This is a big week for Tulane, as Curtis Johnson's team will get a chance to see if the confidence it gained from back-to-back wins over Maine and UCF pays off. On Saturday the Green Wave travel to Philadelphia to face the undefeated Temple Owls inside Lincoln Financial Field.
What a better way to get to know about Temple than to trade questions with Jake Hyman, who covers the Owls for Underdog Dynasty.
Tyler Mayforth: Which one of Temple's four wins taught you the most about what kind of team the Owls could be in 2015? What specifically stood out to you in that game to lead you to that answer?
Jake Hyman: Their game against Cincinnati reflected their pension to create turnovers and was a signifying win proving they can handle some of the best teams in the AAC. They wouldn't replicate the 10 sacks against Penn State, but Temple's defense is an opportunistic unit. Picking off Gunner Kiel four times is a daunting task and they found a way to do so.
TM: Jahad Thomas is a treat to watch. What many people probably don't know about Thomas is that he was a converted defensive back. What has Thomas done in two years to become one of the best running backs in the conference?
JH: He's been patient in the transition to starter. He was injured at the start of last season and had to split time with Kenny Harper. Now he's developed into one of the best tailback's in the conference waiting his turn and having arguably one of the best O-Line's to work with in recent years. They're getting him the holes he needs to display his burst and shiftiness. He's talented, but here in Philadelphia you need a good O-Line to establish the run (looking at you Eagles).
TM: Game plan against Temple for one second. How do you beat the Owls?
JH: Get after Walker. Temple has struggled with sustaining drives over the past year and has the tendency to stall. If you can put the Owls defense on the field for a long time, you have a better chance of wearing them down. Also, stop the run and handle the long pass plays. Walker's a dynamic quarterback, but throwing many times in a game isn't Temple's ideal scenario.
TM: From what it looks like, Temple's schedule sets up quite nicely. The Owls don't have another test until Halloween against Notre Dame. After that, it could be smooth sailing until the AAC Championship Game. Do you think this has the makings of a special season for Temple?
JH: It's definitely setting up to be one of the most memorable Temple seasons in a long time, but this a freight train that can be stopped on a dime. If Matt Rhule gets his team ready to compete every week and not overlooking the teams they should defeat, Temple could be undefeated when they face Notre Dame. It's anyone's guess how they 'll fare on Halloween and the rest of the season.
TM: How much does Temple win by? At what stage does this game become a rout?
JH: It won't be a rout. Matt Rhule has stated he wants to play an efficient and close game then a blowout. Last week was a display of a stagnant Charlotte offense that led to the 37-3 win. Tulane is a more formidable team on both sides of the ball. Temple will win 31-14, but won't pull away until late as my prediction.