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Temple leads ECU 27-7 after three quarters

Temple scored two touchdowns late in the first half in less a minute's span and holds a 27-7 lead after three quarters over East Carolina in an American Athletic Conference regular season finale for both teams at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Owls need to win in order to clinch the AAC East Division title and earn a berth in Saturday's title game at West Division champion Navy.

East Carolina, which entered the game No. 1 in the AAC in passing offense (348.5 yards per game), scored on the game's opening possession, with Jimmy Williams ending the 11-play, 58-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Gardner Minshew.

East Carolina hasn't had problems scoring, but stopping the opponent has become a frustrating exercise for the Pirates.

ECU was last in the AAC in scoring defense (36.0 ppg.) and was coming off a 66-31 loss to Navy.

Temple came back to score on its opening drive with Adonis Jennings providing 87 yards. Jennings returned his first ever kickoff 43 yards. He also caught a 44-yard bomb to the Pirates 2-yard line. Two plays later Ryquell Armstead bounced off a few tacklers for a 2-yard run.

Armstead, who missed last week's game due to injury, gave Temple a 14-7 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:07 left in the first half.

On that drive Temple's Phillip Walker became the first Temple quarterback to throw for more 10,000 yards in a career.

During the next series, Temple defensive end Praise Martin-Oguike sacked Minshew, caused a fumbled and recovered it at the ECU 34-yard line. It was one of two first-half sacks for Martin-Oguike.

Temple's Jahad Thomas then gained 28 yards on a play that originally looked like a halfback option. He saw nobody open and took off. A personal foul on ECU put the ball on the 3-yard line and Thomas then scored from there on the next play with 1:09 left, boosting the lead to 21-7.

After ECU's Davis Plowman missed a 41-yard field goal attempt with 7:07 left in the third quarter, Temple scored on the next possession. Thomas scored on a 3-yard run. The Owls Aaron Boumerhi missed the extra point, keeping the score 27-7 with 1:21 left in the third quarter.

Through three quarters, Jennings had six receptions for 100 yards. It was his first career 100-yard game.

Thomas has rushed for 94 yards on 17 carries.