More than two months into the season, Temple finally suffered a loss – and a tough one at that. Still, the 23rd-ranked Owls have their eyes set on big things as they seek a strong rebound performance Friday against host SMU.
The Owls led late against then-No. 9 Notre Dame before suffering a 24-20 home defeat that stung badly but ultimately kept their primary goal intact. “Our goal is to win a conference championship. And at the end of the day, that game has no effect on that,” Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich told the media this week. “So we will watch the film and see what we did wrong and get it corrected, because we have a short week.” The Owls now must contend with a Mustangs team that has given up 112 points in two games against ranked opponents this season. “We’ve got our work cut out for us this week,” SMU coach Chad Morris said to reporters. “We’ve got an opportunity to play a very, very good football team on a national television stage at home this week. We’ll be prepared.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2.
LINE HISTORY: Books opened the Owls as 14-point road faves, but that has since moved to -12.5. The total is down to 51 from the opening 58.5.
Temple – RB Jahad Thomas (Probable, ribs), DL Jullian Taylor (Out indefinitely, undisclosed), DL Josian Bronson (Out for season, ankle).
SMU – LB Kyran Mitchell (out for season, undisclosed), DB Horace Richards (out for season, undisclosed), OL Daniel McCarty (out for season, knee), WR James Proche (out for season, eligibility), RB Daniel Gresham (out for season, neck), OL Seaver Myers (out for season, undisclosed).
WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for a 19 percent chence of rain and thunderstorms and temperatures in the low 60s.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The Owls are coming off a tough loss to Notre Dame, but they should hang their heads high after giving the Irish a heck of a fight.” Covers Expert Jesse Schule.
ABOUT TEMPLE (7-1 SU, 6-2 ATS, 3-5 O/U): According to coach Matt Rhule, Temple will be without a “number of starters” against SMU, including center Kyle Friend (knee) and perhaps running back Jahad Thomas (ribs). One player who will be on the field is quarterback P.J. Walker, who scuffled to 13-of-30 for 188 yards against the Fighting Irish as his completion percentage decreased for the third straight game. The loss of Thomas would be huge, as he leads the team with 904 rushing yards and 13 TDs – 245 more yards and 10 more rushing TDs than all of his teammates combined.
ABOUT SMU (1-7 SU, 4-4 ATS, 5-3 O/U): The Mustangs’ seven defeats have come to teams with a combined record of 42-15, including three teams that are currently undefeated. Matt Davis leads the team in passing (1,779 yards, 14 TDs, four INTs) and rushing (450 yards, seven TDs), while Courtland Sutton is by far the most dangerous receiver on the squad with team highs of 38 catches, 719 yards and nine scores. Darius Joseph is another vertical weapon and needs four catches to move into third place on the school’s all-time list.
* Owls are 4-1 ATS in their last five conference games.
* Mustangs are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games.
* Under is 7-3 in Owls last 10 games overall.
* Over is 9-2 in Mustangs last 11 games following a ATS loss.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Seventy-one percent of Covers users are backing the Owls.