No. 22 Temple remained unbeaten on the season Thursday night, and made a little program history in the process. That doesn’t mean, though, there weren’t some anxious moments along the way to the record books.
In fact, Temple either trailed or held a scant three-point lead for the first 56 minutes of its game at East Carolina. The last four minutes, however, the Owls put the AAC matchup and the Pirates away in a 24-14 win.
The win was Temple’s seventh in a row to start the season, the first time in program history the Owls have accomplished that feat. That history, suffice to say, was a direct result of late-game heroics.
Trailing 14-10 with just under six minutes left in the fourth, P.J. Walker led the Owls on a seven-play, 71-yard drive that culminated in a Walker 23-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson to take their first lead, at 17-14, since nine minutes were left in the second quarter. Forcing the Pirates into a three-and-out on the ensuing drive, the Owls blocked the punt to set up shop at ECU’s 15-yard line with 2:28 left.
Two plays and :10 later, Jahad Thomas put the game out of reach with a 14-yard touchdown run to push the count to a two-score advantage at 24-14.
Anderson was the offensive star of the game as the wide receiver accounted for 126 yards and a touchdown on his eight receptions. The catches and yardage numbers were season-highs for the senior. ECU’s Blake Kemp passed for a game-high 272 yards in the loss.
With the win, Temple remains one of four Group of Five unbeatens, joining No. 18 Memphis, No. 19 Toledo and No. 21 Houston.
The road to remain unbeaten and also challenge for a New Year’s Six spot gets dicey immediately as Temple will play host to No. 11 Notre Dame next Saturday. It’ll get dicey along down the road as well as, three weeks later, they will play host to 18th-ranked Memphis.