Big 5 foe.

Temple came into the game after having beaten Wisconsin this past Wednesday, for the Hawks, they came in after a blowout loss to No. 4 Villanova last week.

Early on in the contest, St. Joe’s went on an early 17-2 run jumping out to a 17-8 lead. But Temple would respond quickly with a 10-0 run of their own to retake the lead.

After trading baskets back and forth, Temple would go on yet another run, this time 12-0 getting some separation. The run was highlighted by a thunderous put-back dunk by Quinton Rose.

At the half, Temple led 40-29, ending the half on an impressive 17-3 run. Shizz Alston led all scorers with 15, shooting 4-5 from 3-point land.

In the second half, Temple was able to withstand minor St. Joe’s runs to keep them at arm’s length. With 10 minutes to go in the game, Temple held a 10-point lead. The Owls’ would extend their lead to 16 points with 5 minutes remaining.

Though with 1:30 remaining, the Hawks would make it interesting by cutting the Owls’ lead to 4 to cap off a 17-2 run. After a Shizz Alston offensive foul, the Hawks would get the ball back and take a trip to the free throw line, but the Hawks’ would miss both.

Evading the late comeback by the Hawks, the Owls would prevail and earn their second home victory of the season, improving to 6-2, while the Hawks fall to 4-5.

Shizz Alston led scorers with 20, followed by Quinton Rose who had 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists. Josh Brown added 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists and Ernest Aflakpui with his best game of the year with 12 points and 6 rebounds.

Next up for the Temple Owls is No. 4 Villanova at The Liacouras Center this Wednesday at 7 PM.

Let’s Go Bowling – Temple Football

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Last week, in the regular season finale, the Temple Owls knocked off conference opponent Tulsa by a score of 43-22. The victory made the team winners of three of their last four contests and 6-6 overall, making the Owls bowl eligible for the third straight year.

In 2015, the team posted a 10-4 record, with signature games featuring a 17-point win against Penn State and a 4-point loss to No. 9 Notre Dame. At the tail end of the season, the Owls earned a spot in the AAC championship game but fell short 24-13 to the Houston Cougars. They got selected to play in the Boca Raton Bowl against the Toledo Rockets (10-2). The Owls fell short in that game as well, losing 32-17.

Last season, the team posted another 10-4 record with a signature win coming at the end of the season. The Owls took on the Houston Cougars in the AAC championship game for the second year in a row. This time around though Temple came out victorious with a 34-10 victory. Big games from Keith Kirkwood, Ventell Bryant, Ryquell Armstead, and then senior Jahad Thomas helped the Owls on their way to the win. Following the conference championship, Temple was selected to play in the Military Bowl against Wake Forest (7-6) but lost 34-26 after losing their Head Coach Matt Rhule, of four seasons, to the head coaching position at Baylor University.

Fast Forward to the current 2017 season. To this point, the Owls are 6-6 overall and 4-4 in conference play during Head Coach Geoff Collins first season at Temple University.

The season started out in a blowout loss at Notre Dame followed by two straight wins at home against Villanova and UMass. The Owls would go 1-3 in their next four games including a blowout loss to No. 21 USF, a blowout win vs. ECU and a heartbreaking loss to UConn on homecoming. Following the UConn loss, Coach Collins decided to switch things up at QB and start Frank Nutile over Logan Marchi after Marchi got a minor injury at practice. Nutile stepped in and right away looked like the right choice. The team suffered a tough overtime loss at Army but bounced right back off of their bye week when they played Navy and won 34-26. After that convincing win in primetime against Navy, the Owls went 2-1 with the loss coming from No. 14 UCF. Making QB Frank Nutile 3-2 in his 5 games as a starter throwing 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions (4 of which coming in the blowout loss to No. 14 UCF).

After the team notched their 6th win of the season, one question remains: which bowl game will the Temple Owls be selected for? Let’s take a look at some possibilities.

AutoNation Cure Bowl
The Cure Bowl made its debut in 2015 and is played at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The game features one team from the American Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt Conference. The net proceeds from the game benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Possible opponents for this game would be Georgia State (6-4), Louisiana (5-6) or New Mexico State (5-6).
Boca Raton Bowl
The Boca Raton Bowl began in 2014 and features one team from the AAC in a 6-year cycle and from Conference USA. The game is played in Boca Raton, Florida, at FAU Stadium. Possible opponents for this game would be Marshall (7-5), Louisiana Tech (6-6), Middle Tennessee (6-6) or WKU (6-6).

