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Temple’s Ryquell Armstead looking ahead after record-setting performance against Houston

After rushing for 210 yards and six touchdowns in Saturday's 59-49 win at Houston, Armstead says he's looking forward to the senior day meeting with USF.

Temple Ryquell Armstead runs with the football against Tulsa on Thursday, September 20, 2018 in Philadelphia. YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Temple Ryquell Armstead runs with the football against Tulsa on Thursday, September 20, 2018 in Philadelphia. YONG KIM / Staff PhotographerRead moreYong Kim

As the awards keep coming following his career performance last week, Temple senior running back Ryquell Armstead is doing his best to simply look ahead.

It hasn't been easy after the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Armstead rushed for 210 yards and six touchdowns on 30 carries Saturday in a 59-49 win at Houston.

Not only was it Temple's first win over the Cougars in seven tries, it made the Owls bowl eligible. Temple is 6-4 and 5-1 in the American Athletic Conference.

Armstead has received several honors including the Walter Camp Football Foundation national offensive player of the week.

On Tuesday, Armstead earned the player of the week honor from the Maxwell Football Club.

"These awards are great but they aren't going to help me this week, so I am putting it behind me and trying to go 1-0 this week," Armstead said Tuesday after practice.

With two games remaining, Temple remains mathematically alive in the AAC East Division title. The Owls and Cincinnati are 5-1, with Central Florida 6-0 and a winner of 22 consecutive games overall.

Under tiebreakers, Temple's only realistic chance to win the division would be for Central Florida to lose its final two games against Cincinnati (9-1, 5-1) and South Florida (7-3, 3-3) and for Temple to win its final two over South Florida and Connecticut (1-9. 0-6).

As for Armstead, what made his performance more impressive is that coach Geoff Collins told the television announcers before the game that the senior from Millville, N.J., was only about 75 percent because of an ankle injury. Armstead has missed two games with the injury but has still rushed for 978 yards (5.5 average) and 12 touchdowns.

When asked about the ankle, Armstead dodged he question the way he does tacklers. "I am a little banged up," he said.

He got even more banged up in the game, hurting his hand and requiring X-rays. Collins feared it might be broken, but Armstead got a clean bill of health and then went out and scored four more touchdowns.

Even if the hand was broken, Armstead wasn't going to allow that to keep him on the sideline. "All in all, it was a hand, it wasn't an ankle," Armstead said. "I was going to play."

Temple's noon matchup with USF at Lincoln Financial Field will be senior day, the last home game of the season.

"It will mean the world for me, the last time playing at the Linc, the last time playing at the Linc for Temple," Armstead said, more than aware that there should be an NFL opportunity. "I am very excited for senior day."

His teammates, especially the offensive linemen, were excited to be part of Armstead's performance against Houston when his six rushing touchdowns set an AAC record.

"It is awesome when we see him do a big run — we get juiced up and want to keep having explosive plays," guard Jovahn Fair said.

Houston coach Major Applewhite made it a point to seek out Armstead after the game.

"I think he is the hardest-running tailback in our league," Applewhite said Monday in a conference call with the media. "He is an outstanding football player and I told him after game: Best of luck at the next level."