Mustang Rally

P.J. Walker continued to show signs of how good he will be at quarterback for the Temple University football team for the next three years and junior Robby Anderson flashed his potential at wide receiver against SMU on Saturday. But the Owls gave up an embarrassing 45 points in the second half and let an early 28-7 lead slip away as the Mustangs won a 59-49 shootout.

P.J. Walker continued to show signs of how good he will be at quarterback for the Temple University football team for the next three years and junior Robby Anderson flashed his potential at wide receiver against SMU on Saturday.

But the Owls gave up an embarrassing 45 points in the second half and let an early 28-7 lead slip away as the Mustangs won a 59-49 shootout.

Walker, a true freshman, completed his first 16 passes and finished 26-of-37 for 293 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for 92 yards and a score. His primary target was Anderson, who caught nine passes for a school-record 239 yards and two touchdowns.

But it wasn't enough on a day when SMU senior and former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw for 538 yards and four touchdowns, while running for 97 yards and two scores. Senior receiver Keenan Holman caught 10 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns, while Der'rik Thompson recorded nine catches for 158 yards and a score.

Walker helped the Owls to the 28-7 lead with flawless play through most of the first half as Temple scored 28 unanswered points. He threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Anderson that tied the game at 7, before Anderson hauled in an 81-yard touchdown from wide receiver and former high school quarterback Jalen Fitzpatrick, who found his teammate all alone behind the defense.

Walker then hit John Christopher and Ryan Alderman for TD passes to take the three-touchdown lead.

Meanwhile, the defense was off to a strong start as well as safety Abdul Smith forced a fumble and recovered another, while linebacker Tyler Matakevich came away with a strip, but once the Owls stopped forcing turnovers they couldn't stop the Mustangs.

A critical facemask penalty turned what would have been a third-and-18 into an SMU first down right before the half, and the Mustangs drove down the field and scored with 46 seconds left to make it a 28-14 game.

Thompson caught a 17-yard pass on third-and-9 that deflected off a teammate as SMU pulled within 28-21 early in the third quarter, but Walker and the Owls answered. Zaire Williams' 50-yard run set up Walker's 6-yard TD scamper that gave Temple a two-touchdown lead.

But the Owls couldn't slow the Mustangs, who scored touchdowns on their next three drives to take a 42-35 lead. Temple didn't go quietly as Walker completed a 49-yard pass to Anderson that set up Kenny Harper's game-tying 4-yard TD run with 11:26 to play.

Deion Sanders Jr. ran the ensuing kickoff back 87 yards to the Temple 8. For the only time in the second half, the defense stiffened, holding the Mustangs to a field goal.

But the Owls were forced to punt and Holman caught a 50-yard TD pass on the next drive with Gilbert adding a 10-yard TD run as SMU scored a touchdown on every second-half drive except for the field goal and the final drive when it kneeled out the clock.

SMU finished with 728 yards of total offense, a record against the Owls and the combined 98 points was the most in a Temple game since 1966. The Owls finished with 593 yards of offense.

Harper added a 2-yard TD run for the Owls in the final minutes, but it was too little too late.

The Owls fell to 1-7 overall and are 0-4 in the American. They will travel to Rutgers, which is also licking its wounds after a 49-14 loss to Houston Saturday, next week.

SMU improved to 3-4, 2-1.

Owls Daily Top Stories