Owls escape with win in regular-season finale

Temple’s defense allowed 266 yards and one field goal in the Owls’ 10-3 win at Tulane in the regular-season finale.

While Temple’s offense had compiled 333 total yards, it had three points to show for it with just less than nine minutes left to play. The unit was threatening again, though, lining up on 2nd-and-goal from the 8-yard line.

One back-shoulder fade play to Romond Deloatch later, Temple had its touchdown – and bowl eligibility 8 minutes, 39 seconds later when the Owls wrapped up a 10-3 win against Tulane University in their regular-season finale at Yulman Stadium Saturday night.

The remaining 8:39 after the touchdown saw Tulane fall nine yards short of potentially tying – or winning – the game.

After Temple (6-6, 4-4 American Athletic Conference) punted the ball to The Green Wave with 3:09 left the play, Tulane (3-9, 2-6 The American) strung together its most productive drive of the night, fueled by a 48-yard run for sophomore Lazedrick Thompson. While The Green Wave had a first-and-goal at Temple’s 9-yard line, a pair of incomplete passes and two sacks, one coming on fourth down, ended the Tulane threat.

In the end, Temple escaped New Orleans with bowl eligibility still intact, at least until 12:30 p.m. Sunday, when the bowl matchups will be announced. As The American has five automatic bowl bids, the sixth-place Owls will need to hope for an at-large bid in order to keep its season alive.

In Temple’s final regular-season game, though, scoring struggles on both sides formed the game’s most telling narrative.

Though Temple ended with 347 yards of total offense, the Owls had a field goal and the fourth-quarter touchdown from Deloatch to show for it. Tulane, meanwhile, racked up 266 yards on offense, including 63 of them on its final drive of the game.

Tulane struggled to move the ball through the air, as freshman Tanner Lee completed 16 of 33 passes for 109 yards.

Backup Nick Montana – a senior and son of NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana – took over under center on two occasions, completing 3 of 7 passes for 42 yards. He led a drive that resulted in a field goal on his first drive of the game, but was intercepted by Temple freshman Sean Chandler on his second time out.

Midway through the first quarter, sophomore quarterback P.J. Walker nearly had a pass intended for redshirt-junior John Christopher intercepted on a diving play from Tulane defensive back Taureen Nixon, when it looked like Nixon had possession of the ball as he hit the turf. A booth review held that the ball had hit the ground, as was initially called.

The offense’s – and Walker’s – red-zone problems continued toward the end of the quarter, though, after a 75-yard screen play to sophomore Jahad Walker put the Owls on Tulane’s 5-yard line. After three listless Temple plays followed, one of which Walker was sacked for 10 yards, freshman Austin Jones’ 35-yard field-goal attempt hit the uprights.

Jones would later come through for the Owls on a 38-yard field-goal try, knotting the score at three points apiece, but knocked a 39-yard attempt well wide to the right with 20 ticks remaining on the clock before the half.

The third quarter had a similar look to it until Temple lined up in a punt formation for the second time in the quarter, but picked up a first down on a fake play on the ground to senior running back Kenny Harper. After Temple then moved the ball as far as the 15-yard line, Walker’s red-zone problems resurfaced, as Tulane junior Lorenzo Doss intercepted him in the end zone.

Walker proved effective with his legs Saturday, picking up 76 yards on 16 carries. He also finished with 255 yards on 20-of-38 passing.

Though he didn’t register a carry in the game, sophomore running back Jahad Thomas finished with 94 yards receiving on two receptions – both screen plays.

Andrew Parent can be reached at Andrew.parent@temple.edu or on Twitter @Andrew_Parent23.

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