PHILADELPHIA, PA. 10/29/2016 – The Temple Owls were challenged by the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Owls responded to the Bearcats to earn a 34 – 13 win over Cincinnati at the Linc. The Cherry and White reeled off 17 unanswered points in the second half, and stymied the Cincinnati offense to take control of the game.
“I thoguht the second half was a total team victory against a very good football team,” said Temple Coach Matt Rhule. “I was really proud of the way everybody perfomed.”
It was a matter of Temple putting together long drives and being able to run the ball that made the difference. In the third quarter the Cherry and White leading 17 – 13 took over at their 4 yard line. The offense went on a 15-play drive taking up 87-yards in 7:55 that led to a 27-yard field goal by freshman kicker Aaron Boumerhi to extend the lead to 20 – 13. Boumerhi made two field goals in the game and is 7 for 7 this season.
Defensively, Temple limited Cincinnati 186 yards of offense giving up no first downs and 11 total yards of offense in the second half.
“That was one of our goals, to shut them out in the second half,” said senior linebacker Avery Williams. “We wanted the game. We came here for a dog fight and to shut them out (in the half) was a blessing.”
The combination of defesne and long drvies allowed the Owls to have a time of possession ratio of greater than 2 to 1.
Late in the third quarter taking the ball at their 33 yard line Temple broke out with a 35-yard run by senior running back Jahad Thomas setting the ball at the Cincinnati 32 yard line. The 8-play, 67 yard drive took 3:33 and was capped with a 3-yard touchdown giving the Owls a commanding 27 – 13 lead. On the kickoff the Cherry and White recovered a fumble at the Bearcats 18, then Armstead got his second touchdown of the game from 6-yards out with 12:26 on the clock.
“The thing that turned the tide was that kickoff, Rhule said. It was a big moment.and was a back-breaker for them,” Rhule said.
Temple gained 275 yards on the ground led by Thomas with 151. He had runs of 56 and 35 yards.
“Now, we are pounding people and it is wearing them down,” Armstead said about the running game. “And just staying with it even when things go wrong.”
Through the air the Owls posted 199 yards. Senior quarterback Phillip Walker went 12 of 19 and threw for 2 touchdowns. Walker has 13 touchdown passes this season. The scoring tosses went to sophomore wide receiver Ventell Bryant and junior Adonis Jennings.
Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel gained 119 yards passing and he had 2 scoirng tosses of 4 and 10 yards, both to wide receiver Devin Gray.
Temple (6 – 3, 4 – 1) has won five straight games and keeps a share of first place in the American Athletic Conference Eastern Division. They become bowl eligible this season. Next up for the Owls is a Friday night game at UConn.
Written By: Glenn Papazian