The 2-4 Mustangs of Southern Methodist University will host the Temple Owls (1-6) on Saturday October 26 at 3 pm. Both teams currently sit comfortably at the bottom of the American Athletic Conference, but this game should be a fairly competitive contest. Temple and SMU have only faced each other twice in history and the last time the two teams met was around 70 years ago. Both meetings ended in ties.
Temple’s offense is finally starting to blossom under the leadership of freshman PJ Walker. He threw for a career high 203 yards in last week’s game against Army and accounted for two of the Owls touchdowns on plays of 35 plus yards.
The Owls found success in limiting Army’s time of possession, allowing them to jump to an early 33-0 lead. They were able to force four Black Knight turnovers and capitalized by scoring 13 points off of those possession changes.
Their defense faced a one-dimensional offense in Army though, as the Black Knights tend to play a ground and pound style offense rather than air the ball out. Although Temple has a fantastic tackler in linebacker Tyler Matakevich, SMU will pose very different problems that the Owls secondary may not be quite ready for. The Mustangs have been averaging 354.5 yards per game through the air.
Last week, Southern Methodist faced a talented Memphis secondary and found success early and often. After jumping to a 31-3 lead, the Mustangs played conservatively adding only 3 more points in their 34-29 victory.
There is definitely something to be said about the Mustangs allowing Memphis to go on a 26-3 run during the second half of the game and if they allow Temple the same opportunity, it may result in a different fate. Although Owl quarterback PJ Walker is young, he has the ability to create big plays and is only averaging an interception a game in his past three appearances.
The Mustangs definitely have a better offense than the Owls as they have found some success against talented secondaries. If they sit on the brakes for too long, the dynamic playmaking ability of Walker and the Owls effective 2-back rushing system could come back to haunt SMU.
If Temple can manage to keep Garrett Gilbert and his Mustang offense off of the field like they did Army, the Owls have a chance at winning. However, I do think that this will be one of the more sophisticated offenses that Temple has faced thus far, apart from Louisville and Notre Dame. It is not likely that they will have the same success forcing turnovers as they did last week, which should make all the difference.
The Owls offense has just not taken enough snaps together to establish a cohesive rhythm with PJ Walker as the signal caller. The game should be pretty close, but SMU’s passing attack will prove too much for Temple’s secondary to handle.
SMU: 31-Temple: 27