Houston Defeats Temple in AAC Championship Game

Houston secured its first American Athletic Conference football championship with a 24-13 win over Temple on Saturday at TDECU Stadium.

Temple dropped to 10-3 with its third loss to Houston in as many seasons.

The Owls now have to wait to see which bowl game submits an offer.

Houston improved to 12-1 for the season and will likely gain an invitation to the Peach Bowl, which had representatives at Saturday's game.

Offense
Quarterback P.J. Walker was effective throwing the ball, completing 26 passes for 287 yards and one touchdown.

Receiver Robby Anderson enjoyed an outstanding contest with 12 receptions for 150 yards.

The Owls' rushing attack was quite the opposite, managing just 98 yards on 27 carries.

Temple had six possession that crossed the Houston 30-yard line, but came away with just one touchdown.

The Cougars' defense stopped the Owls three times on fourth-down plays.

Defense
Temple kept Houston inside its 42 points per game average, but that was about it.

The Cougars put together a decent rushing attack with 239 yards.

Ward was held to 89 yards passing, but made up for it by running the ball 17 times for 148 yards.

Early turnovers hurt
Turnovers on its first two drives put Temple in an early hole that it was unable to escape.

The Owls lost the ball on the fourth play of the game when Walker, under pressure from Houston linebacker Elandon Roberts, hurried a pass that was intercepted by Tyrus Bowser and returned to Temple 36-yard line.

Down 7-0, Temple drove 63 yards to the Houston 25-yard line before Robby Anderson lost a fumble following a reception. Roberts got in on the play again for Houston by forcing the fumble.

Defense can't stop Ward
Temple knew going in that it needed to contain Ward in order to have a chance of success.

Ward made a mockery of that plan by accounting for 236 yards and two touchdowns.

Two plays in particularly showed the Temple defense just how explosive Ward can be.

On a second-down play from the Owls' 47-yard line, Ward eluded three defenders to break the Cougars' longest rushing touchdown of the season.

Ward used a hard cut to get past Temple defenders Matt Ioannidis and Sean Chandler at the line, then stepped past Jarred Alwan to break free.

Ward ran past two defenders on a 10-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. That 71-yard rive drive saw Ward run for 45 yards and pass for 18 more.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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