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WOODWARD: Owls nearly perfect in another blowout of ECU

East Carolina Temple Football-5
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Temple wide receiver Sean Ryan (10) catches a touchdown pass against East Carolina defensive back Nolan Johnson during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 in Philadelphia. (Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Monday, October 8, 2018

PHILADELPHIA

Temple was working on a smooth opening drive against East Carolina on Saturday until Anthony Russo overthrew a receiver for an interception to a waiting Corey Seargent. It was the worst throw in the game.

By the end of the first quarter, however, Temple was looking to add to its already double-digit lead as statistics were distributed in the press box. The sheet read that the score was Temple 14, “Eastern Carolina” 0.

Another glaring mistake by the Owls, but the list stops there for noticeable miscues by the Owls on a banner day for them in which they humbled the visiting Pirates with a surprise 49-6 thumping.

Temple was an 11-point favorite, but it ran away with the American Athletic Conference East Division matchup. The 43-point margin of victory was largest ever for Temple over a Football Bowl Subdivision team.

Russo shook off the interception with ease to finish 21-of-25 for 254 yards and four touchdowns. Temple enjoyed a 470-196 advantage in yards.

Even 330-pound defensive lineman Freddie Booth-Lloyd got in on the action, bulldozing to a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:34 remaining to create the final score.

This was previewed as a critical game for the Pirates and a chance for a needed breakthrough for them in the conference.

Instead, they were overwhelmed again by Temple and left in a distant fifth place in the AAC East standings with an 0-2 league record. As the Pirates (2-3 overall) stare at an upcoming slate of facing Houston, UCF and Memphis, teams with a combined 13-3 record, they are grouped with hapless Connecticut (1-5, 0-3) much more than the teams above them in the division.

South Florida is in fourth place at 1-0 in the AAC, the lone win a 20-13 victory over East Carolina.

But it is the most recent outing against Temple that brings back bad memories for the Pirates. They still haven’t beaten the Owls since 1995, and the lopsided score was reminiscent of ECU’s 2016 and ’17 seasons under coach Scottie Montgomery.

In 2017, Temple came to Greenville with a 2-3 overall record and won 34-10 en route to a bowl bid. The Pirates came into that matchup with a 1-4 record, and the loss was part of a three-game losing streak and eventual second straight 3-9 campaign.

Temple is looking to continue its rise in the American. On Saturday, it left the Pirates with a familiar dizzying feeling of walking to their locker room underneath Lincoln Financial Field having just endured a blowout.

Then the final statistics were distributed to the media before postgame interviews. Temple’s staff had fixed the Eastern Carolina reference.

The top line read: Temple 49, ECU 6.

The Owls did just about everything right.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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