Who would have thought that Notre Dame would be going to Philadelphia at this point in the season and Temple would be the school that was undefeated.
But, here we are at the end of October and 6-1 Notre Dame travels to play 7-0 Temple. Comparing scores never works, but Notre Dame beat Massachusetts 62-27. while Temple beat them 25-23. That generally means nothing, but always gets a mention.
This Temple Owl team may not be a match for Notre Dame when the smoke clears, but they also might be special. They surprised the nation in their first game by beating Penn State for the first time since 1941. A 39 game win streak for the Penn State Nittany Lions was smashed, 27-10, and the Owls have never looked back.
Elizabeth, New Jersey native Jahad Thomas is a star for the Temple Owls. On the season, Thomas has accumulated 822 yards and 12 Touchdowns.
Thomas ran for 135 yards against Penn State, then 193 yards against Cincinnati. He’s gone over 100 yards in 2 more games and almost surpassed 200 against Central Florida.
Jahad Thomas is not a bigger Running Back like so many others these days, but he is fast and super shifty. If Thomas gets into the open field he is hard to bring down even for a talented team like Notre Dame.
Another outstanding player on the Temple offense is Center Kyle Friend who is one of the best in the country at his position. Supposedly, Friend runs a 4.95 40 yard dash and can bench press the standard 225 an incredible 46 times. Friend is equally effective as a run or pass blocker and extremely hard to get by for a pass rusher.
Receiver Robby Anderson is another danger weapon for Temple having hauled in 31 passes and 5 Touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, Temple is led by outstanding Linebacker Tyler Matakevich. He has led the team in tackles for 4 straight seasons.
Matakevich is all over the field. He is big, strong, fast and very aggressive and he’s a team leader as it’s leading tackler should be. He will be All Conference this season, if not even more.
Are any of these guys good enough to beat Notre Dame?
For every star that Temple can put on the field, the Fighting Irish can put on several.
Temple has Jahad Thomas at Running Back and he is a star, but Notre Dame can counter with C.J. Prosise. A former, Wide Receiver, the 6-1, 220 Prosise was moved to Running Back because of an injury to Tarean Folston and the transfer of Greg Bryant, and he has been incredible.
129 carries has produced 922 yards at an average of 7.15 yards per carry. His most impressive stat my even be his 11 Touchdown runs.
The Temple Owls having Kyle Friend at Center is great, but Notre Dame has an incredible Offensive Line and maybe the best in the country. Led by All American Left Tackle Ronnie Stanley, they also have Center Nick Martin who is so good that another Notre Dame Center Matt Hegarty transferred to Oregon for playing time. Right Tackle Mike McGlinchey and Guards Quenton Nelson and Steve Elmer are just really good.
This is a serious advantage for Notre Dame.
If Rodney Anderson is a good Wide Receiver for the Owls, Notre Dame can counter him with All American Will Fuller, Chris Brown, Amir Carlisle, Torii Hunter Jr and Corey Robinson.
This is another serious advantage for Notre Dame.
Tyler Matakevich is the team leader for the Temple defense, but All American Jaylon Smith is in the same role for the Fighting Irish.
If Matakevich is big, strong and fast, then count Smith as bigger, stronger and faster. He is just one of the better players at any position in America.
But, the entire Fighting Irish defense is loaded with stars even after all of their injuries.
Football fans either love or hate Notre Dame. Temple probably doesn’t have a lot of national fans, I know I have never met one. But, Notre Dame haters are going to be pulling for the Temple Owls and this game could be really interesting.
Notre Dame is favored by 9.5 points and they should eliminate the Temple Owls from the undefeated ranks.
But, things don’t always happen the way they should. This may be Temple’s best team in the history of the school, but beating Notre Dame will still be a tall task and it would be one of the bigger upsets of this decade.
If you aren’t in Philadelphia on Saturday, the game will be televised at 7 PM Central time. This one should be worth a watch.