The #23 Temple Owls were looking to avoid the dreaded trap game against SMU. After coming away with an emotional loss to Notre Dame, the question was how would the team react against the 1 – 8 Mustangs? The Owls had a short week to prepare, a road game, emotions, and injures to contend with. The Cherry and White didn’t step into the trap and won 60 – 40 in a wild one in Dallas. Quarterback P.J. Walker led the offense with five touchdowns, four through the air and one rushing. The Owls (8 – 1, 5 – 0) remain undefeated in conference play.
In a contest the offense needed to help the defense, the Cherry and White used balance rushing for 268 yards and passing for 268 yards. There were new faces in the lineup as center Kyle Friend has his streak of starts snapped at 41. Even though the line was a little different, it did not matter to running back Jager Gardner, starting in place of Jahad Thomas. He ripped off a 94-yard touchdown run on the game’s second play. It was the longest touchdown run in school history as he hit the hole created by Brian Carter and Eric Lofton. Later in the opening quarter the Owls made it 14 – 0 as Walker hit wide receiver Robby Anderson for a 6-yard scoring pass and a 14 – 0 lead.
SMU would score 17 straight points to take the lead. Temple answered when Walker threw his second touchdown pass, a 16-yard strike to Romond Deloach resulting in a 21 – 17 halftime lead.
The Owls outscored the Mustangs 17 – 7 in the third quarter. Later in the period Thomas scored his 16th touchdown of the year which tied Bernard Pierce for 2nd place on the school list for touchdowns in a season. The teams would trade scores with the Cherry and White ending the scoring with a 36-yard scoring run by Walker and a 41-yard interception return by defensive back Sean Chandler.
Walker also threw scoring tosses to Ventell Bryant and Adonis Jennings, and completed passes to 10 different receivers. Gardner ran for 110 yards, Walker added 49 on the ground. Thomas had 15 carries for 66 yards. SMU quarterback Matt Davis threw for 167 yards and and a score, and ran for 102 crossing the line once.
This was the third time Temple scored 60 or more points in a game. They travel to Florida for a Saturday game against the USF Bulls.
Written By: Glenn Papazian