By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Temple Owls defeated the East Carolina Pirates, 37-10, at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night.
Temple has won the past three games in this series. With the win, the Owls advance to the American Athletic Conference Championship game next week.
They’ll face the Navy Midshipmen, who are 9-2. The game will be at noon on Dec. 3 in Annapolis, Maryland at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Navy leads the all-time series 6-5. Last year, the Owls also played in this championship game, before losing to the Houston Cougars, 24-13.
“Nobody thought we were going to be here,” Philip Walker said. “When we lost our third game, our goal was still in front of us. We wanted to win the conference championship and that was it. At the end of the day, our goal is to win the conference championship.”
Pirates wide receiver Zay Jones set the all-time single-season receptions record with 158. He broke the previous record that was set by Freddie Barnes with a 155 in 2009 with the Bowling Green Falcons.
“It is extremely difficult to stop Zay Jones to just seven catches,” Owls head coach Matt Rhule said.
Jahad Thomas and Ryquell Armstead combined for four rushing touchdowns. Armstead’s touchdowns were for two yards and a yard.
Thomas had two three yard rushing touchdowns. Following his second touchdown, Owls kicker Aaron Boumahri missed the extra point.
Boumahri made up for the missed extra point as he made a 35 yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Jager Gardner also added a late touchdown on a 14 yard run.
“It shows the resolve of these kids to win six straight after sitting there at 3-3,” Rhule said. “Trophies come and go, rings come and go … I have a ring at my house that sits by my bed. Those things are material but to battle back from where we were, the early adversity to not turn on each other — to not give up on the year — we just wanted to get better. We wanted to compete and be relevant in the conference.”
The Pirates had one good drive in the entire game — which was on their opening drive. Gardner Winshew hit Jimmy Williams for a 13 yard touchdown.
Then, in the fourth, Pirates kicker Davis Plowman made a 41 yard field goal that barely went over the goal posts.