History was made Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field as the Temple Owls held off the #23 ranked ECU Pirates 20-10. It was the first home victory over a ranked team in the Owls’ history of playing at the Linc.
After back-to-back losses on the road, the defense stepped up big against the pass happy attack of ECU. Coming into the affair, senior QB Shane Carden was second in the conference with 18 TD on the season.
Midway through the first, RB Breon Allen coughed up the ball for the pirates as ball hawk Tavon Young took it to the house for the 63 yard touchdown recovery. On the next ECU possession, Allen once again put the ball on the ground as junior LB Tyler Matakevich came up with the recovery and the Owls looked to go up two scores.
QB P.J. Walker struggled during the following drive fumbling twice but the Owls eventually found the end zone on a one yard TD run from RB Kenneth Harper. The Owls were up 14 on one of the best team’s in the nation. ECU rarely trailed on the year and their only loss came against SEC South Carolina.
The play calling for the Pirates relied on short yardage passes and zone runs allowing the Temple secondary to play up and not have to worry about the play action or fade routes on the perimeter. ECU could only come up with a field goal in the first half as the Owls took the 14-3 shocker heading into the intermission.
Special teams once again stepped up as Temple blocked ECU’s field goal on the Pirates’ opening possession in the third. The Owls’ capitalized with two major penalties putting the Owls’ in the red zone where Harper once again pushed his way in for a score.
ECU got into the TD column for the first time in the first with seldom used Marquez Grayson carrying it in for six. Both James Hardy and Cam Worthy were neutralized on the day as the Owls’ secondary held them to a combined 71 yards receiving while Carden finished with no TD passes for the first time this year.
The Owls milked the clock in the fourth and held on for the 20-10 win as coach Matt Rhule kept the game ball. A signature win for the Owls, the story of the year was their defense and special teams and both came up huge against one of the best offenses in the nation.
While the score was in the favor of the Owls, they were out gained in yardage by an astounding 293 yards and only had 135 on the day. Miraculously, many would think their offense would need to step up to pull off the upset but once again the revamped D put Carden on lockdown.
The Owls (5-3, 3-2) will continue their home stretch Friday night taking on the upstart Memphis Tigers.
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