WRITTEN BY TOM HANSLIN @tomhanslin
Memphis running back Doroland Dorceus had only seven rushing yards at the end of two quarters against Temple on Thursday night. But his lack of production in the first half was quickly forgotten after a single rush in the third quarter.
Trailing 13-6 with two minutes remaining in the third, Dorceus ignited a Tigers’ rally with a 71-yard touchdown run, a momentous dash that helped Memphis respond with 27 unaswered points in a 34-27 shootout victory over the Owls at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
While it was the longest run of Dorceus’s career, it wasn’t Memphis’s final highlight. Less than a minute after tying the score at 13-13, Temple quarterback Phillip Walker threw a pick-six to Genard Avery for a 23-yard touchdown, handing the Tigers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
But the Owls refused to yield. Trailing 27-13 after a 28-yard touchdown from Tigers’ running back Darrell Henderson, Walker connected with running back Jahad Thomas on a 61-yard touchdown pass to help trim Temple’s deficit to seven with as many minutes remaining.
Despite the Owls’ late efforts, the point margin was short-lived. On the enusing kickoff, Tigers’ returnman Tony Pollard dodged defenders for a 95-yard touchdown, placing the seal on Memphis’s come-from-behind win.
Dorceus and Henderson combined for 151 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while Memphis kicker Jake Elliott contributed two field goals despite missing a 34-yard attempt in the second quarter. Tigers’ quarterback Riley Ferguson completed 17-of-26 passes for 174 yards with no interceptions.
As for Temple’s offense, Walker threw for a career-high 445 yards on 36 completions, tying former Owls’ quarterback Henry Burris’ single-game passing record. Jahad Thomas led the team in both rushing and receiving yards, with 37 and 121 yards respectively. Running back Ryquell Armstead also earned a touchdown.
Temple committed seven penalties for 61 yards, and led in time of possesion, 38:15 to 21:45.
The Owls (3-3) will take on the Central Florida Knights at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, Florida next Saturday night.