Temple falls to UAB in first ever meeting

Despite a solid offensive performance, the Owls’ defense was unable to step up in their eighth loss of the year.

Temple football falls 34-24 to UAB despite strong offensive performance for its eighth loss of the season. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

With bowl game hopes out the window, Temple Football entered Saturday’s game against UAB hoping to build momentum to end the season on a high note.

However, the Owls were on the losing end of a back-and-forth game between two high-powered offenses.

Temple Football (3-8, 1-6 American Athletic Conference) lost to UAB (4-7, 3-6 American Athletic Conference) 34-24 Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, Alabama. The Owls could not come away with the win in the first meeting between the two programs, and Temple head coach Stan Drayton fell to 0-10 in road games as a collegiate head coach.

The Owls started the game off fast when quarterback E.J. Warner hit wide receiver Dante Wright across the middle of the field. Wright had empty space in front of him and took advantage, racing for a 71-yard touchdown. The Owls took a 7-0 lead just four minutes into the game.

Warner’s pass opened a strong first half for the sophomore QB despite his team’s struggles. He led three more drives into UAB territory, but only one resulted in points. Temple turned the ball over on downs deep in the UAB side of the field, and Warner then worked the offense into field goal range before taking a sack that forced Temple to punt.

Temple connected on another big play to close the half when tight end David Martin-Robinson got free on a wheel route, broke a tackle and scored from 47 yards out with about two minutes left. Warner ended the first half 18-25 for 232 yards and two touchdowns, and the defense played well enough to give Temple a 14-10 lead at halftime.

However, the defense could not carry their momentum into the second half. UAB took command in the final 30 minutes and scored 24 second-half points.

Temple got the ball back with six minutes left in the game and down by three, but they went three-and-out. UAB drove back down the field, and running back Jermaine Brown Jr. scored from two yards out to put the Blazers up 10 with about two minutes left, which put the nail in the coffin for Temple. 

UAB put up 281 yards and averaged nearly seven yards per play in the game. Most of Temple’s defensive struggles came against the run, as UAB ran for 259 yards, with Brown Jr. accounting for 153 of those rushing yards.

Temple’s offense played well, picking up 378 total yards and converting all three fourth downs conversions they attempted. Warner finished with 323 passing yards and two touchdowns, with his only interception coming in the final two minutes with Temple down double-digits.

Wright had his best game as an Owl, racking up six catches for 146 yards on 12 targets and a long touchdown. He came up with multiple catches in the second half in important moments, including a 43-yard grab over two defenders to set the Owls up inside the UAB five-yard line early in the fourth quarter.

Martin-Robinson had a solid game as well, finishing with three catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving. He became Temple’s all-time leader in receptions from a tight end with 90 in his career.

Temple will look to close out their season on a high note when they return home to take on Memphis (8-3, 5-2 American Athletic Conference) on Nov. 24 at 12 p.m.

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