PHILADELPHIA, PA. 9/20/2018 – A Thursday Night Special nationally televised on ESPN. It was behind this backdrop that the Temple Owls opened their American conference schedule. with a 31 – 17 victory over the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa. The victory was a total team effort for the Cherry and White.
“We told them that college football games, AAC games aren’t supposed to be easy,” Temple Coach Geoff Collins said. “You’ve got to fight, you’ve got to scratch, and you have to claw to get wins in this league and college football in general.”
The game saw both teams going after each other on offense. In such a situation the defense needs to come up big, and the Temple defense did. They opened the scoring in the first quarter when corner back Ty Mason intercepted a pass by Tulsa quarterback Luke Skipper and took it 36-yards untouched for a score, his second touchdown of the season. Leading 21 – 10 in the third quarter the defense got another score when defensive tackle Quincy Roche sacked Skipper and forced a fumble. Defensive tackle Karamo Dioubate picked up the loose ball and ran it in from 50-yards away as Temple took a 28 – 10 lead in the third quarter. The Owls forced 5 turnovers, an important one in the fourth quarter at the Temple 34 with 7:09 to play, the sack and fumble recovery by Chapelle Russell prevented Tulsa from getting a proximity score. Temple had 6 sacks in the game.
“That was huge,” Collins said about the defensive touchdowns. “We want to get the ball, it’s all about the ball. It’s been nice to see us creating turnovers, causing fumbles, getting picks, then scoring off them. It’s was fun seeing us being smart when we do get the turnovers and having play makers that can take it to the house.”
The defensive scores wiped out the Golden Hurricane advantages in time of possession (plus 10 minutes), number of plays (over 50 more for Tulsa), and double the amount of first downs.
“That was a big energy booster,” Roche said about the defensive scores. “It got us going, the offense going. It was a big boost.”
The running game has been a staple over the past few weeks. Running back Ryquell Armstead gained 108 rushing yards. It was his third straight 100-yard game. The last Temple runner to do that was Bernard Pierce who had three straight in the 2011 season. Armstead crossed the goal line from 22-yards out with 3:12 left before halftime that gave the Owls a 21 – 10 cushion. Armstead also recorded a sack.
“You don’t see many running backs get a sack, play on special teams, get out there on defense, rush the quarterback and get sacks,” said Collins.
The 167 yards on the ground were meaningful in that it got the Owls a breather.
“It is very important for us to run the football,” Armstead said. “That was something big for us to focus on. To run the ball on those guys and keep the defense off the field was good.”
Anthony Russo started at quarterback for Temple, and he has a 2 – 0 record substituting for Frank Nutile. Russo threw for 112 yards, had a rushing touchdown, and two passes swiped.
Skipper threw for 195 yards for Tulsa, but was intercepted three times. Running back Corey Taylor II ran for 96 yards and crossed the goal line two times.
The Owls even their record at 2 – 2, and more importantly are 1 – 0 in the American. They will have nine days until the next game which will be at Boston College where they will see former coach Steve Addazio.
Written By: Glenn Papazian