Thursday night's conference matchup between the Temple Owls and the East Carolina Pirates was an upset alert for a good amount of the night, but history was eventually made by game's end.
The first quarter was relatively quiet on offense for both teams. Temple got the scoring started first; on their first drive, the Owls drove the ball 48 yards on nine plays and capped off the drive with a 28 yard field goal from kicker Austin Jones to go up 3-0.
Later in the quarter, the Pirates got the ball just outside of Temple's redzone, but kicker Davis Plowman missed wide left on his 40-yard field goal attempt.
Come the second quarter, both offenses started to come alive. East Carolina struck first with a one yard touchdown rush from running back Chris Hairston to give them a 7-3 lead. Six minutes later, the Owls responded with their own touchdown, this one a two yard rush from running back Jahad Thomas to put Temple back on top, 10-7.
However, East Carolina was quick to respond. With eighteen seconds left in the half, quarterback Blake Kemp hit wideout Quay Johnson for a seven-yard touchdown pass to put the Pirates up 14-10 at halftime.
Going into the half, the biggest story of the game was penalties. Both sides had racked up six penalties; Temple had 55 yards from penalties while East Carolina had 79.
The third quarter was rather quiet, as neither team was able to find the endzone. The two highlights of the quarter were an interception from Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich and a missed 52-yard field goal from Austin Jones.
The scoreboard went into the fourth the same way it had at the half, 14-10 in favor of East Carolina.
During the fourth quarter, Temple forced a fumble from East Carolina and began to drive and got into the redzone. However, Austin Jones missed his second field goal on the night, this one from 37 yards out.
Later in the period, Temple was surging downfield following a partially-blocked punt. On that ensuing drive, quarterback P.J. Walker found wide out Robby Anderson for a fifty-one-yard gain to put them at East Carolina’s 34 yard line. Temple continued to make passes and gain yardage, ultimately ending with with a 23 yard touchdown pass from Walker to Anderson to give Temple a 17-14 lead with under four minutes remaining.
On the next series, East Carolina went three and out. Temple blocked the Pirates' punt once again and recovered inside of the redzone.
Thomas got the ball and took it from the 14 yard line for another touchdown on Temple's drive following the punt block, putting the Owls up 24-14.
The Owls ended up scored 14 points in a matter of 74 seconds, capitalizing on those two drives to salvage a seventh win, the most victories without a loss in school history.
Jahad Thomas didn’t have a standout game as he is accustomed to, yet still finished the game with a pair of touchdowns.
The defense and special teams came out in the second half and dominated with huge stops, on top of the two blocked punts. Credit does have to be given to P.J. Walker and Robby Anderson for their late game heroics to put Temple back on top.
East Carolina had a very strong first half but could not mount to anything in the second half, getting shut out in three quarters of the contest. The Pirates' defense was able to hold Temple’s offense to only 322 yards however and were playing lockdown D most of the game. The Pirates now sit at 4-4 on the season and 2-2 in American Athletic Conference play.
While this game separated Temple from the rest of the East Division of the conference, the Owls still do have their biggest game of the year coming up next week. They will host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a clash between ranked opponents under the lights on Halloween, aired nationally in primetime on ABC, and potentially having ESPN College Gameday coming to town.
East Carolina, however, does not have as exciting of a week, as they will travel to Storrs, Connecticut to face the Connecticut Huskies under the Friday night lights.