Former Temple alumni made the journey to Lincoln Financial field Saturday to see the Owls go over AAC opponent Tulsa 35-24.
The opening kickoff was a familiar sight for Temple fans as junior Khalif Herbin fumbled but recovered kick to set up shop at the 21. Sophomore Jahad Thomas busted out early on the opening play from scrimmage with a 68 yard run to ensue a Kennth Harper 8 yard TD run two plays later.
After multiple punts by both teams, the special teams unit for the Golden Hurricanes blocked P Alex Starzyk. The AAC’s leading receiver Keevan Lucas established himself on the following drive with two catches for 33 yards. RB Zack Langer barreled his way into the end zone on a 19 yard scamper to tie it up at seven.
Despite an inconsistent first quarter from QB P.J. Walker, the sophomore ended on two of his longest passes of the season with a 37 yard strike to wideout Jalen Fitzpatrick and a 21 yard heave to Harper. The Owls couldn’t capitalize in the red zone bringing out freshman kicker Austin Jones.
Conner Reilly took the snap on fourth down, followed a couple of blocks, and found his way into the end zone on a trick play to put the Owls up 14-7 in the 2nd.
Inconsistent QB Dane Evans would answer on the next drive hooking up with Mandel Dixon after connecting with wideouts Keyarris Garrett and Lucas for a nine yard equalizer.
Speaking of inconsistent, Walker was picked off the following drive on the opening play from scrimmage to set up Tulsa at the Owls’ 40.
Temple caught a break as the defense held and kicker Carl Salazar missed a 41 yard field goal that would have put Tulsa ahead. After another punt the Golden Hurricanes put together a run-based drive focusing on Langer out of the backfield.
On 4th and 1, Temple stopped Langer at the goal line to maintain the tie. Walker found RB Jamie Gilmore on the following drive on a 64 yard completion and later called his own number with a five yard TD run.
Tulsa responded on their first second half drive with Evans finding Lucas on a 29 yard pass for a TD tying up the game at 21.
Salazar would add on putting Tulsa up 24-21. After formulating a drive into Tulsa territory, Jones botched a 37 yard field goal for the Owls.
Walker, needing to pull the Owls back, hit Fitzpatrick on a 30 yard bullet to take the lead after a 36 yarder to Gilmore as the Owls regained the advantage 28-24. After a Tulsa punt, Thomas once broke a run this time of 34 yards and would later take it in for 20 yards on a reception putting Temple up two scores.
Evans couldn’t muster a comeback failing to convert on fourth downs in his last two drives as the Owls took the 35-24 victory on Homecoming.
Thomas was undoubtedly the Owls calling card on offense. The sophomore possibly had his breakout game registering 152 yards on the ground on only 14 carries. That’s a robust 10.9 average. Evans bounced back going 21/36 for 360 yards through the air and had two TDs for Tulsa.
Temple (4-1, 2-0) picks up an important conference victory to double their win total from last year. They travel to Houston Friday to take on another conference opponent.