The Temple Owls are 2-0! The Temple Owls are 2-0! Now, when is the last time that anybody could say that? Saturday, September 10, 2011 to be exact, when the Owls blew out the Akron Zips 41-3. What differentiates the 2011 season from the 2015 season is the strength of the teams that Temple beat to start the season off 2-0. In the 2011 campaign, Temple beat Villanova, in their opener, and not to knock the FCS, but Nova was the underdog in that game. Then, the Owls blew out the Akron Zips, and the Zips haven’t had a winning season since 2005. What makes this 2-0 start so sweet is the fact that Temple beat a team that they hadn’t beaten in 74 years in Penn State, and another team that many had winning the American in Cincinnati.
It was another sluggish start for Temple tonight, and their offense was very slow out of the gate, but the Owls’ defense shined as expected. Temple’s defense picked off Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel FOUR times as the Owls cruised to a 34-26 victory. Although the final score turned out to be a close one, Temple had control for the majority of the second half. In a similar fashion to last week’s win over Penn State, the Owls drove down the field in the final minutes of the first half and PJ Walker found Michael Felton for a 1-yard touchdown capping off a 10 play, 74 yard drive. Temple kept their foot on the gas from there, and after a 100-yard kick return from Jahad Thomas; Temple found themselves on top 17-6. Then, Cincinnati answered and cut Temple’s lead to five.
Jahad Thomas had himself a night, and on the following drive, Thomas hit the hole and took the ball 56 yards to the house. After his performance tonight, and the game he had last week against Penn State, don’t be surprised if you see Thomas on the Heisman watch list. In the past two games, Thomas has totaled 328 yards on 55 carries, and he has rushed for 3 touchdowns. In the win against Cincinnati, Thomas also compiled 132 return yards and a touchdown on just three kick returns. He has proven to be an all-around playmaker.
At one point the Owls led 34-12, but the Bearcats clawed their way back into the game, and they really made it interesting in the final minutes of the fourth; that is until Tyler Matakevich picked off Ginner Kiel just as the Bearcats were at Temple’s 5-yard line knocking on the doorstep.
Temple is 2-0, and they have already beaten a team in Penn State that they haven’t beaten in 74 years, and a Cincinnati Bearcats team that is favored to win the American. On a side note, keep wide receiver Broderick Yancy in your prayers. Yancy went down with an injury late in the second quarter on a kickoff and was taken off of the field on a stretcher.
Temple will face UMass next Saturday at 3 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, as the Owls hope to start the season 3-0. Be sure to follow the SportsDesk at @TU_SportsDesk for coverage on all things Temple sports and up to the second updates.