PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/26/2016 – For the Temple Owls winning would mean the American Eastern Division title for the second consecutive year and a return trip to the American Championship game. It was a simple as that. The Owls won it 37 – 10 over the East Carolina Pirates. The Owls won it on Senior Night. The next game will be the title tilt at Navy.
“Going back to back, it’s hard to repeat when everyone is aiming at you,” said Temple Coach Matt Rhule. “To go 7 – 1 both years that’s a challenge and shows our players got better. Last year you could sneak up on people. Now they know what you can do.”
Last year Temple lost the American Championship game at Houston. It will be interesting to see if the previous year’s experience will translate well for the Cherry and White who carry a six game winning streak into Annapolis.
“We need to try not to make the same mistakes we made last year,” said Temple quarterback Phillip Walker. “That’s is what I’ll try to relay to the team. We were behind the whole game.”
Walker completed 12 of 20 passing attempts for 158 yards. He has 10,074 career passing yards, the only Temple player to eclipse the 10,000 yard passing mark. Walker also owns the program lead in attempts (1,385), completions (785), touchdowns (71), and wins by a starting quarterback (27). He is also the first quarterback for the Owls to throw for 2,000 plus yards in four seasons. Walker will get the chance to add to those totals.
East Carolina came in losing 8 out their last 9 games. The Pirates got on the scoreboard first taking a 7 – 0 lead in the first quarter. The Owls responded on their ensuing drive capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Ryquell Armstead. He scored again crossing the goal line from 1-yard away for a 21 – 7 halftime lead. Senior running back Jahad Thomas scored twice. Jager Gardner added a touchdown on a 14-yard run.
“Nobody believed that we were going to win the championship, nobody, but we believed,” Walker said. “Our goal was to win the conference championship. We got the East, now its time to prepare for next week.”
It will be Temple at Navy for the Championship. A tough defense against a prolific offense.
Written By: Glenn Papazian