South Florida ran the night away on Saturday as the Owls defense allowed a season high 326 rushing yards in a 44-23 defeat at the hands of USF. The loss dropped Temple’s record to 8-2, and the Owls suffered their first loss in AAC play. The only other time this season Temple has let up at least 200 rushing yards came in a narrow win against UMass in week 4.
It took almost all of the first quarter for any points to be scored, but with 26 seconds left, P.J Walker and the offense marched 92 yards in 8 plays. Jahad Thomas punched it in from a yard out to put Temple up 7-0. That would be the only lead of the night for the Owls.
Temple’s only lead of the night lasted a mere 20 seconds as Quinto Flowers hooked up with Rodney Adams for a 68 yard touchdown on the first play of the ensuing drive. The Bulls offense and defense collectively caught fire for the remainder of the game and it was enough to give the Owls their first conference loss of the season.
P.J Walker chucked a season-high 28 incompletions and topped over 2,000 yards on the season, while Jahad Thomas was limited to just 65 yards rushing and eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards on the year. The Owls offense scored a season-low 23 points when the defense allowed a season-high 44 points, making so the Owls defense have allowed 84 points in two weeks.
Tyler Matakevich remains the only player in the country to lead his team in tackles in every game, as his 96 tackles puts him on pace to join just six other players in college football history to record 100 tackles in four consecutive seasons.
The Owls allowed three rushing plays of 40 or more yards, something that only occurred three times in the previous 9 games. Big plays served as heartaches for the defense to keep the Bulls on the field just long enough to maintain the lead they kept for over 3 quarters.
The road will not let up for Temple as they will host the top scoring offense in the conference when Memphis comes to town averaging a stout 43.7 points per game. The Tigers boast the 8th ranked offense in the nation in terms of total yards. Two wins in the next two weeks for the Owls would secure an AAC east division title and a spot in the AAC Conference Championship, considering USF wins out as well.