DXL Frisco Bowl
This is the first year for the DXL Frisco Bowl. It was formerly known as the Miami Beach Bowl but got relocated to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. An American Athletic Team plays in the bowl each year but has no specific opposing conference.

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
This bowl game is played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The AAC gives a team 3 times in a 6-year cycle, and this season Conference USA will also play in this bowl as well. Possible opponents for this game would be Marshall (7-5), Louisiana Tech (6-6), Middle Tennessee (6-6) or WKU (6-6).

Birmingham Bowl
This bowl game has been around since 2006 and is played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The AAC annually faces an opponent from the SEC. Possible opponents for this game would be Kentucky (7-5), Missouri (7-5), Texas A&M (7-5), Ole Miss (6-5) or Vanderbilt (5-7).

Hawai’i Bowl This bowl game is played on Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium on the campus of the University of Hawaii. The AAC will send one team 3 times in 5 years to compete against an opponent from the Mountain West Conference. Possible opponents for this game would be Colorado State (7-5), Utah State (6-6), Air Force (5-7) or UNLV (5-7).

Military Bowl
This bowl game takes place at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. In the current format, the AAC will square off against an opponent from the ACC. Possible opponents for this game would be Boston College (7-5), Wake Forest (7-5), Duke (6-6), Virginia (6-6) or Pittsburg (5-7).

Head Coach Geoff Collins and his Temple Owls will look to end the season on a high note and finish 7-6, setting the tone early for next season with a big win.

Make sure to stick with the SportsDesk for continued coverage of Temple Football’s bowl game status.

Temple Loses Thriller to LaSalle 87-83 for 1st Loss

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A Big 5 matchup tipped off late this afternoon from the Tom Gola Arena in front of a raucous crowd as the Temple Owls took a short trip up north to take on the LaSalle Explorers.

LaSalle won this contest in thrilling fashion by a score of 87-83.

Temple came into this game fresh off their win this past Sunday against Clemson in the championship game of the Charleston Classic in South Carolina.

LaSalle was winners of their first three games including one against fellow Big 5 team, the Penn Quakers. Since their 3-0 start, they’ve dropped their last games, most recently an 11-point loss to 11th ranked Miami FL.

In the first half, Temple jumped out to take a double-digit point lead over the Explorers. Quinton Rose was a big factor in the first half, making shot after shot, scoring 13 out of Temple’s 43 points.

With under two minutes to go in the half, LaSalle cut the Temple lead to 2 after an 8-0 run led by LaSalle’s Pookie Powell who scored 11 in the half. Temple entered halftime with a 43-37 lead.

The second half started out with both teams trading baskets early and often. That is until LaSalle went on yet another run with about 8 minutes remaining in the game when they tied up the game at 66.

The game would later be tied at 76 with under 3 minutes remaining until Obi Enechionyia hit another big three-pointer to put the Owls ahead. The teams would then go on the see-saw trading baskets and the lead.

With exactly, 1 minute remaining Temple led 81-80. Shortly after, LaSalle’s Pookie Powell would hit a three to put the Explorers up 83-81 and they wouldn’t look back.

Temple’s top scorer and rebounder was Quinton Rose who finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 1 assist. The team’s leader in assists was Josh Brown with 7, to go along with 11 points and 3 rebounds. Also in double-figures for the Owls’ were Shizz Alston (18) and Obi Enechionyia (16, 4-5 from three-point land).

For the Explorers’ their top performer was Pookie Powell, who scored 29 points including the go-ahead 3-pointer with under a minute remaining. His 29 points went along with 2 rebounds and 3 assists. Also, a big factor on offense was B.J. Washington who scored 25 points.

Temple had a better shooting percentage (55.7% to 49.3%), out-rebounded (32-31), and had more assists (13-12) then LaSalle, but still went down today.

The loss gives Temple their first of the season and next they will face South Carolina on Thursday at 9:00 PM.

SportsDesk Practice Report: 11/21

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All season long, players have been talking about going 1-0 each week. And if they want to become bowl eligible, they’ll have to preach that same motto one more time.

The Temple Owls will have one final chance to reach six wins and become bowl eligible. That chance will come this Saturday when the team travels to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to take on the Golden Hurricane.

