The ECU Pirates had no answer for the Temple Owls up front as visitors moved the ball at will in a 27-17 win on Thursday night.
Temple was balanced on offense finishing with 490 yards, 253 through the air and 237 on the ground. The Owls were led by true freshman running back Re’Mahn Davis who ran for a career high 157 yards on 24 carries. Davis has now gone over 100 yards and scored a touchdown in consecutive games. Jager Gardner, a North Carolina native, rushed for 60 yards and touchdown of his own.
The Owls started out a bit sluggish to start as the Pirates went 90 yards on the opening drive ending with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Holton Ahlers to C.J. Johnson. The team sputtered with a turnover on downs, but everything started to click after a miss opportunity by the Pirates.
The Pirates attempted a 39-yard field goal late in the first quarter to go up 10-0 early, but Jake Verity missed it. As we know, miss opportunites get usually capitalized on and that is what happened after that it was all Owls.
Temple put up 17 in the second to lead 17-10 at the break, then following up with 10 points in the second half to be up 27-10. The Pirates scored a garbage-time touchdown to finish the game with a 27-17 score and cover the line.
The Owls absolutely dominated ECU in the third quarter on both sides of the ball. Temple racked up 138 yards compared to just 19 yards for the Pirates.
Temple used two quarterbacks in this game as Anthony Russo got most of the playing time, but Todd Centeio got the Owls going after their sluggish start. Russo threw for 208 yards and a touchdown, but his turnover woes continued as he did lose a fumble. Centeio was 4-of-5 for 45 yards passing and added another 23 yards on the ground.
The Pirates kept the game competitive for three quarters of the game, but offensively in the second half they could not get going which is an Achilles’ heel for this team. The team will learn from this and can build off of it as they faced a very good Temple team and hung around.
The fourth quarter was delayed for around 15 minutes as the lights went out in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. ECU did tell fans to “blackout” the stadium, but that’s not exactly what they were looking for.
Next up for the Owls will be a match-up on Saturday, Oct. 12 when the Memphis Tigers come to Philadelphia.
As for the Pirates, they will be on a bye next week before heading down to Orlando to play UCF on Oct. 19.