Jacksonville Sports Day

AAC CHAMPIONSHIP: Houston hangs on for title, 24-13 over Temple

By MIKE BONTS
COLLEGE BOWL NEWS

Houston defeated Temple, 24-13, to win the inaugural American Athletic Conference Football Championship. Houston won its 11th conference championship in program history. The Cougars last won a conference title in football in 2006, when they won the Conference USA crown.

Houston improved to 3-0 against ranked teams this season. The Cougars also defeated No. 25 Memphis Nov. 14 and No. 16 Navy Nov. 27. Temple fell to 0-2 against ranked teams. The Owls lost to No. 9 Notre Dame Oct. 31.

Houston has won four American Athletic Conference championships in all sports since the formation of the league in the 2013-14 academic year. In addition to this year’s football title, Houston won American titles in baseball and men’s outdoor track and field in 2013-14 and in men’s indoor track and field in 2014-15.

Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr., who rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 88 yards, was named the first American Athletic Conference Football Championship Most Outstanding Player.

Saturday’s game featured the same two teams that played in the first regular-season American Athletic Conference contest, in the 2013 season. Houston won that game, 22-13 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Houston cornerback William Jackson III had a school-record seven pass breakups – the most by an NCAA FBS player this season. Jackson also broke Houston’s 16-year-old single-season record with 21 pass breakups in 2015.

Safety Trevon Stewart set a Houston record with his ninth career fumble recovery.

Houston recorded its 29th and 30th forced turnovers of the season, good for third nationally behind Arkansas State and San Diego State, which have 31 takeaways each.

Houston is 18-2 all-time with Ward as its starting quarterback.

Temple QB P.J. Walker set the Owls’ single-season passing record (2,736 yards). Walker entered the game 267 yards shy of Henry Burris’ 1994 mark of 2,716 yards. Walker threw for 287 yards and a touchdown against Houston.

Temple wide receiver Robby Anderson has 12 reception for 150 yards – both season-highs for an Owl player.

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