Temple kicks off conference play with a crushing defeat over SMU

SMU v Temple

After going 2-2 in non-conference play, the Temple Owls opened their 2016 AAC campaign with an impressive 45-20 victory over the SMU Mustangs.

Temple’s offense did not get off to a hot start against the Mustangs. On their first drive of the game, quarterback Phillip Walker threw his third interception of the season to SMU’s Jordan Wyatt who took the pick to the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown.

Their second drive ended in a 3-and-out, however a Temple punt hit an SMU player, giving Temple the ball back in SMU territory. The Owls took advantage with a 12-yard touchdown run by running back Jahad Thomas.

The Owls’ next drive saw a more confident offense as Walker and receiver Ventell Bryant connected on a 42-yard touchdown on a single-play drive.

Temple’s defense got into the mix late in the first quarter as defensive back Nate L. Smith picked off SMU’s Ben Hicks. A 34-yard completion from Walker to receiver Romond Deloatch would set up a one-yard touchdown run by running back Ryquell Armstead.

The Owls continued to dominate through the second quarter, first with a 15-yard Thomas touchdown run. Then the defense put points on the board when a sack and forced fumble by lineman Haasan Reddick was scooped up and ran in for a touchdown by Deloatch.

The last time Temple scored both an offensive and defensive touchdown in the same game was on Nov. 6 2015, also against SMU.

Later in the first half, Walker would throw his second interception of the game, this time to defensive back Horace Richardson. SMU took advantage with a 13-yard touchdown strike from Hicks to receiver Jeremiah Gaines on a 4th and 5 conversion attempt.

Just before the half, Temple’s defense continued to get pressure on Hicks, first with a forced fumble by Reddick for his second of the game, followed by an interception by linebacker Jared Folks.

After a relatively quiet third quarter which only saw a 30-yard field goal by Temple’s Austin Jones, SMU started an attempt to climb back into the game with a 15-yard touchdown connection from Hicks to receiver James Proche.

The Owls would immediately answer with a 37-yard touchdown run by Armstead for his second of the day, and ride into the victory.

Temple will continue conference play next Thursday when they travel to take on the Memphis Tigers. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

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