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Deacons hang on to beat Temple in Military Bowl

Temple loses to Wake Forest 34-26 in The Military Bowl

Story By Deborah Leung Pointed Magazine Staff

Photo’s By Benjamin Rogers Pointed Magazine Staff

Quarterback John Wolford completed 10 of 19 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns while running backs Matt Colburn and Cade Carney combined for 135 rushing yards and two scores as the Deacons beat No. 23 Temple 34-26 on Tuesday in the Military Bowl.

Wake Forest (7-6) secured its first winning season as well as its first bowl victory since beating Navy 29-19 at RFK Stadium in the 2008 EagleBank Bowl the predecessor to the Military Bowl.

The Deacons’ victory in front of a crowd of 26,656 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium also ended a skid of 17 straight losses to a ranked opponent dating to a 35-30 win over Florida State in 2011. That streak includes eight in a row while under third-year head coach Dave Clawson.

“It’s not just a one-season deal; it’s a three-year deal,” Clawson said. “To get Wake Forest back to a bowl, to win a bowl championship and finish with a winning season for the first time since ’08 and finish the year by beating a ranked opponent it’s a great feeling.”

Temple, after intercepting Wolford three plays into the game’s opening possession, scored on its first snap when Phillip Walker hit Adonis Jennings for a 48-yard touchdown with 13:33 remaining the first quarter. But two drives later, Wolford found tight end Cam Serigne wide open down the middle for a 41-yard touchdown that tied it a 7.

That started a run of 31 unanswered points by the Deacons that required a total of 30 offensive plays by Wake Forest, including Serigne’s score. Temple didn’t stop the bleeding until Aaron Boumerhi kicked a 45-yard field goal that made it 31-10. Boumerhi’s kick came with four seconds remaining in a first half that saw the Deacons roll up 262 total yards more than their full-game totals in four games this season.

The Owls (10-4) made a run in the first half, scoring twice in the third quarter via another Walker-to-Jennings connection this time from 58 yards  as well as a 24-yard field goal by Boumerhi with 5:13 to play in the third quarter that made it 31-20. Walker finished 28 of 49 for 396 yards and two scores for Temple, with seven of his passes and 154 yards and touchdowns being accounted by Jennings.

But the Owls’ offense was otherwise one-dimensional, as the Deacons held the running back duo of Ryquell Armstead and Jahad Thomas to 36 yards and no touchdowns. Each had rushed for 918 yards while combining for 27 touchdowns coming into the game.

The lack of a running game could go a long way toward explaining Temple’s 1-of-12 effort on third downs.

“We pride ourselves on stopping the run and running the football and we did not run the football well at all,” interim coach Ed Foley of Temple said, citing Wake Forest’s control of the line of scrimmage and the Owls inability to take care of the football.

“That put us in a big hole,” Foley said.

Defensive back Thomas Brown of Wake Forest was named the Military Bowl’s MVP. The senior had seven tackles (three solos), two tackles for loss and a sack while forcing a fumble. He also broke up a pass and had a hit on Walker.

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