After an hour and 37 minute lighting delay, the Temple defense decided to light up Vandebilt Stadium in a 37-7 stunner of a win in front of 31,731 fans. The night was highlighted by an amazing performance by the defense, which included two forced fumbles by sophomore DL Averee Robinson and only allowing the Commodores to 107 total yards in the first half. Overall, the defense forced seven turnovers, including three interceptions – the same total they had all last season.
With the win, Temple recorded its first victory over an SEC team since a 20-12 win at Florida on December 3, 1938.
On the first drive of the game, the Owls looked promising, but failed to convert a first down and freshman Alex Starzyk was forced to punt it away.
The first drive for the Commodores didn’t amountb to anything, as the ‘Dores were held to only 3 total yards, with the assistance of junior DL Matt Ioannidis and junior LB Tyler Makatevich tackles on first- and second-down, respectively. Vanderbilt was forced to punt for the first time after junior DL Sharif Finch sacked QB Pat Robinette.
The Owls were the first to score after Vanderbilt RB Brian Kimbrow was the victim of a Nate D. Smith forced fumble, which was recovered by Robinson at the Vanderbilt 40. From there, a four play, 40 yard drive ended with a 35-yard pass on 4th-and-5 from sophomore QB P.J. Walker to junior WR Brandon Shippen, the first catch of his career.
Vanderbilt opened the second quarter by punting the ball away, after junior DL Praise Martin-Oguike sacked Robinette, which marked the third sack of the half for the Owls.
The Owls then tried to get a something going, after facing a 3rd-and-21 situation, after a chopblock penalty was called against Temple. However, the Owls were forced to punt it away, and the ‘Dores would catch a break after freshman punter Alex Starzyk was unable to get a grip on a high snap. Oren Burks recovered the fumble in the end zone, tying up the game.
Once the Owls got the ball back and Walker had completed a pass to sophomore WR Khalif Herbin, the ball was put back into the ‘Dores hands, as the ball was stripped and Jake Sealand recovered at midfield. Vanderbilt was unable to capitalize on the mishap.
With a little over two minutes left before the half, Walker was able to launch a rocket to senior WR Jalen Fitzpatrick in the endzone, following Temple second successful 4th down attempt, an 11-yard completion to sophomore WR Nate Hairston on 4th and 7.
Even though Vanderbilt had the ball back following the Temple touchdown, the ‘Dores once again were unable to get any movement. New Vandy QB Stephen Rivers was sacked and Robinson recovered his second fumble of the night, running it 55-yards for the touchdown, making the halftime score 21-7 in favor of the Owls.
The third quarter started with Vanderbilt receiving the ball, but they were unable to score, as Hayden Lekacz’s field goal attempt went to the left of the uprights.
Once again, the Owls shined through the rest of the third quarter, as sophomre RB Jahad Thomas was able to recover a fumbled punt catch by Darrius Simms. This set up Austin Jones’ field goal to make the score 24-7. Vanderbilt decided to switch up their quarterbacks again, bringing Johnny McCrary into the game. However, his first pass was intercepted by junior DB Tavon Young.
Walker was able to run the ball four yards in for another Temple touchdown. On the next Vanderbily play, slight movement was made as they were able to make it out to their 34-yard line. But, Young was able to make his second interception. The Owls settle for a Jones field goal on the drive.
Vanderbilt once again hits a sour mark, after the kickoff was fumbled and freshman DB Artrell Foster was able to recover it. However, the Owls were unable to score as Jones was unable to put his kick through the uprights on the first play of the 4th quarter.
The night ended for the Owls with a junior kicker Tyler Mayes field goal, which sealed the deal at 37-7.
Walker went 24-34 with 207 yards of passing and two touchdowns, along with eight carries for 21 yards and another score. Jones was responsible for two field goals and four point-after attempts, racking his numbers up to 10 points.
Vanderbilt will face Ole Miss next Saturday at LP Field in Nashville.