Temple was a little short at safety, but the Owls worked though the injuries to defeat No. 23 Memphis, 30-28, in Saturday’s American Athletic Conference game at Lincoln Financial Field.
Starting safety Benny Walls, who is one of the defensive leaders, hurt himself in practice on Thursday and was unable to play.
In addition, redshirt junior Keyvone Bruton, who was slated to start in place of Walls, was ruled out, coach Rod Carey said after the game.
“Bru [Bruton] was going to start but got ruled out in pregame,” Carey said. “He had something come up and couldn’t go.”
That moved sophomore DaeSean Winston into the starting lineup alongside Ayron Monroe, the Penn State transfer who has started all six games for the Owls. Winston saw sufficient time in each of the first five games, so it wasn’t as though he were coming in cold.
Temple doesn’t go with just two safeties the entire game, however, so redshirt junior Amir Tyler got more playing time.
Tyler had seen his playing time increase, but not to the level it was on Saturday.
He entered the game with six tackles and had three against Memphis. Tyler also recovered a key fourth-quarter fumble that led to Temple’s final touchdown.
“It was a little crazy, I couldn’t let the team down,” Tyler said. “I felt like I had to do everything I had to do.”
Temple’s motto is: Next man up.
“We played DaeSean in there, Amir in there, guys who are normally in the mix and have gotten time,' Carey said, "but certainly Amir got a ton of time today, and Monroe had to play the whole game, and I am proud of those guys.”
As for Walls, Carey said he was hurt in a noncontact situation and will be back, but he gave no timeline.
Some key numbers
In a game in which Temple attempted 37 passes, Owls quarterbacks Anthony Russo and Todd Centeio weren’t sacked. … Temple had a first-half time-of-possession advantage of 20 minutes and 4 seconds to 9:56. It flipped in the second half, to 17:08 for Memphis and 12:52 for the Owls. … Memphis was 0-for-3 on fourth down conversions. … Last season, Isaiah Wright had 33 receptions for 368 yards and three touchdowns. With six catches for 56 yards and a score against Memphis, he has 37 catches for 361 yards and five touchdowns at the midway point for the Owls, who are 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the American Athletic Conference.