Temple improved by four wins in Matt Rhule’s second season with the Owls, going from 2-10 to 6-6. Temple has 19 returning starters from last season — the most of any American Athletic Conference team. The Owls will play home games against Penn State and Notre Dame during the nonconference portion of its schedule.
QB P.J. Walker enters his third year as the Owls’ starting signal-caller. Walker threw for 2,317 yards last season, good for second on Temple’s single-season chart. RB Jahad Thomas rushed for a team-high 384 yards on 80 carries and had 364 yards on 14 receptions after making the transition from the defensive backfield. RB Zaire Williams, who rushed for 517 yards in 2013, returns after redshirting last season. C Kyle Friend, who has made 33 consecutive starts, anchors an offensive line which returns four starters from last year. The Owls are relatively inexperience at wide receiver. WR John Christopher, who had 24 receptions for 194 yards last season, is the top returning player.
Temple returns 10 starters from a defense that ranked fourth nationally in scoring last season (17.5 ppg). LB Tyler Matakevich enters his senior year with 355 career tackles and is the only active Division I player with at least 300 career stops. Matakevich could become the seventh FBS player to register four seasons with at least 100 tackles. CB Tavon Young led the American Athletic Conference with 153 yards on interception returns last season. Young had four interceptions, which ranked sixth in the conference. The Owls held seven of their 12 opponents to 16 points or fewer in 2014.
K Austin Jones hit 13 of 22 field goal attempts (59.1 percent) and was perfect on PATs as a freshman. P Alex Starzyk averaged 38.4 yards per punt. The Owls blocked five kicks in 2014, leading The American. Temple led the American Athletic Conference in punt return average (12.3 ypr).