The No. 7 Louisville Cardinals (5-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) defeated the Owls (0-5, 0-2 The American) 30-7 on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.
In what was its second conference game of the year, Temple scored its only touchdown with 38 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Owls switched quarterbacks at the start of the second quarter. Junior quarterback Connor Reilly played for two drives in the first quarter for 25 passing yard before freshman quarterback P.J. Walker entered the game.
“Connor did a nice job, he did some of the right things,” coach Matt Rhule said. “It’s just that I could tell with [Louisville’s] pass rush, I wanted someone who could move, so I put [Walker] in for a series and I liked the way he looked. In the second series, he took us all the way down the field with his legs and with his arms and with his decision making… It was within that moment I said we are going to stay with the young guy and let him play.”
When Walker entered the game he immediately made an impact on his second possession in the second quarter as he completed a 58-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Robby Anderson. A few plays later, Temple had its 23-yard field goal attempt blocked by senior defensive end Marcus Smith.
Although the Owls switched quarterbacks, they were unable to stop the Cardinals’ offense that gained 525 total yards in the game to Temple’s 255. The Cardinals were able to score in all of their six red zones appearances.
In the opening drive, junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals marched down the field in 11 plays and scored their first touchdown. During the drive, Louisville senior tight end Ryan Hubbell caught a 36-yard pass leading the Cardinals to Temple’s four-yard line. Junior tight end Gerald Christian caught a one-yard touchdown reception from Bridgewater to make the score 7-0.
The Cardinals’ second possession saw a series of deep passes as junior wide receiver DeVante Parker caught a 38-yard pass. Then junior running back Dominique Brown caught a 32-yard pass to reach the red zone. The Owls’ defense was able to stop the Cardinals’ momentum, however, as they were forced to kick a 22-yard field goal. Still, Louisville extended its lead to 10-0.
Bridgewater completed a 31-yard pass to junior wide receiver Eli Rogers to end the first quarter. The Cardinals continued in the second quarter scoring a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Brown.
On Louisville’s next drive, it took the Cardinals 2 minutes and 37 seconds to get back in the endzone, giving them a 17–0 lead.
In the Cardinals’ final possession of the second quarter, Bridgewater completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Rogers to end the first half with a score of 24–0. In the second half, Temple outscored Louisville.
“They were trying to score the entire time and did not until that last drive,” sophomore linebacker Tyler Matakevich said. “We won the second half 7-6, if you look at that. It eats you away inside knowing that we just gave them that first half of the game.”
The Owls’ defense limited the Cardinals to two field goals in the second half. With 42 seconds left in the third quarter, the Owls stopped the Cardinals at the three-yard line forcing the Cardinals to kick a 20-yard field goal by sophomore kicker John Wallace. In the fourth quarter, the Cardinals were stopped again in the red zone as Wallace then drilled a 25-yard field goal to make the score 30-0 with 6:32 remaining in the game. Matakevich led the team with seven tackles for the game.
In the third quarter, the Owls had a series of good plays following a Walker sack for a loss of seven yards at Owls’ 21-yard line in the first possession. On the next play, Walker ran for 22 yards to gain a first down at Temple’s 36 yard line. That drive, however, was stopped. On Temple’s next possession, Walker was able to complete a 29-yard pass to freshman running back Zaire Williams. Later on in the drive, Walker’s pass to the end zone was intercepted by the Cardinals’ Terell Floyd.
In the Owls’ final possession, Walker completed a 9-yard pass to junior wide receiver Jalen Fitzpatick for a touchdown—ending Louisville’s hopes at a shutout.
“The touchdown drive was just us, as a team, being ready to score,” Walker said. “We had our of opportunities. They failed, but we never gave up. We kept playing, kept fighting hard.”
Danielle Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Dan_Nels.