Navy hosts the Temple Owls in the American Athletic Conference Championship game this afternoon at Navy-Marine Corp Memorial Stadium with kickoff set for Noon.
Navy (9-2), the West Division champions, is looking for their first conference championship in 136 years. They face Temple (9-3), the champions from the East Division for the second year consecutive year, in this afternoon's championship game in Annapolis. The Mids played as an Independent for their first 134 years and have played in the AAC for the past two.
Temple is led by running backs Jahad Thomas and Raquel Armstead who have ombined for 25 TDs on the ground. They are also able to move the ball through the air with QB Phillip Walker throwin for 2700 yards and 18 TDs.
The ESPN College Game Day crew gave Navy some love this morning.
First Quarter -
Navy won the toss and deferred to the second half. Navy kicked off into the end zone and Temple starts ther first drive at their own 25 yard line. The Owls drove the ball to the Navy 28 yard line. After two incomplete passes Temple faced a 4th-and-7. Following a Navy timeout the Owls completed a 13 yard first down conversion to the Navy 15. Jahad Thomas carried the ball on the next play and scored the opening TD of the game giving Temple a 7-0 lead with 9:43 remaining in the first quarter.
Navy took the Temple squib kickoff at their own 31. Navy kept the ball on the ground and Toneo Gulley converted a 3rd-and-3 with a 15 yard run to the Temple 47. Facing a 4th-and-7 on the Temple 44, the Owls held on the 4th down play and will take over at their own 41 with 6:18 remaining in the first quarter.
Temple moved the ball down the field primarily on the ground. Adonis Jennings picked up 16 yards on a reverse play to the Navy 23 yard line. Two plays later, Phillip Walked found Ventell Bryant on a 22-yard TD pass to give Temple a two score lead over Navy with 3:01 remaining in the first quarter.
Navy has lost 17 straight games when trailing by 14 or more points so the offense must find a way to get points on the board. Will Worth converted a 3rd-and-6 by finding Dishan Romine on a 34 yard pass play to the Temple 25 yard line. On the next play, Darryl Bonner was tackled for a 3-yard loss and fumbled the ball. Temple recovered and will take over on their own 35 with 0:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Second Quarter -
Temple continues to move the ball efficiently down the field. The Owls scored their third touchdown on their third possession when Walker hit Keith Kirkwood in stride for a 56-yard TD pass. Temple leads Navy 21-0 early in the second quarter which is quickly turning into a route.
Navy is unable to move the ball and is forced to punt the ball back to Temple. Toneo Gulley is helped off the field with an apparent ankle injury. This injury is compounded due to the fact that Darryl Bonner is on the sideline without his helmet and shoulder pads. It also appears that Will Worth may be limping somewhat as well. This could be a long afternoon for Navy.
During Temple's possession, co-captain Gulley was helped into the locker room and it appears Will Worth is also heading into the locker room. The Navy defense came up big and forced the Owls to punt for the first time in the game. Navy takes over at their own 25 yard line.
Backup QB Zach Abey comes on to the field with the Navy offense. No word yet on the condition of Will Worth. Temple's Avery Williams was charged with a targeting call and has been disqualified. Abey completes his first career pass attempt to Calvin Cass for 22-yards sown to the Temple 23 yard line. Will Worth and Toneo Gulley are both back on the sideline - on crutches.
Navy takes a timeout facing a 4th-and-4 on the Temple 6 yard line. Bennett Moehring kicks a 23-yard FG to get Navy on the bard. The Mids trail Temple, 21-3 with 5:12 remaining in the first half.
Temple was able to move the ball into Navy territory with a big 25-yard run by Ryquell Armstead and a 16-yard completion by Jahad Thomas. The Navy defense held Temple on a 3rd-and-19 to a 5-yard completion. Temple called a timeout and decided to attempt a 50yard FG which went wide left.
Navy takes over at their own 33 with 0:59 remaining in the half. Temple picked off a Zach Abey pass and has the ball near midfield.
The Navy defense was able force Temple into another FG situation which Temple was able convert this time from 48 yards.
The first half ended with Temple leading the Mids, 24-3. Navy will get the ball to open the second half.
Halftime notes -
Navy was held to just 70 yards rushing in the first half. Will Worth, Darryl Bonner and Toneo Gulley are all out for the remainder of the game due to injuries.
Temple's Phillip Walker has 153 yards passing and 2 TDs. Keith Kirkwood has 7 receiving yards and a TD to lead the Owls. Armstead has 45 rushing yards on 5 carries. Thomas has 40 yards and a TD.
Third Quarter -
Navy started the second half with a 29 yard pass from Abey to Jamir Tillman to the Temple 46. Navy was unable to move the chains again failing on their second fourth down conversion attempt in Temple territory today.
The Navy defense stood strong and forced Temple to punt on a 3-and-out on the Owls' first drive of the second half.
Navy was unable to move the ball out of their own territory and punted the ball back to Temple. So far in the second half, neither team has been able to sustain a drive well enough to put points on the board.
The Navy defense forces their second 3-and-out of the second half.
Zach Abey makes a great play and moves the ball into Temple territory with a 47-yard run.
Six plays later, Abey scores Navy's first TD in the game cutting Temple's lead to 24-10 with 2:18 remaining in the third quarter.
Temple will now try to take away Navy's momentum on their next drive. Temple got their first 1st down of the half and Navy countered that play with their first sack of the game by Amos Mason. Armstead gained 19 yards on the next play to set up a 3rd-and-1 going into the fourth quarter.
Fourth Quarter -
Temple finishes their drive with a 42-yard FG by Aaron Boumerhi to give Temple a 27-10 lead. Temple has nearly a five minute time of possession advantage in today's game so far.
On Navy's next drive they were able to convert their first fourth down play of the game with a 2-yard carry by Tre Walker to keep their drive alive. With 6:22 left in the game and down three scores, Navy takes a timeout on a huge third down play. Navy will need to score touchdowns now and will be in four down territory for the rest of game.
Navy was unable to convert on a 4th-and-14 play and Temple takes over with 6:08 remaining in the game.
Navy forced a Temple punt, but time is running out on a Navy miracle comeback.
Navy started their drive with a 17-yard pass from Abey to Brandon Colon. On their next play, Hanson Reddick picked off Abey of Navy's third turnover in the game.
Two plays later, Armstead scores another Temple TD with a 30-yard TD run with 3:04 left in the game. Temple leads Navy, 34-10.
Temple wins the game 34-10 and wins their first AAC championship in their second attempt.
Navy will play Army next week in Baltimore and will play in the Armed Forces Bowl on December 23.