Memphis Scores 24 Unanswered Points as the Owls Fall in Conference Opener
Written by: Adrian Maghacot
Photo by: Philadelphia Inquirer
Despite its marginal halftime lead, Temple collapses in the second half as the Owls fall 24-3 to Memphis.
Temple visited Memphis to start off their conference schedule. The last time these two teams met was last year when the Owls had their Homecoming weekend and made a comeback for a 34-31 upset win.
After a promising first half for the Owls, Memphis scored 24 unanswered points in the final two quarters.
Memphis received first possession of the ball to kick off the game, but Temple’s bolstered defense caused a quick three-and-out.
The Owls’ second possession looked more promising with Warner connecting with wide receiver Jose Barbon for a 78-yard gain to put them in the red zone. The Owls, however, turned it over on downs after four plays.
After the first quarter ended with both teams deadlocked at zero, the second quarter opened up with Memphis punting the ball back after a 5-yard sack from outside linebacker Tra Thomas.
Thomas’ sack marked Temple’s 17th in five games, tying the total number of sacks the Owls had all of last season.
With six minutes left in the second quarter, safety Jalen Ware sacked Memphis quarterback Seth Henigan for a loss of 10-yards while also giving Temple its 18th sack of the season, beating last year’s total.
With 29 seconds left in the first half, Temple’s kicker Camden Price made a 47-yard field goal to enter halftime with the Owls leading 3-0. Price replaced Rory Bell as Temple’s starting kicker.
Temple has not allowed an opponent to score a point in the last six quarters. In addition, this was Memphis’ first scoreless half since 2017.
Despite no touchdowns being scored in the first half, Warner was controlling the passing game by being 7-15 with 133 yards while Henigan was 15-29 with 118 yards.
With seven minutes left in the third quarter, Memphis inched closer to the end zone for its first points of the game, but failed to convert the fourth down.
After a pass interference call on linebacker Jordan Magee in the back of the endzone, Memphis running back Brandon Thomas ran up the middle for a two-yard touchdown. Kicker Chris Howard made the extra point, giving Memphis its first lead of the game, 7-3.
Temple closed the third quarter in punt formation and looked to get back possession of the ball.
Memphis got first possession in the fourth quarter and opened with a 30-yard field goal by Howard to extend its lead to 7.
With seven minutes left in the game, Henigan found tight end Caden Prieskorn in the endzone to give Memphis their second touchdown of the day. Following the made PAT, the Tigers led the Owls 17-3.
Warner attempted to lead a Temple comeback, but was intercepted by Memphis linebacker Zay Cullens.
This was the 10th consecutive game that Memphis forced at least one turnover.
After Memphis got the ball back and a holding penalty by outside linebacker DJ Woodbury, Thomas ran into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game. That play plus the extra point extended Memphis’ lead by 21 points.
Two minutes later, Warner made another pivotal mistake when he threw an interception to Memphis’ Tyler Murray, all but sealing the game.
One minute after that turnover, Temple linebacker Kobe Wilson stripped and recovered a fumble to give possession back to the Owls.
Memphis linebacker Cincir Evans picked off Warner for his third interception of the day. Memphis was then able to run out the game clock.
Temple (2-3) will continue its conference schedule when they play UCF (3-1) away at FBC Mortgage Stadium in Orlando on Thursday, October 13th, at 7:00 PM on ESPN.