Navy dominated by Temple, loses AAC Championship, 34-10
Dec 03, 2016 06:33PM ● Published by Jake Russell
Gallery: AAC Championship: Navy vs. Temple - Photos by Jake Russell [34 Images] Click any image to expand.
The Temple Owls arrived in Annapolis riding a six-game winning streak and title game experienced, having played Houston in last year's American Athletic Conference Championship game. On the other hand, the No. 19 Navy Midshipmen offense had been in rare form lately, putting up at least 500 yards in the last three games and totaling 141 points in the last two weeks.
Something had to give.
Led by a dominant defense, Temple (10-3) limited Navy (9-3) to just 17 points and 306 yards of offense, 168 of which came on the ground. The Owls controlled the tempo of the game from start to finish, building a 21-0 lead and never appearing to be in danger of losing it.
Just three weeks after beating Tulsa in front of the 10th-largest crowd in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium history, an announced crowd of just 22,815 was on hand to witness Navy's first loss in Annapolis since September 27, 2014 versus Western Kentucky. The loss snaps Navy's streak of 15 consecutive home wins, which tied conference foe Houston for the longest in the nation.
The AAC title game added injury to insult with quarterback Will Worth--the FBS leader in rushing touchdowns--and co-captain Toneo Gulley exiting the game with ankle injuries on the same second-quarter drive. The Mids also lost Dishan Romine and Darryl Bonner with leg and head injuries, respectively. Worth and Gulley will miss the remainder of the season.
Spalding grad Zach Abey took over for Worth but failed to lead the Midshipmen to scoring drives the team had grown accustomed to accumulating. Abey threw two interceptions and was just 7 of 13 passing for 104 yards. He ran for just 70 on the ground.
The loss knocks the Midshipmen out of contention for the Cotton Bowl but the team is expected to play in the Armed Forces Bowl on December 23 with their opponent expected to be Baylor. The Mids will face Army at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium on December 10 to close out their regular season. Navy holds a 14-game winning streak over Army.