Matt Rhule Temple-Memphis Postgame

Big plays killed the Owls in a 34-27 loss to the Tigers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Except for a 10-minute stretch bridging the third and fourth quarters, Temple controlled and occasionally dominated its game at Memphis on Thursday night.  But in those 10 minutes, the Tigers got a 71-yard touchdown run, a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown, a 28-yard touchdown run, and a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

The final result: Memphis 34, Temple 27.

The Owls led 13-0 late in the second quarter.  But they missed too many scoring chances, and dropped too many passes.  Ultimately, they made five trips into the Memphis red zone, but only came away with two touchdowns, two field goals, and a missed field goal.

Still, it seemed like that might be enough.  The Temple defense prevented Memphis from gaining a first down on each of its first four drives.  The Tigers managed to kick a field goal at the end of the second quarter, and another one midway through the third quarter.  Then came the deluge.

Suddenly down by two scores, the Owls broke loose and scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter.  The second one made it 34-27 with 3:49 to go.  And the Owls then forced a Memphis punt, but were whistled for running into the kicker -- a call that Coach Matt Rhule disputed because he said the punter was outside the tackle box.  Memphis retained possession for two more minutes, and then punted to the Owls with less than a minute to go.

And the comeback died when Phillip Walker was intercepted at the Memphis 29 with 18 seconds remaining.

Watch Rhule's postgame press conference here.

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