Temple Overcomes Halftime Deficit To Win the Opener
September 2, 2023 –
Another season of Temple football begins, the second under Coach Stan Drayton, with the Akron Zips visiting the Linc. Temple came in with a six-game winning streak over Akron. The last win for the Zips in this series was in the final year of the Twentieth Century.
Make that streak seven games as the Temple Owls find a way for a 24 – 21 win at the Linc. So much for history.
It took a solid defensive effort and the air offense coming more to life in the second half that allowed the Cherry and White to erase a 21 – 10 halftime deficit to get win number one for the season.
“We found a way to win,” said Temple Coach Stan Drayton. “The offense probably played a total of two quarters of good football. You’ve got to get some consistency. I’m very proud of how our defense played. I think you’ll see this team continue to grow.”
The Defense Stood Up
Although Temple played from behind for most of the game, the defense kept the team in proximity over that time. Akron had two big plays (77 yards and 50 yard pass receptions) as part of their total of 279 total yards on 57 plays (4.9 yards per play). Remove those big gainers the total yards became 202 yards, 55 plays for 3.6 yards per play. Akron would convert 3 of 12 chances on third down in getting 13 first downs, and six possessions were the three-and-out variety. Temple put the game away late in the fourth quarter when defensive back Tywan Francis intercepted a pass, the first as an Owls player and first of his collegiate career. Linebacker Yvandy Rigby made 14 total tackles.
Second Half Air Attack
The passing game totaled 292 yards, all by quarterback E.J. Warner. He threw two second half touchdown passes, both to running back Edward Saydee, the first two receiving touchdowns of his career. Warner totaled 138 first half passing yards. In the third quarter he amasses 148 yards on 9 completions.
Drayton is looking for two halves of such an effort.
“We’ve got to play with an edge,” Drayton said. “It’s got to be our why, and it’s got to show up in all four quarters.”
Offenses Took Awhile To Get Going
Other than the second play from scrimmage when Akron quarterback DJ Irons and running back Lorenzo Lingard combined on a 77-yard touchdown catch and run and a 7 – 0 Zips lead.
From there the offenses went on a three-and-out on seven of the next eight possessions. Temple had the only first down in that stretch, then turned the ball over on downs.
It ended at the end of the first quarter when Owls quarterback Quincy Patterson ran the ball for a one-yard touchdown capping an 8-play, 89-yard drove over the final 3:34 of the opening stanza. The Owls got 60 yards in the air during the drive.
Zips Start Zipping
Akron promptly answered with a two-yard touchdown ruin by quarterback Tahj Bullock that capped a drive of 79-yards and a 14 – 7 lead. After an Owls 3-and-out the Zips scored again on a 14-yard scoring reception by wide receiver Myles Walker from Irons and a two touchdown lead with 1:37 remaining.
Temple answered at the end of half with a 40-yard field goal by Camden Price.
Temple travels to New Jersey for a game at Rutgers. The Owls go with a win. They will need a more consistent effort, but the team can build on the hard earned victory.
“We’ll learn from it, build on it, enhance from it and see if we can put a full game together,” said Drayton.
Written By: Glenn Papazian