Temple Ends a Losing Streak With a 32 – 18 Win Over Navy
PHILADELPHIA, PA 11/4/2023 –
The Temple Owls got a week off, a chance to regroup and get healthy. The biggest return from the injury list is quarterback E.J. Warner. The time off helped as the Owls started fast and ended a five-game losing streak defeating Navy, their first American victory this year.
“The bye week did a lot of good for us in a lot of ways,” said Temple Coach Stan Drayton. “It was a good time for us to decompress for us mentally and focus in on what we are doing and why we’re doing it both as a culture, a football program, and systematically.”
Temple started quickly on both sides of the ball, and took a 17 – 0 lead at halftime. The beginning helped the Owls withstand a charge by the Midshipmen.
The Owls began with a touchdown on the first possession. An 8-play, 75-yard drive in 3:37 capped when quarterback E.J. Warner hit wide receiver Jordan Smith with a 22-yard scoring strike, of his two touchdowns.
“We talked about if we win that toss, taking it and scoring fast, and see if we can get those guys to play a different style,” Drayton said,
The Return of Warner
Warner returned to the lineup and made his presence felt by throwing for 402 yards and four touchdowns. On the receiving side Zae Baines set a career-high in receptions hauling in 7 passes for a collegiate-best 132 yards. His fourth quarter catch and run of 60 yards is his longest reception.
Ten ten different Owls caught passes. Warner has many targets and it helps.
“It’s really just a lot of guys stepping up, come prepared and make sure they know their job, and it’s my job to distribute it,” said Warner. “It’s harder when teams have a lot of different weapons they can use, harder for the defense to defend. We did a good job, a lot of guys stepped up and made plays when we needed them.”
Defense Forced Navy to Adjust
Navy is a run oriented offense. Temple did well in limiting their run giving up 3-yards per carry average, giving up 33 running yards in the first half. Their first score came in the air when quarterback Xavier Arline completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Eli Heidenreich. Later Arline ran for a two-yard score to cut the deficit to 17 – 15 with 14:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“I give all the credit to the d-line,” linebacker Jordan Magee said about defensive effectiveness. “They did a great job stuffing the front. It makes it easier when you don’t have lineman climbing to you. Linebackers and safeties could just get off and make plays.”
Turnovers Costly to Temple
Turnovers allowed Navy to get back into the game. Warner was picked off twice, and fumbles really became the Owls nemesis. In the third quarter possession wide receiver Amad Anderson, Jr. on a 72-yard gain was stripped of the ball, recovered by Navy defensive back Luke Pirris, ten yards away from a score. The Midshipmen got that proximity touchdown on their ensuing drive when Anderson muffed a punt recovered by Jayden Umbarger setting the ball at the the Owls 44 yard line.
“You don’t win games like that with four turnovers,” Drayton said. “You have to play perfect to overcome what we had to overcome. It’s not clean football, but our kids showed a lot of resilience.”
Temple (3 – 6, 1 – 4) goes to South Florida next week and looks to continue the positive trends. But more importantly and in may ways, the negative streak ends.
“It’s monumental, said tight end David Martin-Robinson. “Overcoming that can be one of the greatest skill sets in life for everyone.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian