Three turnovers in the first quarter by No. 23 Memphis was not a part of the gameplan this afternoon in Philadelphia, but Temple has gladly taken advantage of the free possessions. The Owls own a 23-14 lead on the Tigers in a crossover division matchup in the American Athletic Conference. Temple has scored nine points off three Memphis turnovers.
Temple’s defense came out of the gates ready to set the tone by forcing an early punt on the opening drive of the game by Memphis. Jager Gardner gave Temple an early 7-0 lead with a short touchdown run on Temple’s first offensive series of the game. Three plays into the ensuing Memphis drive, Brady White was picked off by Harrison Hand around midfield. Temple was held to a field goal for a 10-0 lea. Temple was once again held to a field goal less than two minutes later when a Memphis fumble by White led to another three points off turnovers for the home team. the theme continued one more time with a third turnover in as many drives by Memphis led to yet another field goal by the Owls to go up 16-0.
Memphis reversed the trend in their favor when Damonte Coxie scored ona 14-yard pass from White to get the Tiger son the scoreboard. Memphis took over at their 33-yard line after Temple lost the football on a third down play. But Temple responded before halftime with a 75-yard touchdown drive capped by Isaiah Wright hurdling his way into the end zone.
But Memphis cut into the deficit on the ensuing drive in quick fashion. Kenneth Gainwell scored a 25-yard touchdown at the end of a 7-play drive that took just 1:13.
Points off turnovers are always important, especially for a team looking to score an upset, but Temple being held to three field goals off three Memphis turnovers may be a win for the Tigers. The 16-0 score is still a two-score game, but Temple’s defense has been playing quite well this season. Memphis still has an uphill battle on their hands in the second half as they look to remain undefeated.