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Temple's Matakevich Named AAC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 1

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Tyler Matakevich wrecked house Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field and was rewarded for his efforts in the win.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Temple's Tyler Matakevich accumulated seven tackles and three sacks in the Owls' historic victory Saturday against Penn State and was named the AAC Defensive Player of the Week.

Matakevich came into the 2015 as the nation's leading tackler with 355 total, but displayed agility on blitzes against the Nittany Lions. He had enough strength to wrap up QB Christian Hackenberg while was evidently fiery on the field in an attempt to get Temple's crowd back into the game after being down by 10 points. Redemption, per Matakevich after the win Saturday, fueled his performance:

"I said it last year. I said that we were a good team, we're just coming up short. That was such a great team and I stuck with it. We're the same kids - just bigger, faster and smarter - and it's starting to pay off. These coaches are doing a great job and we're just literally doing what they're telling us."

Matakevich said he hopes to get to a bowl game and compete for championships. He's one step closer to clinching his goals and getting Temple back to a bowl game. Tailback Jahad Thomas also made the Player of the Week Honor Roll for the opening week as Temple was the only team with two players to make the list.

Thomas was named the starting running back earlier in the week and responded when given the opportunity. His 135 yards on the ground on 29 carries was a game-high and he had two rushing touchdowns for Temple.

Both were arguably the top players on their respective units and are viable candidates to make the All-AAC team at the end of the season while contributing to a breakthrough campaign for the Owls.