ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Phillip Walker threw two touchdown passes, Temple's defense stuffed Navy's running game and the Owls claimed their first American Athletic Conference title with a 34-10 victory Saturday.
After Temple (10-3) scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, protecting the 21-0 lead became substantially easier when No. 19 Navy (9-3, No. 20 AP) lost standout quarterback Will Worth to a second-quarter ankle injury.
Although the defeat took Navy out of the running for the Cotton Bowl, the Midshipmen are expected to play in the Armed Forces Bowl after facing Army next Saturday.
The Owls extended their winning streak to seven and earned their first league title since finishing atop the Middle American Conference in 1967.
"It showed we have a really good team that is capable of doing a lot of good things," said Walker, who went 16 for 25 for 199 yards.
Temple lost to Houston in last year's AAC Championship game. This time, the Owls dominated from the outset.
Not only did Temple open with TD drives of 75, 59 and 70 yards, but the defense quashed a Navy attack that was averaging 61 points over its previous three games.
"They just played better. It wasn't a magic wand," Niumatalolo said. "They just hit us in the mouth and we hadn't been hit in the mouth for a long time. Normally, we hit other people in the mouth. To Temple's credit, they hit us in the mouth. We were dazed the whole game. It's like they hit us with an overhand right."
The Midshipmen had scored on 34 of 38 drives -- including 33 touchdowns -- before being denied on their first three possessions by Temple. Worth was injured at the end of the third drive and did not return.
That spelled doom for an offense that produced more than 500 yards in each of its last three games. Navy finished with 306 yards, 168 on the ground.
Backup quarterback Zach Abey went 7 for 13 for 104 yards and two interceptions.
"I missed some reads, wish I had some plays back," he said.
The result was the end of Navy's 15-game home winning streak.
Temple took the suspense out of the game with an early show of offensive firepower. After Walker completed a 13-yard pass for Keith Kirkwood on fourth-and-7 from the Navy 28, Jahad Thomas ran for a 15-yard score.
A 22-yard touchdown pass to Ventell Bryant made it 14-0, and Walker followed a Navy turnover with a perfectly thrown long pass that Kirkwood caught in stride for a 56-yard score.
The injury to Worth occurred on Navy's next possession.
"They just played better than we did," Niumatalolo said. "It wasn't schematic. They just beat the crap out of us."
After falling behind 24-3 at halftime, the Midshipmen got a 47-yard run from Abey during a drive late in the third quarter that ended with the quarterback scoring from the Temple 1.
A 42-yard field goal by Aaron Boumerhi with 10:17 left ended any hope of a Navy comeback.
Temple: The Owls played exceptionally well in proving to be a worthy conference champion. Even before the injuries to Navy's backfield, Temple's defense successfully tackled the challenge of slowing down Navy's formidable offense.
Navy: The Midshipmen had it all going for them: Momentum on offense, home-field advantage and the incentive of playing in the Cotton Bowl. But Navy wasn't sharp enough to put a dent in a Temple defense that had allowed a total of 10 points in its previous three games.
Temple: The Owls expect to learn their bowl destination on Sunday.
Navy: The annual Army-Navy game will be held in Baltimore on Saturday. The Midshipmen will be looking for their 15th straight win in the series.