After a historic 5-0 start, the Mustangs earned a much-needed bye week to prepare for a tough matchup versus the Owls (5-1, 2-0 AAC). Meanwhile, Temple pulled off another upset last week, earning them some national attention. While the Owls are still unranked in the AP polls, they earned No. 25 ranking in the current USA Today polls, marking the first time Temple has been ranked since the 2016 season. Can the Owls continue their success against ranked opponents with another upset on the road against SMU on Saturday?
Russo has best game of the year in upset vs. No.23-MemphisTemple pushed their current win streak to three games last week with an impressive 30-28 win over No. 23-ranked Memphis. Anthony Russo threw two touchdown passes and Temple took advantage of four Tigers’ turnovers to pull off the unlikely upset, but they were also aided by a timely review by the officials. Memphis had a late drive stall late in the fourth quarter after a controversial replay review overturned a called catch on the field on a 4th-and-9 play. While there was no clear view that the ball hit the ground, the ruling on the field was overturned and the AAC defended the call afterwards, which could impact Memphis’ New Year’s Six bowl game hopes. Senior running back Jager Gardner finished with 77 yards and a touchdown, while junior receiver Branden Mack added nine catches for 125 yards and a score to help pace the Owls on offense. As a result, the Owls remained tied with Cincinnati atop the AAC East division with a 2-0 record, setting up this week’s matchup against the fellow first-place Mustangs, who are also tied atop the West Division with a 2-0 record.
Temple answers Maryland's touchdown, as Anthony Russo hooks up with Jadan Blue on a fade route for a touchdown. Blue with the YAC after getting leverage. Temple leads 13-9 after an unsuccessful two-point conversion. pic.twitter.com/r36fpjajj3— Jake Hyman (@RealJakeHyman) September 14, 2019
Russo is fresh off one of his best games of the season and he is now 2-0 versus top-25 opponents. He did not throw an interception for the first time all season in last week’s win over Memphis and he completed a healthy 60.6 percent of his passes -- the highest mark he’s posted since the season opener against Bucknell. With Russo under center this season, the Owls are scoring a healthy 29.8 points per game. Temple is averaging 446.5 yards of total offense, including 280.8 passing yards per contest.
On defense, the Owls have limited opponents to just 19 points per game and 325.7 yards of total offense. Despite their 5-1 overall record, the Owls are actually -2 in turnover margin so far this season. Ball security and generating takeaways will be a point of emphasis once again this week, especially after the defense forced four turnovers last week.
Buechele leads SMU to first 6-0 start since 1982SMU won its last game against Tulsa in miraculous fashion, staving off an upset with a 21-point fourth quarter to force overtime in an eventual 43-37 triple-overtime victory. Down 30-9 at the start of the fourth quarter, Buechele led the Mustangs on five touchdown drives from that point on, capped off by a 25-yard touchdown strike to James Proche to send SMU to 6-0 for the first time since 1982. Buechele finished with 280 yards passing and two touchdowns, while Proche added 11 receptions for 153 yards and two scores in the win.
Shane Buechele greeting people after the game. pic.twitter.com/qEgqMjaAmP— Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) October 6, 2019
Led by Buechele, the Mustangs come in scoring 44.1 points per game, sixth among FBS schools. The 6-foot-1, Texas-transfer has been a major reason for the Mustangs’ resurgence this season. Buechele has thrown for 1,665 yards, 12 touchdowns and only five interceptions so far this season, while completing 67 percent of his passes. He improved to 3-0 at SMU in one-possession games with last week’s win over Tulsa, but will be up against a tough Temple defense that is allowing less than 200 yards per game through the air.
On defense, SMU comes in allowing 28.3 points and 386.3 total yards per game. They will need to find a way to stop Owls’ freshman running back Re’Mahn Davis, who already has 575 yards and four scores this season. After a slow start, Davis has racked up 52 carries over the last two weeks, while totaling over 200 yards on the ground during that span.
- Owls are 37-14 ATS in their last 51 conference games.
- Owls are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games.
- Owls are 41-20 ATS in their last 61 games overall.
- Mustangs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Mustangs are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Mustangs are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.