Temple (5-6, 3-4), took a loss to nationally ranked UCF last Saturday 45-19, while Tulsa (2-9, 1-6), lost a tough battle with USF, 27-20.

In the Owls’ contest against UCF, QB Frank Nutile had the worst performance of his young starting career. The redshirt junior QB went 17-40

on passing attempts, barely eclipsing 200 yards with 201, throwing for 2 touchdowns and a season-high 4 interceptions. When asked how he shook things off from the shaky performance, Nutile said this,

 

“I think as a quarterback and a competitor you kind of just have to flush it. You have to learn from those mistakes and flush it. I got to be ready to lead the team and we all got to be ready to go. At the end of the day, you just got to flush it and get ready for Tulsa and that’s it, just get ready for Saturday.”

Although Temple lost, they were able to outgain UCF in total offense yardage, 397-384, almost evenly split between passing and rushing, 201 passing and 196 yards rushing. The team’s rushing total came from a variety of players. Mainly, David Hood (12 rushes, 81 yards), Rob Ritrovato (5-41), and Isaiah Wright (4-32). Other contributors were Ryquell Armstead (7-18), Frank Nutile (6-14) and Travon Williams (1-10).

On the receiving end of things, Adonis Jennings led the way with 88 yards and 1 touchdown on just 2 catches, Keith Kirkwood also caught a touchdown on 1 of his 3 catches for 32 yards. Other contributors were Ventell Bryant (team-high 4 catches, 26 yards), Randle Jones (2-24) and Isaiah Wright (2-16).

Defensively for the Owls, it was tough to make a stand when the majority of the time UCF got the ball in very good field position, though they held the nation’s top scoring offense to less than 400 yards. Leading the way was defensive end, Jullian Taylor, with a team-high 10 tackles on the day and 4.5 tackles for loss. Fellow DE Sharif Finch was a nuisance in the backfield all day with 2 sacks and 4 tackles, 3 of them for a loss.

The player who will wear the No. 1 jersey for the Owls in their final regular season contest will be DE Jullian Taylor. Taylor had the honor once before this season, and due to his performance last Saturday, it earned him the honor once again. On the season, Taylor has 35 total tackles, 8 for loss.

“It’s not very often, I’m just glad to be wearing it again, especially at the end of the season, that means I finished strong,” Taylor said.

For Tulsa, they come in losers of 4 straight games. Their last win came in mid-October when they took on Houston at home and won 45-17. They’ve fared pretty well at home posting a 2-3 record, while on the road they’re 0-6.

Last week against USF, Tulsa’s RB D’Angelo Brewer rushed 33 times for 163 yards, setting the conference career rushing record with 3,662 yards.

This week, Temple’s senior class with once again be looking for their 32nd win to make them the winningest class in school history.

“It definitely means something. I’ve been here for a lot of game-days, the win against Penn State, it has definitely been a fun ride to have a chance to be the winningest team in Temple history, that’s definitely special,” said senior WR Adonis Jennings.

The game is set to kick off from H.A. Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at 4:00 PM. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNews and you can listen in on 610 WTEL.

Temple Tops Auburn 88-74 to Advance to Charleston Classic Championship

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After a victory by the Owls in the first game of the Charleston Classic, they took on the Auburn Tigers for a chance to go to the championship game in the tournament. Temple took care of business once again down the stretch winning the game 88-74.

The first half was a tight affair, trading baskets and lead changes throughout. Temple’s biggest lead in the first half was 7, though it was cut to 1 by the break, Temple led 32-31. Shooting in the first half was a bit of a struggle for both teams, as neither could find their stroke from beyond the arc.

By the time the second half rolled around, Temple took command. Down the stretch, Quinton Rose hit big shot after big shot increasing the Owl’s lead and separating themselves farther and farther as the second half went on.

Quinton Rose and Obi Enechionyia were Temple’s leading scorers with 19 a piece. Enechionyia recorded his first double-double of the season with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal and was a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line. Quinton Rose had another great day shooting behind the arc, he went 5-8 to contribute to his 19 points, and add 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal to his stat line for the day.

The two other Owl’s in double figures were Shizz Alston Jr. and Alani Moore (10). Alston put up 18 points on 6-9 shooting and 2-3 from beyond the arc, to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Josh Brown, his second game back from being injured last season, is still looking to find his stroke. The senior guard was just 2-6 from the field, 0-1 from beyond and picked up 2 of 3 from the free throw line giving him a total of 6 points, 1 rebound and 3 assists.

