With seven minutes to go in the second quarter, redshirt-senior defensive lineman Praise Martin-Oguike picked up a fumble and ran it back to Charlotte’s 13 yard line.
From there, senior running back Jahad Thomas carried the ball into the endzone for his first touchdown of the day to put the Owls up by 10 points.
Thomas and sophomore running back Ryquell Armstead each scored twice to help Temple (2-2) defeat Charlotte 48-20 in the Owls’ homecoming game at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday.
The Owls fell behind 7-3 early, but thanks to an improved offensive process that scored 28 points in the second quarter, Temple improved its homecoming record to 4-0 under coach Matt Rhule.
“I just think we kind of settled down on offense, got into a rhythm,” Rhule said. “It’s a positive step for the program when you win 48-20 and I’m angry on the sidelines.”
In his two games back since being out with a dislocated thumb, Thomas has scored four touchdowns. Armstead has also score four times through four games.
“I think I played really well,” Thomas said. “But I’m kind of upset at myself that I had that fumble early on in the game, but I think I did pretty well today.”
The ball popped out of Thomas’ grip early in the first quarter. The fumble was then recovered by senior offensive lineman Dion Dawkins, who picked it up and ran for the first down. Thomas ran 15 times for a total of 68 yards.
Senior quarterback Phillip Walker hit both redshirt-sophomore Brodrick Yancy and junior Adonis Jennings for a touchdown. Yancy finished the day with four receptions for 70 yards.
Walker left the game with 28 seconds to go in the first quarter because his shoulder was bothering him, but he came back after a play to find Jennings for a 51-yard score. Later in the game, he was subbed out for a more substantial period of time. Redshirt-freshman Logan Marchi and redshirt-sophomore Frank Nutile each got playing time at the quarterback position.
The Owls played several players towards the end of the game who don’t see a lot of game time. This, in part, led to a late touchdown for the 49ers, as well as a drive that almost resulted in another touchdown, had it not been broken up by redshirt-sophomore defensive back Derrek Thomas.
“Sometimes when you get those blowouts, they’re hard because you try to do a good job of making sure you don’t get guys hurt,” Rhule said. “You’re trying to play all the young guys and guys on our team deserve to play, and then you give up some plays.”
The Owls ended the game with 297 passing yards, while their defense held the 49ers to 198 passing yards.
The offensive line did not give up a sack against Charlotte, improving from when Walker was sacked three times against Penn State.
The Owls will begin conference play at home against Southern Methodist (2-2) next week. They are hoping this win will give them momentum heading into conference games.
“You definitely want to be on the winning end and just have that confidence behind you going into conference play because you know how tough our conference is,” Thomas said. “Everyone at the end of the year is trying to be holding that trophy up.”
Maura Razanauskas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CaptainAMAURAca.