Riding a defense that completely flustered a normally potent Navy rushing attack, the Temple Owls were dominant in pulling off a 34-10 win over #19 Navy for the AAC title. This win gave the Owls their first conference title since 1967.
Everyone came into the game talking about Navy’s chances to unseat Western Michigan and earn a spot in the Cotton Bowl, but forgot completely about Temple. The Owls used that motivation to score on four of their first six drives of the game and take a 24-3 lead at the half. The score could have been even more lopsided if not for a missed field goal by the Owls.
For those that want to use the excuse of the injury to Navy quarterback Will Worth as the reason for the loss, the Midshipmen were already down 21-0 when we went down for the game. It was as completely dominant of a performance as we have seen for Temple versus a good team during the Matt Rhule era. That is saying quite a bit as Rhule is already one of the most successful coaches in school history.
Leading 24-3 at the half, the Owls did not come out as crisp on offense, but were never really challenged in the final 30 minutes of play. Navy pulled as close as 14 points late in the third quarter with Temple putting up the final ten points of the game for a 34-10 victory.
The final statistics do not give justice to just how dominant of a performance it was from the Owls. They held Navy to under 70 yards rushing in the opening half and only 3.8 yards per carry for the game. They also forced Navy to commit three turnovers, with Nate Hairston and Hasson Reddick (yes really) picking off passes in the win.
For Navy, they do not have much time to think about this loss as they play Army in their annual tussle next Saturday. Then, it is on to the Armed Forces Bowl for the Midshipmen, a bowl that they are tied into despite being part of the AAC.
The Owls are still awaiting their final bowl destination and will find out very soon how much “AAC Champions” next to their name change their bowl destination. Many pundits had them heading to the Military Bowl to face a foe from the ACC. We will find out in the next day or so if that is their actual destination.
Also benefiting from this result are the Western Michigan Broncos. No longer will there be any talk of Navy jumping them in the CFP standings to send them to a much lesser profile bowl. They are virtually guaranteed a spot in the Cotton Bowl with a chance to finish the season 14-0.