Temple beats Memphis 41-21

Temple finished its season by finally finishing a game with

momentum.

P.J. Walker threw for 328 yards and four touchdowns, including

three to Robby Anderson, as Temple snapped a four-game losing

streak with a 41-21 victory over Memphis on Saturday.

Temple had struggled in the fourth quarter recently. The Owls

(2-10, 1-7 American Athletic Conference) had led or been tied

entering the fourth quarter the last four games only to be

outscored in the final frame leading to losses.

That didn’t happen against Memphis. The Owls scored 10 points

down the stretch to preserve the victory.

”It’s unbelievably satisfying,” Temple coach Matt Rhule said.

”I believe winning is a process, and we started out the year not

always playing good football. Then we started playing good football

in the second half and not the first. Then we started playing good

football through three quarters, and to finally finish it was what

we needed.”

Walker completed 20-32 passes. Anderson had 96 yards receiving,

including scoring catches of 1, 11 and 21 yards. Chris Coyer had

three receptions for 129 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown

catch.

The win gave the Owls their first conference victory as Temple’s

offense dominated the nationally-ranked Memphis defense, amassing

534 yards in total offense. Memphis (3-8, 1-6) managed only 228

yards.

Besides Walker’s four touchdown passes, the Owls scored when

Michael Felton recovered a blocked punt in the end zone. Nick Visco

kicked field goals from 22 and 19 yards.

Sam Craft scored all three Memphis touchdowns – on runs of 1 and

3 yards and a 10-yard pass from Paxton Lynch.

”They showed up and beat us in every facet of the game,”

Memphis coach Justin Fuente said. ”Matt (Rhule) and his staff did

a great job of keeping those kids committed and getting them ready

to play hard. And that’s how they won the game.”

Temple mangled the Memphis defense, which entered the game

ranked 16th nationally. By halftime, Temple not only led 17-7, but

had racked up 310 yards.

Meanwhile, the Owls defense, ranked last in the conference, held

the Tigers to a scant 74 yards, as Memphis had the ball only 8:32

of the half.

”The defense did an unbelievable job from start to finish,”

said linebacker Tyler Matakevich, who had eight tackles on the day,

including two for losses. ”The offense did their part and look at

the outcome.

”We really just stopped them and took away what they wanted to

do. That just left them like: `I don’t really know what to do.’

They were throwing a bunch of stuff at us and we just kept

responding.”

The Memphis offense was stagnant from the start. Lynch was

having trouble getting the ball past the line of scrimmage. His

first three passes were batted away, including two by Kamal

Johnson.

”To start like we did and to finish, that’s what we’ve been

preaching all year,” Matakevich said. ”Unfortunately, it came so

late. We were so close throughout the whole year.”

The start contributed to the Tigers gaining only 8 yards through

the first period. Meanwhile, Temple was collecting 134 yards, but

could manage only a 22-yard field goal from Visco, a kick that was

low and crawled over the crossbar.

Temple would capitalize on a fumble by Memphis running back

Doroland Dorceus at the Owls’ 13. Temple went 87 yards on the

ensuing drive, the final yard covered on a pass from Walker to

Anderson.

Anderson would score again on an 11-yard pass from Walker in the

closing seconds of the half.

Memphis scored on a 1-yard run by Craft set up by Joe Craig’s

56-yard return after Anderson’s first touchdown. At the start of

that drive, Memphis’ offense was balanced – 25 yards passing, 25

yards rushing.

Walker continued to connect after halftime, throwing the 75-yard

touchdown pass to Coyer, when he read a Tiger blitz and hit the

tight end in a seam down the middle of the field.

The Owls’ lead reached 31-14 in the third quarter when Sharif

Finch blocked a Memphis punt and Felton recovered the ball in the

end zone for Temple.

Visco’s 19-yard field goal, and Anderson’s 21-yard pass Walker

closed out the scoring for Temple, a rare fourth-quarter burst by

the Owls.

”It’s very satisfying,” Walker said. ”We ended up on a really

good note. We put up a lot of yards offensively and the defense did

a great job giving us good field position. We’re just going to

bring this momentum into next season.”