By Tom Dougherty, CSNPhilly.com
Temple running back Jahad Thomas injured his ribs Saturday night in the No. 21 Owls’ 24-20 loss to No. 9 Notre Dame.
Thomas left the game briefly in the fourth quarter after landing on the ball while being tackled. Thomas returned, but said he’s “going to be pretty banged up” on Sunday.
“I am not 100 percent,” he said. “I don’t think no one in the country is 100 percent. This is Week 8, Week 9 for everybody.
“I’m a little banged up, but like I said, everyone is. I just have to get the proper treatments and try to get as close to 100 percent for next week.”
The junior gained 82 yards on 21 carries against the Fighting Irish with a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 17. It was his 13th rushing TD of the season.
With Notre Dame leading 17-10 with 10:51 left in the game, Temple faced a 4th-and-1 on the ND 1-yard line after the Irish stopped the Owls on three straight goal-line runs.
Instead of taking three points and trusting its defense, TU went for seven and Thomas punched it in on a toss after a timeout.
Head coach Matt Rhule said after the game the playcall was a run-pass option and credited offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield on the call.
“I thought (tight end) Sal Major made a great block and Jahad made a great cut,” Rhule said of the TD.
“A couple of guys made some big plays on that drive, but Jahad again showed you that he’s a big time player. I’m really proud of Jahad and the maturity he showed.”
In the second quarter with TU on its own 11-yard line, Thomas broke off a 39-yard run on a 1st-and-5 to get the Owls to the 50-yard line. His run helped set up Brandon Shippen’s 12-yard TD catch that capped of an eight-play, 94-yard drive for the Owls’ longest scoring TD drive of the season.
Thomas also nearly broke a long run in the first quarter, too, but was tripped up for an 8-yard run. He burst through a hole on the left side of the offensive line, but an Irish defender was able to impede his momentum that led to him getting tackled at the TU 39-yard line. The Owls punted three plays later.
Against ND, Temple finished with 295 yards of total offense with 107 rushing yards. Quarterback P.J. Walker added 38 yards on six carries with a few double-digit runs.
In all, the Owls’ offense had its chances against the Irish, but once again was haunted by some mistakes.
Thomas had a drop on a 3rd-and-1 in the fourth that led to a field goal that pushed TU to a 20-17 lead. Wideout Ventell Bryant had a drop in the end zone on a good throw from Walker.
“I think they did some good things on the offensive side of the ball,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. “I don’t want to take anything away from the quarterback, the running back and the receivers went up and got the football. They played very, very well.”
Bryant, a freshman, didn’t finish the game against the Irish after landing hard in the fourth quarter. The wide receiver said he lost consciousness.
“I fell down on my head, blacked out a little bit,” Bryant said.
Despite his end-zone drop in the fourth quarter, Bryant was Walker’s favorite target on Saturday night. He finished with six catches for 91 yards with a long of 28.
Center Kyle Friend also was banged up. Friend needed help off the field in the first half, grabbing his right knee but played through the pain. There was no update on him after the game.
As for Thomas, he said waking up on Sunday morning was “definitely going to suck,” both from a health viewpoint and waking up after a tough four-point defeat on national TV.
“It’s definitely going to hurt,” he said. “But we’re on to the next opponent. SMU, another conference game, another chance to go out there and play another AAC opponent.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE: See the story on CSNPhilly.com)