The Temple Owls will return to the American Athletic Conference championship game for the second consecutive year following a 37-10 victory over East Carolina. The Owls will take on the Navy Midshipmen next saturday in Annapolis Maryland.
Temple used a strong rushing attack to take down East Carolina for the third consecutive year. Jahad Thomas led the way with 152 yards , on 24 carries, and two touchdown. Thomas has scored two touchdowns in eight of the nine games he has played in this season. Sophomore running back Ryquell Armstead also scored two touchdowns on the ground.
ECU struck first, and opened the scoring on a 13 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Gardner Minshew to wide receiver Jimmy Williams. The pirates used an 11 play, 58 yard drive, spanning over 5 minutes to jump out to an early seven point lead.
The Owls proceeded to score 21 unanswered points to close out half, lead by two touchdowns from running back Ryquell Armstead, and another by Jahad Thomas. Thomas is 10th in the nation with 17 total touchdowns on the season.
Thomas led the way on the ground for the Owls in the half, rushing 12 times, for 79 yards, and a touchdown, including a big 28 yard run to set up his three yard touchdown run late in the first half. Phillip Walker completed five of eleven passes, for 91 yards in the half, including a 44 yard pass to Adonis Jennings that setup the Owl’s first touchdown of the game. Jennings had a career high 100 yards receiving on six catches, for an average of 16.7 yards per reception.
Temple scored first to open the second half, on a three yard touchdown run by Thomas, his second of the game.
East Carolina responded with a field goal to make the game 27-10. The score was the first points allowed by the Owl’s defense in the second half in the last four games, including shutouts of Uconn, and Tulane.
Temple proceeded to score the final ten points of the game, on a 35 yard field goal by Aaron Boumehri, and a 14 yard touchdown run by Sophomore running back Jager Gardner on his first carry of the game.
Phillip Walker completed 12 of 20 passes on the night, for 158 yards. He became the first quarterback in Temple history to throw for 10,000 yards in his career. He is also 7th in the NCAA in terms of career passing yards.
Avery Williams totaled eight tackles on the night to go along with one tackle for loss. Haason Reddick tallied six tackles, and one tackle for loss. He now has 21.5 tackles for loss on the season. Praise Martin-Oguike totaled five tackles, to go along with two sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
As a team, the Owls did not commit a single penalty in the game, while East Carolina committed four penalties for 33 yards.
19 Owls played in their final home game, including 11 starters. The Owls will look to win their first AAC championship in the history of the program next week at Navy.