Temple heads to Texas for Saturday showdown with SMU

Matt Leon
October 14, 2019 - 4:17 pm
Sep 28, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls running back Re'Mahn Davis (20) runs with the ball for a touchdown during the second quarter of the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Lincoln Financial Field.

Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) —  The Temple Owls have another tough game on tap Saturday as they head down to Dallas to visit #19 Southern Methodist University in American Athletic Conference action.

The Owls improved to 5-1 (2-0 in AAC) this past weekend with a 30-28 win over the University of Memphis. Temple ran out to a 16-0 lead in this one and held on at the end, forcing four Memphis turnovers along the way.

"We won the turnover battle and we won the rushing battle and usually when you do that, good things happen," Temple head coach Rod Carey told KYW Newsradio. "Would've liked to have seen us get more points with those early turnovers and I think it might not have been such a nail biter at the end."

Redshirt senior running back Jager Gardner led that Temple rushing attack with 77 yards and a score. Redshirt junior quarterback Anthony Russo threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns. 

One of those scores went to redshirt junior Branden Mack, who finished with nine receptions for 125 yards and the touchdown.

The Owls have turned a lot of heads this season with their strong play. In fact, this week they are ranked for the first time this season, coming in at #25 in the Coaches Poll. 

It's news that Carey takes in stride.

"A friend of mine told me (Sunday) night we got ranked," he said. "You know, we were working. We addressed it with the team. The number is nice, it's flattering, we're happy, but it has nothing to do once we kick that ball off on Saturday."

And on Saturday, the Owls will face an SMU team that is rolling. 

The Mustangs are 6-0 (2-0 AAC) and coming off a wild, triple-overtime win over the University of Tulsa. It was a game SMU trailed 30-9 in the fourth quarter. 

The Mustangs offense leads the way as SMU has scored at least 37 points in every game this season.

"They are really balanced, run and pass," Carey said of the Mustangs. "They have a quarterback (junior Shane Buechele) playing at a high level, good running back (senior Xavier Jones) and two outstanding wide receivers (senior James Proche & junior Reggie Roberson Jr.) that really make them an explosive offense. And an offensive line, obviously, that's moving people for the run game. It's a really good offense and going down there we're going to have to really button up defensively and keep things in front of us."

Buechele is completing 67 percent of his passes this season and he has thrown 12 touchdowns. Jones has rushed for 646 yards and 12 scores. Proche leads the team with 45 catches and seven touchdown receptions while Roberson is tops in receiving yardage with 545 (on 34 catches with three scores).

Temple hasn't played SMU since 2016, when the Owls picked up a 45-20 win at the Linc.

Saturday's game down in Dallas gets underway at 3:30 p.m.  

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060