Sports

Football becomes bowl-eligible after beating Tulsa

Temple became bowl-eligible for the fourth-consecutive season with its 43-22 victory against Tulsa on Saturday in Oklahoma.

Temple made history against Tulsa on Saturday.

The Owls (6-6, 4-4 American Athletic Conference) beat Tulsa, 43-22, to become bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive season. ESPN projects the Owls to play Middle Tennessee State University or Florida International University in the Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium on Dec. 19.

Temple played the University of Toledo in the 2015 Boca Raton Bowl, where it lost, 32-17.

Temple’s seniors became the winningest class in program history with 32 wins. The Owls broke the 2011 senior class’ record of 31 wins.

Tulsa senior running back D’Angelo Brewer gave the Golden Hurricane a boost in the second half. On Tulsa’s first drive of the second half, Brewer carried the ball eight times for 44 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown came off a 14-yard run out of the Wildcat formation and cut Tulsa’s deficit to 31-20.

Tulsa punted on its next drive, and sophomore wideout Isaiah Wright returned it 72 yards for a touchdown. Wright had a 98-yard kickoff return against Cincinnati on Nov. 10.

The Owls effectively moved the ball through the air against Tulsa.

Redshirt-junior quarterback Frank Nutile connected with senior wideout Adonis Jennings on a 28-yard touchdown pass to give Temple a 10-7 lead midway through the first quarter. Wright set up the touchdown pass with a 47-yard rush out of the Wildcat.

Nutile finished the game completing 20-of-28 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. Jennings finished with three catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. He has benefitted more than any Temple wide receiver since Nutile became the starting quarterback.

Jennings has a team-high five receiving touchdowns since Nutile made his starting debut against Army West Point on Oct. 21.

Junior running back Ryquell Armstead looked healthy running the ball against Tulsa on Saturday. He has dealt with a toe injury since Temple played the University of Notre Dame on Sept. 2. Armstead also suffered a hamstring injury against Cincinnati on Nov. 10.

Armstead reversed fields on his lone rushing touchdown against Tulsa. After taking the handoff to the right side, Armstead bounced it outside and received key blocks from Nutile and Wright on the 9-yard touchdown. He finished with 53 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.

Tulsa sophomore quarterback Chad President got the starting nod because redshirt-freshman quarterback Luke Skipper suffered a concussion last week against South Florida. President started Tulsa’s first six games of the season before was benched in favor of Skipper.

President got the Golden Hurricane off to a hot start on their first drive. He connected with junior wideout Justin Hobbs on a 35-yard touchdown pass with 11 minutes, five seconds left in the first quarter to give Tulsa a 7-0 lead.

President suffered an injury late in the second quarter and left the game. Sophomore quarterback Will Hefley III entered the game and played the remainder of the contest. On his first career pass attempt, he threw an interception to redshirt-junior defensive back Derrek Thomas, who returned it to Tulsa’s 2-yard line.

Nutile found redshirt-senior wideout Keith Kirkwood for a 2-yard touchdown pass on the following play to give Temple a 31-13 lead at halftime.

Senior defensive lineman Jacob Martin finished the game with two sacks, including one where he forced Hefley to fumble. Sophomore defensive lineman Karamo Dioubate recovered the fumble, and Nutile connected with Kirkwood four plays later for his second touchdown of the game. Senior safety Sean Chandler finished the game with 10 tackles and an interception.

Two Temple players were ejected from the game because of targeting penalties.

Redshirt-senior defensive lineman Sharif Finch received a targeting penalty and was ejected from the game for a hit on Hefley late in the second quarter. Finch also was ejected for a targeting penalty against Connecticut on Oct. 14.

Redshirt-sophomore defensive lineman Dana Levine got ejected in the fourth quarter for a targeting penalty. If Temple is invited to a bowl game, Levine would have to serve a suspension in the first half by rule.

Redshirt-junior wideout Ventell Bryant and redshirt-freshman linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley didn’t suit up against Tulsa. Bryant sustained a lower-body injury last week against Central Florida and had an MRI on Monday.

Graham-Mobley went into concussion protocol against Cincinnati on Nov. 10. Junior linebacker Todd Jones started in his place for the second consecutive game. Jones finished with six tackles.

Tom Ignudo

can be reached at thomas.ignudo@temple.edu
Or you can follow Tom on Twitter @TomIgnudo
Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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