Temple Struggle Defending The Run, Fall To Tulsa 27-16

Written by: Zachary Silverstein

Photo by: American Football

Temple had a prime opportunity to get back on track against 2-4 Tulsa, but offensive struggles and allowing 299 rushing yards led to a 27-16 loss. 

Deneric Prince’s 84-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter put the Owls in a late hole that was too deep to overcome. 

“We couldn’t stop Tulsa’s explosive runners today,” Drayton said. “We knew we were going to have to deal with the quarterback, but they really got the run game going. Credit to those guys. They really hit us with a couple of explosive plays.”

The game started with the Owls’ offense being forced into a quick three-and-out, but the defense stepped up in a big way.

Tulsa quarterback Davis Brin’s first pass of the game was intercepted by Layton Jordan and returned for a touchdown, putting the Owls up 7-0 after the extra point from Camden Price. Jordan is just the second Owl all-time with two pick-sixes in a single season.

The Golden Hurricane coughed the ball up once again on their second drive when Brin was picked off by Jalen McMurray. The interception led to a 5-play, 19-yard drive by Temple, ending with a 32-yard field goal by Camden Price. The Owls’ defense was looking like its old self. 

Tulsa came back on the field looking to make something happen, but after a combined sack by Darian Varner and D.J. Woodbury, the Golden Hurricane were forced to punt. Varner had a sack on the previous play as well, giving him 1.5 sacks on the drive. 

“That was one of our game plans,” Jordan said. “Just to get pressure because he’s a good quarterback. We credit him as being a good quarterback…That was our plan, just to get him off his game, try to extort him. Get him to make bad throws and contested throws.”

The game began to take a turn with just under 13 minutes remaining in the first half. Temple’s offense continued to be silent, but the defense began to falter as well. Tulsa went on a 9-play, 94-yard drive that ended with a 18-yard receiving touchdown by running back Deneric Prince, making the score 10-7 after the successful extra point by Zack Long.

Two drives later, the Golden Hurricane took the lead with 11 seconds remaining in the first half. Tulsa marched down the field with a 10-play, 86-yard drive that ended in a 3-yard receiving touchdown by tight end Ethan Hall.

Tulsa took a 14-10 lead into the half.

The third quarter started with punts by Tulsa and Temple, respectively, a lost fumble by Tulsa, and a missed field goal by Temple. Tulsa eventually broke through, however, with a 10-play, 62-yard drive ending with a 24-yard field goal by Long to extend the Golden Hurricane’s lead to 17-10. 

During the drive, wide receiver Keylon Stokes became Tulsa’s all-time leader in receiving yards.

After forcing the Owls into a quick 4-play drive, Tulsa’s offense came onto the field and exploded into the endzone in just 12 seconds. Brin handed the ball off to Prince, who found a hole and raced to an 84-yard touchdown. This was the fourth-longest rush in Tulsa’s history. 

Temple’s offense finally found some success with a 9-play, 88-yard drive, which took just 1:48 off the clock. The drive was capped off by a 23-yard receiving touchdown by Amad Anderson Jr. Temple head coach Stan Drayton decided to go for two to make it a six-point game, but the Owls came up short. 

“We’re trying to win a ballgame,” Drayton said. “There’s plenty of time on the clock and I knew that offensively we were up and down during the course of the game. So I was trying to give ourselves a chance when we got the ball back to win the game.”

Temple’s defense came up with a big stop on 3rd & 11 courtesy of a sack by Yvandy Rigby, giving the offense a chance to tie the game. Unfortunately for the Owls, Tulsa’s defense had other plans, forcing four straight incomplete passes at the Temple 25-yard line. 

The great field position gave Tulsa the opportunity to make it a two-score game, and they did just that with a 39-yard field goal by Long, putting the game out of reach once and for all. 

Temple will travel to Maryland to take on Navy at 3:30 next Saturday.

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