How it Happened
Temple jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead late in the first quarter and looked like it would cruise to a win. SMU didn't fold and scored two touchdowns in the second quarter to take a breif 17-14 lead. But the Owls marched down the field to take a 21-17 lead with 17 seconds left. SMU appeared to have Temple stopped to open the second half, but Tyler Mayes' 8-yard run on a fake punt set up a touchdown from P.J. Walker to Adonis Jennings that kept the momentum with Temple. The Owls were in a great spot with 9:17 to go, up 45-31 with SMU punting, but SMU downed Josh Williams' punt at the 1-yard line. Three plays later, SMU picked up a safety when Temple was flagged for holding in the endzone on a punt. Braeden West returned the ensuing free kick for a touchdown to make it 45-40, but the Owls' defense stood tall and stopped SMU on 4th and four with 2:41 to go. They added a 36-yard scramble from Walker and a 41-yard pick-6 from Shawn Chandler to ice it.
What it Means
SMU should be pretty happy it put 40 points on the AAC's best defense. The offense played one of its more consistent games after starting slowly and stuck to the run game despite the early struggles. The offense took care of the ball for the most part, but still made a critical error when Davis fumbled inside his own 20. The most important takeaway is that SMU faced adversity and didn't fold, even though it ultimately lost the game. The defense didn't quit after two early touchdowns. It forced a field goal after Davis' fumble. SMU could have hung it up after the 75-yard touchdown pass to Ventell Bryant, but it still played hard and gave a very good team a scare.
Player of the Game
Zach Wood. The senior had 2.5 tackles for loss and got repeated disruption in the first half. He and his defensive line mates played hard and threw Temple's offense out of rhythm after its two early touchdowns, which helped SMU get back in the game. The Owls offense got going again in the second half, but the defense made just enough plays to keep it close.
Courtland Sutton only registered two catches for 29 yards, but drew three pass interference penalties that kept drives going. Even when he's not catching the ball, he can affect the outcome of a play or a drive. He also completed a 45-yard pass to Braeden West on a trick play.
SMU travels to Annapolis, Md. to take on the 6-1 Navy Midshipmen. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. CT.