Temple stayed very much alive in the race for the American Athletic Conference East Division title with a 29-21 win over Tulane on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.
With two games left in the regular season, the Owls are two games behind in the loss column to Cincinnati before the Bearcats’ game Saturday night at South Florida.
Temple visits Cincinnati next week and the Owls, along with UCF, remain in the race, although the Bearcats are in the driver’s seat.
Either way, Temple ensured next week’s game will be meaningful. Here are three takeaways from the win.
One of Temple’s most underutilized players has been tight end Kenny Yeboah. A former receiver in high school, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound redshirt junior is a matchup nightmare for linebackers and even safeties.
Yeboah entered the game with 12 receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Against Tulane he had five catches for 63 yards and two scores. One of his receptions, a 44-yard catch, set up a Temple field goal. On that catch Anthony Russo hit him in stride on a go-route.
Yeboah can get big yards in the middle of the field, or he can go deep, and Tulane had no answer for him.
After recording 3.5 sacks in last week’s 17-7 win at South Florida, defensive end Quincy Roche had another dominating performance.
The redshirt junior set up Temple’s opening field goal with a sack and fumble recovery on the Tulane 19-yard line. He ended with 12 tackles and six tackles for losses, including three sacks.
He also had a key tackle for a loss of Darius Bradwell, forcing a fourth down that ended in an incomplete pass with 2:45 left and the Owls holding a 29-21 lead.
On the next series, Temple’s final defensive stand, he had another two sacks
No doubt the 6-4, 235-pound Roche is improving his NFL profile, especially with his play the last two weeks.
Last week he wasn’t named AAC defensive player of the week. He should be a major candidate this time.
Receiver Jadan Blue is so dangerous running after the catch. Temple often threw him short passes and let him take advantage of his ability to run after the catch.
Temple also uses him effectively on shovel passes at the line of scrimmage. That is how Blue scored on a 16-yard scoring pass to extend Temple’s lead to 29-14 with 9:55 left. It was really a glorified handoff.
Blue is also able to get open down the field, but he is especially dangerous on the short passes where he has room to run. Last week he had 11 catches for 121 yards. Against Tulane it was 12 receptions for 131 yards and a score.