PHILADELPHIA, PA. 9/30/2017 – The Temple Owls were looking to bounce back after the loss at Florida State over a week ago. It did give the team time to recover, but they would face another stern test posed by the Houston Cougars who were coming off a heartbreaking loss against Texas Tech.
In the first half the doldrums continued for the Temple offense. They could not sustain a running game or put together drives. In the first half seven dries ended in punts four times and two interceptions. At halftime the Owls trailed 13 – 0.
This could not continue and did not. Temple found a rhythm, began to run the ball. Houston did not surrender the lead, but the Cherry and White did pull to within one score. The Cougars came away with a 20 – 13 victory at the Linc.
That team that played in the second half was really good,” said Temple Coach Geoff Collins. “We got the running game going in the second half which has been a point of emphasis. They did some good things. I’m proud of how they fought.”
After thirty minutes of play the Owls had minus-eight yards rushing, and 114 yards of total offense compared to 232 for the Cougars. After intermission the running game produced 150 yards for the Owls, and committed no turnovers. Running backs Ryquell Armstead and David Hood found space and ran for 63 and 53 yards. And Temple appeared to gain a sense of purpose on offense.
After Houston took the second half kickoff down the field for a touchdown on a 9-yard from Kyle Postma to Lindell Bonner the deficit grew to 20 – 0, it appeared bleak. Temple needed a boost. The spark came from a 41-yard field goal by Aaron Boumerhi at the 8:56 mark.
The defense was giving up yards, but not scores. Safety Delvon Randall had an interception, his first of the season. Linebacker William Kwenkeu led the team with a career-best eight tackles, seven solo.
Late in the third quarter the Owls put together a drive that lasted 11-plays over 85-yards in 4:37. A flip from quarterback Logan Marchi to Hood brought the score to 20 – 10 with 14:53 to play.
“We do that all the time in practice,” said Hood about the touchdown play. “It’s a goal line play. It’s an option and he (Marchi) held the end and once he committed, it was a touchdown.”
“One of the best plays of the day was the speed option, fourth and one at the goal line,” said Collins.
After a Houston punt the offense was marching again. The Owls drove to the 12-yard line of the Cougars, but had to settle for a 29-yard Boumerhi field goal getting to within 20 – 13.
There was one last chance for Temple at the end. Marchi put up a desperation pass toward the endzone, but Garrett Davis intercepted the ball as time ran out.
The Owls fall to 2 – 3 overall and are still looking for their first win in the American in two tries. Temple travels to East Carolina next week, hoping to build off a strong second half performance.
“In the second half we picked up the running game and were able to execute the way we wanted to,” Marchi said. “We ran the ball well, threw the ball well, that’s our offense. The second half is how we are going to look.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian