Temple defense, Armstead, carry Owls to 31-17 victory over Tulsa

By Eileen Wickline

Shortly after a huge win against Maryland, the Temple Owls opened up American Athletic Conference play under the Thursday night lights with a 31-17 win against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

The Owls struck first after Ty Mason picked off a Tulsa pass and ran it into the end zone. They never looked back from that point, as the closest Tulsa got to Temple was at the start of the fourth quarter when the Golden Hurricane were able to shrink Temple’s lead to 28-17. The Owls quickly padded their lead after a 33-yard field goal by Will Mobley made it 31-17, Benny Walls’ interception on Tulsa’s final drive sealed the game.

Temple was celebrating “Star Wars Night”, and it was appropriate with how the defense, or, as Collins refers to it, the Dark Side, performed at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday. In total, the team recorded six sacks and three interceptions and forced two fumbles.

Rock Ya-Sin shined once again, which is something the Owls’ coaching staff had expected heading into the season. As a transfer student who received a single-digit jersey before playing a regular season game with Temple, Ya-Sin had big shoes to fill. He made 10 tackles and an interception against Tulsa.

Linebackers Sam Franklin, Chapelle Russell, and Shaun Bradley were also strong on the defensive side of the ball. The three of them recorded a combined 27 tackles, and Franklin also made a sack. They’ve had a strong start to the season.

“We have the best linebacking core. I truly believe that,” Collins said after the game. “These guys work hard and it shows on the field.”

Once again, Ryquell Armstead had a huge game offensively as well as defensively; He recorded his first career sack. Armstead’s full return after an injury-riddled 2017 season was highly anticipated this year.

“I’ve been keeping really healthy after the tough season last year,” Armstead said. “I’m doing all I can to stay on the field for the rest of the season.”

A healthy Armstead is definitely something opposing teams should be afraid of. Against Tulsa, he had 24 carries for 108 yards and one reception for 15 yards. This game marked his third-straight 100-plus-yard game. He is the first Owl to do that since Bernard Pierce in 2011. He is now ninth overall on the Owls’ all-time list in yards with 2,028 and fourth all-time with 22 touchdowns.

“I’m really blessed to coach these guys everyday,” Collins said. “I consider myself lucky for such a great group.”

Photo: @Temple_FB