Taking advantage of a dominant performance from one of the most fearsome defenses in all of college football, the Temple Owls earned a spot in the American Athletic Conference title game with a 27-3 win over the Connecticut Huskies.
Defending a Huskies attack that was without starting quarterback Bryant Sherriffs, the Owls front seven was a force of nature in allowing only nine rushing yards and 138 total yards on the day.
The Owls got on the board first on a drive that started at the UConn 49-yard line due to a poor punt by Huskies punter Justin Wain. The four play drive was virtually all Jahad Thomas as the junior ran the ball three times for 33 yards. Thomas capped it off with a nine-yard scamper to the end zone that gave the home team a 7-0 lead.
UConn responded with an eight-play drive that started at their own 15-yard line. Facing a third and six on the Temple 48-yard line, the Huskies were stuffed on an Arkeel Newsome rush and forced to punt. A quick three and out from Temple gave UConn new life at midfield, but a fumble on a fourth down conversion attempt returned the ball to the Owls with no harm done.
Temple finally extended their lead to double digits late in the first half on an 11-play, 56-yard drive that petered out at the UConn three-yard line. Austin Jones stepped in and drilled the 20-yard chip shot field goal to make the score 10-0 in favor of Temple.
Looking to put the game away early in the second half, Temple came out and double the lead to 20-0 in the third quarter. The first score, a 37-yard field goal from Jones, was the culmination of a battle of a drive that took 13 plays to move only 51 yards. With the successful kick, the Temple lead was extended to 13-0.
The second score, finally saw P.J. Walker and the passing game get involved in the game as the junior hit 4-6 passes for 33 yards. The final completion, a six-yard touchdown pass to seldom targeted Romond Deloatch, was a dagger of a score that put the Owls firmly in control at 20-0.
The Owls added a late insurance score on a 60-yard sprint to the end zone from Thomas that sent him over the 1,000 yards rushing plateau for the season. The successful PAT gave Temple a 27-0 lead.
Desperate to score at least once, the Huskies mounted a 47-yard drive that saw Bobby Puyol connect on a 45-yard field goal to cap the scoring at 27-3 in favor of Temple.
As the clock hit zero, the Temple Owls were east division champions with a 27-3 win over Connecticut.
With the loss, Connecticut will await their postseason destination after becoming bowl eligible with an upset win over Houston last week.
With the win, Temple wins the AAC East Division and will head to Houston to take on the Houston Cougars in the inaugural AAC Championship game.