After Phillip Walker went for the second straight game without an interception last week against Cincinnati, the Owls’ offense was much sloppier Friday night against Connecticut.
The senior quarterback threw two interceptions in the end zone and fumbled a snap with less than five minutes left in the game.
It didn’t matter.
Temple (7-3, 5-1 American Athletic Conference) scored all 21 of its points in the first quarter of its shutout victory against Connecticut at Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. The Owls have won four straight games and outscored opponents 127-68 in that span.
After a three-and-out by UConn, Temple took five plays and two minutes, 20 seconds to get on the board. Walker hit senior running back Jahad Thomas for a 32-yard gain, then found him on a 23-yard pass for the touchdown.
It only took three plays for Temple to score its second touchdown.
Walker threw a 44-yard pass to redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Ventell Bryant, then two plays later found Thomas on a 10-yard hookup. Thomas finished with 83 yards on 17 carries and had four catches for 73 yards.
The Owls added their third touchdown with 20 seconds left in the quarter when Walker connected with redshirt-senior Romond Deloatch on an 18-yard pass. Sophomore running back Ryquell Armstead started the drive with a 19-yard run. He ran for more than 100 yards for the third time this season, finishing with 133 yards on 20 carries.
The Huskies’ defense tightened up after the first quarter. Walker started the game 8-for-8 passing before he threw an interception to Connecticut senior safety Obi Melifonwu at the Huskies’ 1-yard line with 5:03 left in the first half.
Walker threw another interception to Melifonwu in the end zone in the fourth quarter and fumbled on the Owls’ last offensive play. He completed 12-of-18 attempts for 215 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Huskies came into play as the third-worst offense in the Football Bowl Subdivision and continued to struggle. In Connecticut’s first game under a new offensive coordinator, the Huskies got shutout, held to less than 100 rushing yards and only generated 160 total yards.
Huskies’ freshman quarterback Donovan Williams made his first career start, completing 12-of-21 passes for 69 yards. Connecticut’s only scoring chance came when Williams led a 57-yard drive on the Huskies’ third drive of the game. Redshirt-sophomore defensive lineman Michael Dogbe blocked the Huskies’ 35-yard field goal attempt to keep Connecticut off the board.
The Owls’ defense held senior wide receiver Noel Thomas, Jr, who came into play fourth in the FBS in receptions per game, to four catches for 32 yards. Temple made 12 tackles for loss and five sacks. Temple is allowing 17 points per game in its win streak.
Evan Easterling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Evan_Easterling.