Entering its 2014 home finale at Lincon Financial Field on Nov. 29, Temple had dropped four of its last five, still one win short of bowl eligibility with two games remaining. The visiting Cincinnati Bearcats arrived on a five-game winning streak. This contest represented Temple’s senior day, recognizing the eight seniors on the Owls’ roster. Those eight seniors could be the first graduating class in Temple history to win multiple bowl games if the Owls are bowl-eligible and receive bowl selection.
Approximately three hours before kickoff, Temple faithful swarmed the parking lot with trailers, trucks and tents grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, and four of the tailgating groups provided beanbag tosses and Connect Four. Gates allowed spectators to pass through security 75 minutes before kickoff, and the first 3,000 spectators received a pair of Temple winter gloves sponsored by Jack Frost Big Boulder.
Cincinnati (8-3), outscored by 3-0 in the second half, used a seven-minute drive near the end of the fourth quarter to defeat Temple, 14-6, with temperatures in the mid-30s. The Owls (5-6) tallied their lone second-half scoring drive on a third quarter Austin Jones field goal and then recovered a Cincinnati fumble on the ensuing kickoff at the Bearcats’ 17, but Jones’ 20-yard field goal attempt on that drive sailed right. A defensive pass interferance by Temple within the final two minutes of the fourth quarter resulted in an automatic Bearcats first down and the Owls received the ball with 14 second remaining but couldn’t pass the Temple 20-yard line.
In the first quarter, the Owls found the scoreboard first on Jones 27-yard field goal on their third drive for a 3-0 lead. However, in the second quarter, Owls sophomore quarterback P.J. Walker on a quarterback keeper dropped the ball as be fell at Temple’s 11-yard line and the Bearcats recovered. The Bearcats then rushed into the end zone and and tacked on a symmetrically-kicked extra point to assume a 7-3 advantage. Cincinnati with 28 seconds remaining in the second quarter tiptoed into the end zone on a first and goal from the Owls’ one yard line and kicked the point after to increase the Bearcats’ advantage to 14-3 entering halftime. Referees threw one flag in the first half, a run into the kicker penalty in the second quarter against Temple.
Cincinnati called heads on the pre-game coin toss and matched the Bearcats’ call, electing to receive first in the second half.
The Owls have been bowl eligible six times before 2014 (1935, 1979, 1990, 2009, 2010 and 2011). Temple had participated in four bowls, facing defeat in the 1935 Sugar Bowl vs. Tulane and 2009 Eagle Bank Bowl vs. UCLA, and held the trophy in the 1979 Garden State Bowl vs. California and 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl vs. Wyoming. Temple’s past rosters included 157 players who played professionally after college and 13 of them participated in the Super Bowl.
Temple is scheduled to visit Tulane next weekend in Louisiana to end the 2014 NCAA Division 1 regular season. The Owls didn’t record a touch down against the Bearcats, the first 2014 game Temple failed to reach the end zone.