PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/2/2017 – Both the Temple Owls and the Midshipmen of Navy were looking to break a two-game losing streak. Both teams were looking for bowl eligibility. The Owls got off to a fast start and held the lead winning 34 – 26 at the Linc. Temple ends the losing streak and keeps a bowl bid in sight.
“It was big,” said Temple quarterback Frank Nutile about having the good start. “We needed to start fast and we did a good job on offense of having that mindset, not wanting to put the defense in a bad spot.”
The Cherry and White did it through the air. Quarterback Frank Nutile completed 22 of 30 passes for 289 yards, one shy of his performance against Army, and a career-best four touchdowns. The Owls scored on their first four possessions in the game taking a 24 – 6 lead with 11:22 left in the third quarter. Nutile had two touchdown passes of 40 and 34 yards to wide receiver Adonis Jennings, who caught 5 passes for a career-high 127 yards.
“He’s been a play maker for us all year and his entire career,” Temple Coach Geoff Collins said about Jennings. “It was good that Frank found him tonight. Adonis is a big time play maker for us. Getting 127 yards and 2 touchdowns is a pretty good night.”
For Jennings the result means more than the number.
“I’m just happy that we won,” Jennings said. “We are one step closer to achieving our goals. I’m a team player and it’s all about the team. I want to win these next few games then achieve what we want to achieve.”
The other scoring toss in the first half went to wide receiver Keith Kirkwood.
After Navy got on the board on a trick play touchdown pass from back Malcolm Perry to quarterback Zach Abey to pull to within 24 – 13, Temple reestablished control with an 11-play, 81-yard scoring drive in 5:01 to move in front 31 – 13 just 57 seconds before the end of the quarter. Nutile and Jennings just missed on another touchdown. On a 3rd and 8 at the Midshipmen 34, Jennings got behind the defense, caught the pass, but was down at the 1-yard line. Nutile finished the drive with a 3-yard scoring toss to tight end Jake Robinson.
The Owls defense was able to keep Navy quarterback Zach Abey under control. Abey came into the game averaging 163 yards of offense, second in the FBS. This game he ran for 60 yards on 25 carries and passed for 111 before leaving the game. He did not break the big play needed.
With the Naval Academy being predominantly a running team, the time consuming drives of over 9 and 5 minutes didn’t allow the team sufficient time for a comeback. The Midshipmen did score two fourth quarter touchdowns, passes from Garrett Lewis to Brandon Colon and Tyler Carmona, to get to within a possession.
For the game the Cherry and White recorded five sacks, two by Sharif Finch, and an interception by Delvon Randall his fourth of the year. Stopping the run was the key.
“To hold an offense like that to 136 yards rushing, you have to give hats off to the defensive players who really did a great job,” Collins said.
Temple improves to 4 – 5 on the season and is 2 – 3 in the American. The Navy losing streak reaches three games and at 3 – 3 in the American (5 – 3 overall) lost more ground the division leading Memphis. The Owls take the field next Friday at Cincinnati hoping to build on this win.
“Right now there is a sense of urgency,” Nutile said. “Everyone is locked in and focused. We want to send those guys (the seniors) out the right way.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian