Temple Owls, P.J. Walker Breeze Past Tulane Green Wave, 49-10

Oct 10, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls running back Jahad Thomas (5) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tulane Green Wave during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Led by two P.J. Walker touchdown passes, the Temple Owls improved to 5-0 with a 49-10 win over Tanner Lee and the Tulane Green Wave.

Led by two P.J. Walker touchdown passes, the Temple Owls improved to 5-0 with a 49-10 win over Tanner Lee and the Tulane Green Wave.

Oct 10, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls running back Jahad Thomas (5) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tulane Green Wave during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls running back Jahad Thomas (5) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tulane Green Wave during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field. (Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

Temple running back Ryquell Armstead ran for two touchdowns, and quarterback P.J. Walker threw for two touchdowns as the Temple Owls defeated Tulane Green Wave Saturday 49-10. With the Owls Homecoming win, it gave the team a 5-0 record.

“I’m very pleased to get a win at Homecoming and improve to 5-0,” said head coach Matt Rhule. “I’m proud of our team. I thought they showed resilience and made plays when they had to in all three areas: offense, defense and special teams.”

All three running backs (Jahad Thomas, Ryquell Armstead and David Hood) each contributed a touchdown Armstead, a freshman, got the start over Thomas. Thomas was late to a meeting and Tuesday, informed both players on his decision. Armstead fumbled the ball on the Owls first possession, leading to a Green Wave field goal. Armstead would then bounce back and score two touchdowns later on in the game, the first two of his career.

Oct 10, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls quarterback P.J. Walker (11) looks to throw against the Tulane Green Wave during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls quarterback P.J. Walker (11) looks to throw against the Tulane Green Wave during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. (Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

P.J. Walker also had success Saturday. He completed 11 of his 15 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game in the fourth quarter. Walker has taken care of the ball so far this season and has a touchdown to interception ratio of 3.5 to 1 (7 touchdowns, 2 interceptions).

The Temple defense played physically, finishing off tackles and hitting Tulane quarterback Tanner Lee early and often. The unit was also stout against the run, holding the Green Wave to 8 yards rushing on 27 attempts. Cornerback Sean Chandler returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown and fellow cornerback Avery Williams was also able to pick off Green Wave quarterback Tanner Lee.

“Temple Defensive Coordinator Phil Snow does a great job with those guys,” Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said after the game. “We knew if we couldn’t neutralize their defensive line we could be in for a long day. That’s definitely the one thing they have, great defense.”

Defensive Coordinator Phil Snow’s game plan stymied the Tulane offense at times. “Against UMass, they got rid of the ball in the lower two’s (seconds),” he said. “You’re not going to hit the quarterback when they do that. The coverage has got to win. Today, the coverage helped the defensive lineman. They had to hold the ball a little longer and then those guys took over the ballgame. If you look at Tom Brady, he gets rid of the ball in a little over two seconds.  You’re not going to hit him. The coverage has to be good and make the quarterback hold the ball. That’s what we did today, and we had a great amount of success.”

With the team being undefeated, including wins over Penn State and Cincinnati, the question remains if the Owls will crack the Top 25 in either The Associated Press or Amway Coaches Poll. In each of the past few weeks, the Owls have inched closer to achieving a ranking, something they have not accomplished since 1979. For Rhule, it is not something he is currently worried right now.

“I really care about how we finish the year. Right now we are one game better than we were last year. We were 4-1 last year. We are 5-0 this year. You talk about evolution. People want to know how I’ve evolved as a head coach. The first year I was worried about everything. Now I am worried about everybody getting in for treatment tomorrow. I want to finish the year in the Top 25, make no mistake. Right now, I do not care.”

Next Saturday, Oct. 17, the Owls will be home at Lincoln Financial Field to take on Central Florida. Game time will be 7:30 p.m.

Game Notes

Both Temple and Tulane combined for 10 fumbles in the game. The 39 point differential was the biggest win that Temple has had since Temple began tracking the stat. American Athletic Conference Director of Officiating, Terry McCauly was in attendance for today’s game. Also at the game were scouts from five NFL teams (3 AFC, 2 NFC).

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