Temple’s offense didn’t get off to a hot start.
Sophomore kicker Aaron Boumerhi missed a 52-yard field goal and redshirt-sophomore quarterback Logan Marchi threw an interception in the Owls’ first two drives.
But the offense quickly improved in Temple’s 34-10 victory against East Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina.
Temple (3-3, 1-2 American Athletic Conference) scored 24 second-quarter points to win its first league game. The Owls must win at least half of their remaining games to achieve bowl eligibility.
Marchi connected with redshirt-senior wide receiver Keith Kirkwood on a slant for 37 yards midway through the second quarter to move Temple to East Carolina’s 33-yard line.
Six plays later, Marchi rolled to his right and threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Adonis Jennings in the back corner of the end zone. Temple faced first-and-26 earlier in the drive, but it marched downfield to take a 10-3 lead.
Marchi hit sophomore wideout Randle Jones for a gain of 45 yards late in the second quarter. The play set the Owls up in the red zone. Redshirt-junior fullback Rob Ritrovato fell into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown carry two plays later. The score was Ritrovato’s first-career touchdown.
Marchi completed 19 of 31 attempts for 321 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. It was the first time in Marchi’s career that he threw for more than 300 yards. Sophomore wideout Isaiah Wright led the Owls in receiving with six catches for 91 yards and a touchdown
Redshirt-junior quarterback Frank Nutile finished the game on Temple’s final drive. He completed both of his pass attempts for 23 yards.
Junior safety Delvon Randall intercepted a pass for the second consecutive week. He jumped Pirates graduate quarterback Thomas Sirk’s pass in the second quarter and returned it for 16 yards. Temple scored five plays later on a 2-yard rushing touchdown by redshirt-junior running back David Hood.
Randall entered the day tied for fourth in The American with 40 tackles and added five on Saturday.
ESPN broadcasters said junior running back Ryquell Armstead was a “game-time decision” against East Carolina. He only carried the ball four time for three yards against the Pirates. Armstead was seen with a walking boot on his left foot on campus on Thursday. He was “banged up” earlier this season after Temple’s 49-16 loss to the University of Notre Dame on Sept. 2.
Hood led the Owls in rushing yards with 106 on 20 carries. Ritrovato had 48 rushing yards on 14 carries. East Carolina’s defense started Saturday allowing 298.6 rushing yards per game. Overall, the Owls gained 179 yards on the ground. Temple entered the day with only one rushing touchdown on the season.
Temple’s defense held East Carolina to its lowest scoring performance in 2017. East Carolina scored 31 points on Sept. 30 against South Florida and had 41 points in its win against Connecticut in the previous week.
The Owls had four sacks against the Pirates, including two from senior defensive lineman Jacob Martin. Redshirt-freshman defensive lineman Quincy Roche, who leads Temple in sacks, picked up his fifth of the season, and redshirt-senior defensive lineman Sharif Finch had a sack.
Temple will play against Connecticut on Oct. 14 at Lincoln Financial Field, where it will be favored to win for the second week in a row.