Temple University football (6-3, 3-2 The American Athletic Conference) became bowl eligible for the sixth consecutive season after reaching six wins Thursday night. The Owls defeated South Florida (4-5, 2-3 The AAC) 17-7 at Raymond James Stadium to clinch a bowl game appearance.
The defenses dominated the game for both teams. The two teams combined for only 24 points.
Temple’s defense sacked Bulls redshirt-freshman quarterback Jordan McCloud nine times. Redshirt-junior defensive end Quincy Roche led the Owls with 3.5 sacks.
The Owls’ defense also helped points on the board. In the third quarter, McCloud passed the ball to redshirt-freshman wide receiver Terrence Honre and redshirt-sophomore cornerback Christian Braswell forced the fumble. Senior linebacker Sam Franklin then recovered the ball and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown.
McCloud finished with 225 yards and one touchdown pass, but many of his completions were short gains.
McCloud’s longest completion came in the third quarter. It was on a jet sweep to freshman wide receiver Xavier Weaver, who gained 40 yards on the play. Three plays later, McCloud completed it to senior tight end Mitchell Wilcox for 25 yards. On the next play, McCloud found sophomore wide Bryce Miller on a 14-yard touchdown pass. This was South Florida’s only scoring play of the game.
Temple’s offense was a little more efficient, finishing with 320 total yards to South Florida’s 286.
The Owls utilized two quarterbacks for the fifth consecutive game. Redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo completed 15 of 21 passes and finished with 164 passing yards and one interception.
Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Todd Centeio only attempted two passes, but led the Owls on their first scoring drive. Centeio completed a one-yard pass to redshirt-junior tight end Kenny Yeboah to put the Owls on the board in the second quarter. Redshirt-senior running back Jager Gardner put the Owls in the red zone on a 57-yard run three plays before.
Gardner earned much of the reps at running back in place of freshman running back Re’Mahn Davis, who was out with an injury. Gardner finished with 133 yards. Redshirt-junior running back Tayvon Ruley earned a season-high 29 rushing yards against the Bulls.
Redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Jadan Blue led the Owls in receiving. Blue finished with 11 catches and 121 yards, his best performance since Temple’s win against the University of Maryland on Sept. 14. Blue finished with 132 yards and a touchdown against the Terrapins.
The Owls will host Tulane (6-3, 3-2 The AAC) next Saturday at 12 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field.