I am taking my first stab at a Temple preview so bear with me.
Temple, who comes in at 2-2 overall, will play SMU (2-2) in the season’s first American Athletic Conference Game after a crushing 48-20 win over Charlotte last weekend. This is the first meeting between the two teams at Lincoln Financial Field.
In his 4th season, Temple head coach Matt Rhule will look to lead the Owls to another victory over the conference team, as the Owls won on Nov. 6, 2015, 60-40.
“We are excited to come back and begin conference play and play the SMU Mustangs,” said Rhule in a press conference on Tuesday. “They are a team that you can tell are a very good football team. They had Baylor and TCU at halftime and beat North Texas and Liberty. They are without Matt Davis, who I have a respect for. … They have tremendous receivers. They had a lot of offense. Coach [Chad] Morris is one of the best offensive coordinators in the country. He did it at Clemson and now he is doing it there.”
Temple’s 5-11 senior Quarterback Phillip Walker will try to lead the way for the Owls. Walker is 83-for-109 in passing for 846 yards and five touchdowns while also getting picked five times. Senior 5-10 running back Jahad Thomas, who is averaging 4.1 yards a carry, and sophomore 6-2 wide receiver Marshall Ellick (seven receptions for 87 yards), will look to lead the way for Temple. Senior tight end Romond Deloatch has six receptions on the year for 133 yards and a sack on defense.
“I’m excited to play them,” said Deloatch. “The game went back-and-forth last year, so we are just excited to play them and play Temple football. Our conference is very tough and it can be up and down. We just have to go out there, play Temple football and see how it ends up.”
Sophomore wide receiver Courland Sutton spotlights the SMU offense, as the 6-4, 215 lb. receiver already has four touchdowns on 18 receptions while bringing in 449 from freshman back-up quarterback Ben Hicks. Hicks is 60-for-120 passing for 827 yards and two touchdowns. A mistake on which the Owls should try to capitalize is the fact that Hicks has already thrown seven picks this season.
- During Temple’s last seven seasons, the Owls have a 6-1 record when opening up conference play. During that stretch, Temple has outscored its opponents 211-112 and has averaged 30.1 points per game. Current head coach Matt Rhule has a 2-1 record in conference openers.
- In their two most recent match-ups, Temple and SMU have combined to score over 100 points each time. In 2013, SMU won 59-49 and in 2015 Temple prevailed 60-40. During Matt Rhule’s tenure, that’s the highest PPG his team has scored and highest PPG his team has allowed vs. any opponent.
1- If Jahad Thomas (Temple RB) scores a touchdown, he will move into a tie for third on Temple’s all-time individual touchdown list, where he currently stands in fourth with 24.
2- Austin Jones looks to extend his 14 consecutive field goals made which is tied for second in the FBS.
3- Temple’s DL Shaif Finch is the active leader in punt blocks in the NCAA with five.
4- Temple’s DL Praise Martin-Oguike is currently first among active NCCA players in forced fumbles (9) and tied for third among active players in forced fumbles per game (.24).
5- Kicker Austin Jones needs three points to become fifth on Temple’s all-time scoring list.
Game Media Info:
TV: ESPN News. Play-by-Play- Mike Couzens. Analyst-Dan Hawkins.
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic. Play-by-play-Harry Donohue, Analyst-Paul Palmer, Sideline-Harry Mayes.
Student Radi0: WHIP. Play-by-Play- Greg Frank. Analyst-John Cole.
Live Stats: http://www.sidearmstats.com/temple/football/