In this series we will look at the Black Knights football opponents for the 2016 season. Today the school we are looking at is Temple.
Date/time/location/TV: September 2, 7:00pm EST, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa., CBS Sports Net
2015 Record: 10-4 (7-1 The American). Lost AAC Title Game (13-24, Houston). Lost Boca Raton Bowl (17-32, Toledo).
Head Coach: Matt Rhule. Fourth year at Temple (18-20).
Series History: Temple leads 7-4.
Last Meeting: The last meeting between the two teams saw the first win of Matt Rhule's coaching career. Temple beat Army 33-14 on October 19, 2013.
Top Returners: QB P.J. Walker (Sr.) 2,973 yards passing and 21 total touchdowns in 2015. RB Jahad Thomas (Sr.) 17 rushing touchdowns in 2015. LT Dion Dawkins (Sr.) 26 career starts. DE Haason Reddick and Praise Martin-Oguike, combined for 21.5 TFLs and 9 sacks.
Key Losses: LB Tyler Matakevich, 138 tackles last season, Bednarick and Nagurski award winner. C Kyle Friend, RT Eric Lofton, and LG Shahbaz Ahmed, 95 career starts combined.
What You Need To Know: Temple has been known over the past few years for having a hard-nosed, ball-hawking defense that always kept them in games. This year though it might be the offense that is the star of the show in Philadelphia.
The Owls return all but two starters from last season on offense and in dual-threat QB P.J. Walker and explosive RB Jahad Thomas they have two players with serious breakout potential. Thomas in particular is a player who can change a game in an instant and in 2015 he averaged nearly three 10-yard runs and one 20-plus run per game. In the open field Thomas is a nightmare and if he can transition that flash to between the tackles work he looks good for over 20 rushing touchdowns this fall.
The loss of LB Tyler Matakevich on defense cannot be underestimated. The phrase All-World gets thrown around too often, but winning the Bednarick award while at Temple should show just how important Matakevich was to the team. The returning defensive ends are both outstanding, so the pass rush will be fine, but the leadership void that has been left my the school's all-time leading career tackler (493) will not be easy to fill.
2015 Stats That Matter (FCS): Total offense, 67th; Defensive efficiency, 22nd.
Fun Fact: Temple played in the first ever Sugar Bawl Game.
Famous Alumni: Bill Cosby (Comedian), Hall and Oates (Musicians), James West (Inventor).