Robby Anderson

Getty Images

Toledo fends off Temple to win Boca Raton Bowl

5 Comments

Toledo lost coach Matt Campbell to the Iowa State job earlier this month, while Temple coach Matt Rhule rejected overtures from Power Five programs to stay in Philadelphia. But in the Boca Raton Bowl, it was the team that lost its head coach that played far better than the team that kept its guy.

Toledo rolled No. 24 Temple, 32-17, on a soggy evening Tuesday at Howard Schnellenberger Stadium, giving the Rockets bowl wins in back-to-back season for the first time since 1969-1971 (a stretch in which it won all 35 games it played).

Quarterback Philip Ely, the ex-Alabama quarterback who reportedly was denied an appeal for a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, shined against a strong Temple defense, completing 20 of 28 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. His 80-yard scoring strike to receiver Cody Thompson early in the fourth quarter was the push Toledo needed for a comfortable win against an Owls offense that spun its metaphorical wheels all evening.

Owls running back Jahad Thomas suffered a leg injury late in the second quarter and did not return, though the guy who rushed for over 1,200 yards in the regular season wasn’t effective before leaving the game (eight carries, five yards). With Thomas stuffed and then taken out of the game, P.J. Walker & Co. struggled to move the ball and gained only 67 yards in the first half.

Temple finally got in the end zone with 2:50 remaining when Kip Patton plunged two yards for a touchdown, and Walker miraculously kept the two-point conversion attempt alive long enough to find a wide open Robby Anderson to pull the Owls within eight.

Toledo narrowly recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt — Temple kicker Tyler Mayes appeared to fall on the ball, but must’ve lost it in the scrum, and both team’s players pointed to indicate their team had possession —  and Kareem Hunt promptly sealed the Rockets’ win with a 41-yard touchdown run.

Toledo finished the season with a 10-2 record, its first double-digit win season since 2001. Temple entered the game with 10 wins, representing its best season since 1979.

Temple turnovers help Houston take command in AAC Championship

2 Comments

With a spot in the New Years Six line-up waiting for the champion of the American Athletic Conference, Houston appears to be in a favorable position. The Cougars took advantage of an early Temple turnover and lead the Owls at home 17-3 at halftime of the American athletic Conference Championship Game. A second-quarter 47-yard touchdown run by quarterback Greg Ward Jr. helped pad the lead for the Cougars.

Temple quarterback P.J. Walker made a costly error on the game’s opening drive when he decided to get rid of a football while being taken down, but did so by tossing the ball right into the hands of a waiting Tyus Bowser. Houston’s offense then got to work with it’s up-tempo style, which caused the Owls to use a timeout on a fourth and short as they tried to get in defensive formation. Houston picked up the first down after the timeout and a few plays later pushed into the end zone for the first score of the game. Javin Webb carried the football across the goal line for the first score of the game.

Temple’s second possession started to buyild some momentum and move down the field, although Temple receivers bailed Walker out on a few throws along the way. The promising drive ended with a turnover though when Robby Anderson had the ball knocked loose by Trevon Stewart just inside the Houston 10-yard line. Houston was forced to punt on their possession as the Owls defense started to crack down a bit.

Temple moves to 7-0 for first time in program history

Associated Press
4 Comments

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.