As a team, Temple shot 49.2% from the field, 38.5% from three-point territory and 81.8% from the free throw line.

For the Tigers, their leading scorer was Anfernee McLemore off the bench, tallying 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks. Desean Murray earned himself a double-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 assists. Bryce Brown and Jared Harper were in double figures as well. Brown put up 10 points after going just 3-11 from beyond the arc, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal. Harper had 11 points on 3-12 shooting and 1-6 from three, 3 rebounds, a team-high 7 assists, and two steals.

As a team, Auburn shot 36% from the field, 24.2% from three-point territory and 70.6% from the free throw line.

The win improves the Owls’ record to 2-0 and will face off against the winner of Clemson/Hofstra who will play later tonight, in the Charleston Classic championship game Sunday night at 9:30 on ESPN2.

SportsDesk Preview: No. 14 UCF vs Temple

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After knocking off division foe Cincinnati last week 35-24, for the team’s first back-to-back conference victories of the season, Temple looks to keep the ball rolling this Saturday afternoon when they face their toughest test yet.

With bowl eligibility on the line, the Owls (5-5, 3-3) are turning their focus to the undefeated division leader No. 14 UCF Golden Knights (9-0, 6-0).

Saturday will also be Senior Day for the Owls’ senior class. They will play at Lincoln Financial Field one last time as Temple Owls, as they try to earn their 32nd win as a class, which would make them the winningest class in program history. Putting this senior class one win over the senior class of 2011.

“I never really thought this day would come, the time has really flown. I’ve enjoyed my time here at Temple with the guys and being a part of this culture, being a part of this program, being a part of this university and be able to represent this university on a weekly basis, it’s exciting. It’s kind of sad, but I don’t think I have any regrets,” senior DE Jacob Martin said. “As a senior that’s what you want, to not have any regrets, and I don’t have any here at Temple. I’m truly thankful for the opportunity to play at this university and be a part of such a great environment and culture.” 

Players have been preaching for the last few weeks on how all they want to do is win out for the seniors and get them to a bowl game. Here is how the senior class stacks up for the Owls:

DB Sean Chandler, Cequan Jefferson, Artrel Foster, Mike Jones
OL Leon Johnson, Brian Carter, Adrian Sullivan, Cole Boozer
DL Jacob Martin, Sharif Finch, Jullian Taylor, Greg Webb
ST Austin Jones, Alex Starzyk, Corey Lerch, Josh Lang
WR Adonis Jennings, Keith Kirkwood
FB Nick Sharga
LB Chris Smith

Key players

 

Temple

  • After the injury to early season starter Logan Marchi, Frank Nutile has made the most of every opportunity given. Over his last three games since taking over in the battle against Navy, Nutile has thrown for on average a total of 268 yards with 3 touchdowns a game to go driving the Owls to a 2-1 record over that span.

 

  • One of Temple’s only other consistent bright spots on the season is created by the efforts of Sophomore Isaiah Wright. Wright has been all over the field this season, being the only player on his team with a rushing, receiving, and returning touchdown this season.

UCF

 

 

  • UCF’s offense looks to keep their onslaught on a roll defeating teams by well over 3 touchdowns a game on the winding down season.

 

 

 

  • Having one of the best years of his career, Mckenzie Milton looks to come into Philly and prove as to why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Throwing for over 2000 yards and 20 touchdowns, Milton looks to challenge the touch defense recently of the owls .

 

 

  • Posted in the backfield with Milton is Adrian Killins Jr. who has been an impressive compliment to his quarterback thus far on the year. Killins jr. has proven his worth this season rushing for 8 touchdowns on the year showing his capabilities of having big games with his best one coming two weeks ago against tulane when he let loose for 145 yards.

When Temple is on Offense 

Last week against Cincinnati, the Owls were clicking on all cylinders. A very balanced attack offensively, QB Frank Nutile led the way through the air throwing for 224 yards and 1 TD. On the ground, it was David Hood with the best game of his collegiate career, rushing for 108 yards and 1 TD. Hood’s 108 yards made up most of what was part of a 205-yard day rushing for the Temple offense. RB Rob Ritrovato and Ryquell Armstead combined for 72 yards, and Nutile himself added 28 yards and one touchdown.

The trio of Ventell Bryant, Keith Kirkwood (TD catch) and Isaiah Wright combined for 141 of Nutile’s 224 yards.

