In the fourth quarter, Temple junior cornerback Harrison Hand forced a fumble on Memphis redshirt-junior quarterback Brady White. The fumble was Hand’s second forced turnover of the game.
“I just felt like that’s built in to our defense in general,” Hand said. “We hit, we fly to ball on aggressive defense.”
Temple University football (5-1, 2-0 The American Athletic Conference) forced four turnovers in their 30-28 win at home against Memphis (5-1, 1-1 The AAC) on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers came into the game with the 31st ranked offense in the country. Despite surrendering 492 yards, coach Rod Carey was still pleased with his defense’s effort.
“I don’t look at it through the lens that our defense played bad,” Carey said, “They played a good offense.”
After the Temple defense forced a quick three-and-out which allowed the offense to go up 7-0, Memphis looked to respond on their next drive but White threw an interception to Hand. Hand finished the game with an interception, a forced fumble, a team-high nine tackles and two tackles for loss.
Hand felt like he played his best game of the season and capitalized on every opportunity, he said.
After the Hand interception, the Owls drove down the field and kicked a field goal, extending their lead to 10-0.
On the next Memphis possession, redshirt senior DeAndre Kelly forced a fumble which was returned for 32 yards by senior linebacker Sam Franklin. It was the first of 3 fumbles the Owls would force.
The Temple defense gave up zero points in the first quarter, but the Tigers came storming back in the second quarter with two quick touchdowns before the half, making the score 23-14.
In the second half, the Owls’ defense allowed 14 points and 275 yards.
Late in the fourth quarter, White threw a pass that appeared to be caught by senior tight end Jake Magnifico. The call was overturned, giving the Owls the ball back with one minute and 50 seconds remaining in the game.
For the second time in the half, the Owls forced a fourth-down stop. The Owls made multiple fourth-down stops to win the game against the University of Maryland (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten Conference) on Sept. 14.
There is no secret formula to these clutch stops, rather a commitment to execution on all four downs, Carey said.
“We read our keys, we get our feet in the ground,” Carey added. “We communicate, and we get off on the snap count.”
The Owls defense is only allowing 19 points per game this season and giving up a low 325.7 yards per game.
“Our defense is one of the best in the nation,” redshirt sophomore tackle Ifeanyi Maijeh said. “So we just gotta have that mentality to take to the next team.”
The Owls’ next game is on the road against Southern Methodist (6-0, 2-0 The AAC) on Saturday, Oct. 19.