Wake Forest wins Military Bowl by topping No. 24 Temple, 34-26
Dec 27, 2016 10:03PM ● Published by Jake Russell
Gallery: 2016 Military Bowl - Photos by Jake Russell [26 Images] Click any image to expand.
The last time the Temple Owls were in Annapolis, they were hoisting the American Athletic Conference Championship trophy after routing the Navy Midshipmen on their home turf. On Tuesday, they hoped history would repeat itself as the Owls took on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the 2016 Military Bowl.
Riding a seven-game winning streak and a defense that ranks in the top 10 in yards and points allowed per game, No. 24 Temple asserted itself early. The Owls picked off Demon Deacons quarterback John Wolford in the first two minutes of the game and scored on the next play thanks to a 48-yard strike from AAC Championship MVP Phillip Walker to wide receiver Adonis Jennings.
That was the last sign of life from Temple's offense until the second half. Wake Forest put on a show by outscoring Temple 31-3 to close out the half.
After Wolford left the game with a neck strain on the first drive of the second half, Wake Forest's offense stalled as Temple mounted a comeback. Wake Forest's first-half offensive outburst was enough to survive Temple's 16 second-half points, which cut Wake Forest's lead to five with less than four minutes to play.
An 80-yard kickoff return by Wake Forest's John Armstrong led to a 30-yard field goal with just under two minutes, giving the Demon Deacons a nine-point lead and sealing the victory after coming into the game as 11-point underdogs.
The Demon Deacons defense contained Walker, sacking him four times and holding the Temple offense to -20 rushing yards. Wake Forest linebacker Thomas Brown was named the Military Bowl MVP after posting seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one pass defended and a forced fumble.
The win marked the first bowl victory for Wake Forest (7-6) since beating Navy in the 2008 EagleBank Bowl (later renamed the Military Bowl) at R.F.K. Stadium. It also helped ease the talk of the infamous "Wakey Leaks" scandal surrounding former broadcaster Tommy Elrod, who leaked game plan information to at least three Wake Forest opponents.
For Temple (10-4), the loss was a disappointing end to an otherwise remarkable season that saw head coach Matt Rhule take the same position at Baylor. The Owls open their 2017 season on the road against Notre Dame.