The defense looked just as complete as the offense in the victory. The Owls shut out the Bearcats in the first half, though Cincinnati came out in the second half and traded TD’s with the Owls on their first few drives. S Sean Chandler led the team in tackles with 11 and one fumble recovery. The defense had to overcome a big loss in LB Chapelle Russell, the teams leading tackler. Russell was ruled out for the remainder of the season after a knee injury prior to the game.

And on special teams, Isaiah Wright earned himself Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter, just when Cincinnati had pulled to within 6.

The Owls look to keep that same mentality and drive, as they face off against the highest scoring offense in the nation.

For the UCF Golden Knights, they enter the game 9-0 for the first time in program history. The Knights are in the Top 25 for the first time since 2013 and for good reason.

The UCF offense leads the nation in scoring offense with 48.6 points per game. They are one of just 11 teams in the nation to be in the top 30 in both scoring offense and scoring defense.

The Knights are most recently coming off a 49-24 victory over UConn. The team gained 519 yards of total offense, which makes it the sixth time they’ve eclipsed 500 yards of total offense this season. UCF scored on four of their first five drives, while the defense forced a pair of turnovers in form of a fumble recovery and an interception. The defense also recorded 3 sacks and 5 tackles for loss.

In 2015, UCF was a winless team. The school then hired Scott Frost, who turned the team around to go 6-7 and earned a bowl game in 2016. Now, the Golden Knights are off to the best start in program history at 9-0.

When Temple is on Defense 

The nation’s highest-scoring offense is led by sophomore QB McKenzie Milton. Milton has thrown 22 touchdowns this season, and he is second in the nation in passing efficiency (184.6) and third in completion percentage (69.6%). On the season, Milton has completed 176 of 253 passing attempts totaling 2720 yards and 5 interceptions to go along with his 22 TD passes.

Milton is also the teams second leading rusher. He’s rushed 65 times for a total of 350 yards and 4 touchdowns. The team’s leading rusher is sophomore RB Adrian Killins Jr., who has rushed 74 times for 599 yards and 8 touchdowns. Killins is averaging 8.1 yards per carry, his career-best day was at SMU two weeks ago when he rushed for 145 yards. Sharing the backfield with Killins is junior RB Taj McGowan, who has rushed 64 times for 229 yards and tied with Killins for touchdowns on the season with 8.

 

Milton has thrown 22 TD passes this season and has run for 4.

On the receiving end of things, leading the pack is Milton’s favorite receiver junior Tre’Quan Smith. Smith has hauled in 40 catches totaling 761 yards and a team-high 10 touchdowns. He is seventh all-time at UCF with 19 career touchdown catches and fourth in the nation currently with his 10 TD catches this season. Also getting catches is sophomore Dredrick Snelson who has 28 catches for 429 yards and 3 touchdowns and senior TE Jordan Akins has 22 catches for 351 yards and 3 touchdowns.

 

“Keep watching film and execute our plays. They execute their plays very well, they run and pass very well, they’re very talented and that’s why they get off the way they do. We just have to execute our defenses, our coaches will have us in the right call and we’ll have to execute and play our game,” junior S Delvon Randall said on how to slow down the UCF offense.

Defensively, junior LB Pat Jasinski leads the team in tackles with 69, he’s also got one sack, one pass broken up, a forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Leading the team in sacks is senior LB Shaquem Griffin with 3, 6 quarterback hits, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Last season, Griffin was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year, he also leads the team in tackles for loss with 6.5.

Leading the team in interceptions are juniors CB Mike Hughes, and S Kyle Gibson, each with 3. Gibson’s 3 INT’s are to go along with 40 tackles, 4 passes broken up, and two fumble recoveries. Mike Hughes is 17th in the nation with 1.3 passes defended per game.

UCF has been dominant this season, though Temple has had some recent success against ranked opponents. Since 2014, Temple has served as one of the conference’s top teams when facing a ranked opponent, compiling one win each of the past three seasons for an even 3-3 record all-time.

Temple will need all aspects of their game to be on point as they head into battle this weekend if they want to keep their winning streak alive, become bowl eligible, and take down an undefeated division opponent, all on the seniors last game on their home field.

The game is set to kickoff from Lincoln Financial Field at noon this Saturday afternoon. It will be broadcasted live on ESPNU and you can listen in on 97.5 The Fanatic.

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