Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich and running back Jahad Thomas received honors from the American Athletic Conference for the second straight week. (USA Today Images)
It’s another Temple Throw-Forward Thursday as the Temple Owls travel to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro Mass to face the UMass Minutemen for the inaugural time. Temple is coming off their heart-stopping upset win over Cincinnati 34-26 (see my recap TEMPLE OWLS HOLD ON TO BEAT CINCINNATI 34-26 ), while UMass suffered an opening day loss in Colorado to the Buffaloes 48-14.
The Owls defense lead by b2b AAC Defensive Player of the week Tyler Matakevich, will face Umass QB Blake Frohnaphel who last season threw for over 3,300 yards and 23 touchdowns in 10 games, often hooking up w/ senior wide receiver Tajae Sharpe, who caught 85 catches for 1,281 yards last season. On the ground the Minutemen go to 3 time 100+ yd rusher in 2014, junior Shadrack Abrokwah.
For Temple, AAC Special Teams Player of the Week, Jahad Thomas looks to build on his 135, and 193 yard rushing days to start 2015, and QB P. J. Walker will try to keep sharing the wealth – he hit 7 different receivers on 15 passes in the Penn State game – while keeping his run option in the balance. The Owls D would like to tighten up some of the loose play last week that allowed Cincinnati to keep coming back, so Matakevich along w/ co-leader Matt Ioannidis will motivate their teammates to add to their ACC leading 11 sacks, as well as the 4 ints., and 3 forced fumbles they had last week.
Buoyed by their two upset wins to start the season, Temple finished 26th in the latest AP Poll, just 10 points away from #25 Oklahoma State. Their last national ranking was at the end of the 1979 season when they finished 10-2 and were #17 in the country.
Even though they are used to playing in an NFL stadium @ home, this is their 1st road game on a Pro field since they played Minnesota inside the Metrodome in 2006. A win here would be their 1st road win in an active NFL stadium.
Win this week and it will be the 1st 3-0 start since 2010 and the 1st b2b road wins since ’09.
At this writing they are favored by 9-10 points so it remains to be seen how they play as front runners and avoid a letdown the week b/4 a bye and go a long way to proving this team is for real in 2015.
TEMPLE at UMASS
9.19.2015 | 3 pm ET
Radio: 97.5 FM – The Fanatic