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Q&A with Temple Football Forever

We sit down with Mike Gibson from Temple Football Forever to talk about Owls v. Irish

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Be sure to visit Mike over at Temple Football Forever

  1. This is obviously one of the biggest games in Temple football history - Gameday, Notre Dame coming to town, playing at Lincoln Financial Field; How do you see Matt Rhule and the Owls coming out of the gate in this one? Is it too big of a stage, or will they be playing at another level on Saturday?

Actually, their most important game was last week, and they played a team that had not lost at home all year (and lost by a touchdown at Florida) in front of a near-capacity crowd and came away with a 10-point win. That means they have tie-breaker over the only other two teams who can challenge them in AAC East, Cincy and ECU. They will be playing this game with house money. Pretty loose.

  1. With the thus far undefeated season, what are Owls fans' goals for the rest of the way, specifically the AAC and bowl games?

To quote star running back Jahad Thomas when askeed what would constitute notable accomplishments:

"A conference championship, an undefeated season, a national championship," Thomas duly noted. "Things of that nature." He's swinging for the fences. Why not? If Temple beats Notre Dame and Memphis comes in here and keeps winning it could be in the top 10 by then. Temple then beats Memphis and an unbeaten Houston. They could have two wins over top 10 teams, a possible two-loss Big 10 team, an unbeaten season, it would be hard to keep them out of a four-team playoff with that resume. With all that on the table, why not make it a goal?

  1. Who is one non-star player that ND fans may not know who is going to have a huge game against the Irish on each side of the ball?

Robby Anderson  (19) is as good a wide receiver as there is in college football and really has not broken out yet. He really played only five full games in 2013 (really small parts of four others) and finished with 44 receptions, 744 yards and nine touchdowns. He sat out last season to get his academic house in order. He's had an OK season so far but he is a power keg about to explode. If not this game, a game or two down the road. Defensively, Temple was really hurting at the cornerback position when it last played ND. That no longer is the case as it now as two outstanding ones, Sean Chandler (3) and Tavon Young (1). Young has a knack for doing big things in big games and I suspect he will be the one. You all know about All-American linebacker Tyler Matakevich (8) so he would not qualify as a "non-star."

  1. The advanced statistics show that Temple's defense is truly formidable, with one small blip on the IsoPPP statistic, showing that they have a tendency to give up the big play. Is that a worry against the explosive Irish offense, and how can they keep it from happening Saturday?

The blip on the radar screen was because they had a 34-12 fourth-quarter lead at Cincy and sat on it with a prevent defense, allowing Gunner Kiel (you probably know the name) to get most of his yards in garbage time and plenty of them were big plays so that skewed the stat sheet. DC Phil Snow said that was a big mistake that will not be repeated again.

  1. With a team built on defense, the Owls will still need to score SOME points. Where do you think the Owls will attack the Irish this weekend?

Pretty much the same way they've attacked defenses all season: run the ball behind lead blocks by fullback Nick Sharga (4) in front of Thomas, then bring the LBs and safeties up to the line of scrimmage to support the run defense and throw quick play-action passes over their heads. I'd like them to use some trick plays, but this staff is not big on trick plays.

  1. What's your prediction for the game this weekend, and how do we get there exactly?  Bonus points for GIF usage.

Not good with GIFS, though I find them fascinating. Despite what Mark Packer says, Notre Dame will not take this team "to the woodshed" because they really didn't take the 2013 team to the woodshed and the 2013 team was about 1/10th as good as this one is. While I respect ND, I don't think 2015 ND is 10x better than 2013 ND. This will be something like 21-17, ND.