Owls get first conference win in season finale

The Owls topped the Tigers in Memphis.

On its eighth try, Temple was able to get an American Athletic Conference win, defeating Memphis 41-21.

The Owls (2-10, 1-7 The American) were led by freshman quarterback P.J. Walker, who threw for 328 yards, four touchdowns and an interception, and sophomore wide receiver Robby Anderson, who had three touchdowns and 96 yards receiving. Memphis (3-8, 1-6 The American) was keyed on offense by freshman Sam Craft, who rushed for no yards and two touchdowns and caught seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Temple received the opening kickoff and quickly faced a fourth-and-1, but instead of punting, senior Paul Layton ran for the first down on a trick play. The Owls continued down the field, going for it on two more fourth downs, converting the second but turning the ball over on the third.

Memphis went three-and-out on its first possession, but was able to pin the Owls at their own 2-yard-line. Temple drove down the field and after stalling near the endzone, got a 22-yard field goal from freshman Nick Visco that was tipped on its way up but still went in. It was Temple’s second field goal of the season. Sophomore running back Jamie Gilmore rushed for 62 yards on the drive.

After a pair of three-and-outs, Memphis drove to Temple territory. Freshman running back Doroland Dorceus fumbled the ball, and sophomore defensive lineman Shabazz Ahmed recovered it.

The Owls drove 87 yards in just over five minutes, culminating in a fade pass from Walker to sophomore wide receiver Robby Anderson for the 1-yard touchdown. The extra point put Temple up 10-0.

The Tigers returned the ensuing kickoff 56 yards to Temple’s 30. Freshman athlete Sam Craft scored on a 1-yard touchdown run three plays later. Temple took over and Walker ended the drive on the seventh play with an interception. Memphis could not take advantage of the turnover and ended up punting.

With 3:06 to go in the half, Temple took over at their own 47. Walker ran for 40 yards on the first play, setting up another fade touchdown to Anderson three plays later, this time for 11 yards.

To open the second half, Memphis received the kickoff but went three-and-out, as did Temple on its first possession of the second half. Due to a personal foul on sophomore cornerback Brandon Shippen, the Tigers began their next drive on the Owls’ 25-yard line and were able to score on a 10-yard pass from freshman quarterback Paxton Lynch to Craft.

On the next play from scrimmage, Walker completed a 75-yard touchdown pass to senior H-back Chris Coyer, putting the Owls up 24-14. After another three-and-out from Memphis, freshman linebacker Sharif Finch blocked a punt and it was recovered in the endzone by freshman defensive back Michael Felton for another Temple touchdown.

Memphis took over and went 62 yards to score. Craft scored his third touchdown of the day on a 3-yard rush. After a Temple three-and-out, Memphis held the ball for more than four minutes, but could not score as freshman kicker Jake Elliott bounced a 47-yarder off the left upright.

On the next drive, Visco hit another field goal, this time from 19 yards out, making it 34-21 Temple. Memphis turned the ball over on downs on its next possession, and the Owls scored again on a 21-yard pass from Walker to Anderson. Memphis quickly turned it over on downs on the ensuing possession and Temple ran the clock out to end the game.

Evan Cross can be reached at evan.cross@temple.edu or on Twitter @EvanCross.

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