American Athletic Conference/ Ben Solomon

Football

Temple Crowned 2016 Football Champion

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Phillip Walker threw two touchdown passes as the Owls claimed their first American Athletic Conference title with a 34-10 victory Saturday.

10361

After Temple (10-3) scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, protecting the 21-0 lead became substantially easier when No. 19 Navy (9-3, No. 19 AP) lost standout quarterback Will Worth to a second-quarter ankle injury.

This time, the Owls dominated from the outset. Not only did Temple open with TD drives of 75, 59 and 70 yards, but the defense quashed a Navy attack that had averaged 61 points over its previous three games.

The Midshipmen had scored on 34 of 38 drives -- including 33 touchdowns -- before being denied on their first three possessions by Temple. Worth was injured at the end of the third drive and did not return.

That spelled doom for an offense that produced more than 500 yards in each of its last three games. Navy finished with 306 yards, 168 on the ground.
 

Backup quarterback Zach Abey went 7-for-13 for 104 yards and two interceptions. He ran for 70 yards. He was operating without running backs Toneo Gulley and Darryl Bonner both of whom left with first-half injuries.

The result was the end of Navy's 15-game home winning streak.

Walker went 16-for-25 for 199 yards, and middle linebacker Jarred Alwan led the Owls defense with 13 tackles.

Temple took the suspense out of the game with an early show of offensive firepower. After Walker completed a 13-yard pass for Keith Kirkwood on fourth-and-7 from the Navy 28, Jahad Thomas ran for a 15-yard score.

A 22-yard touchdown pass to Ventell Bryant made it 14-0, and Walker followed a Navy turnover with a perfectly thrown long pass that Kirkwood caught in stride for a 56-yard score.



After falling behind 24-3 at halftime, the Midshipmen got a 47-yard run from Abey during a drive late in the third quarter that ended with the quarterback scoring from the Temple 1.

A 42-yard field goal by Aaron Boumerhi with 10:17 left ended any hope of a Navy comeback.