The game was less than a minute old and Temple was down by a touchdown. Then the Owls got down to business.

Scoring 35 unanswered points after an opening gaffe, Temple cruised to a 45-20 win Saturday over Southern Methodist in the opening American Athletic Conference game for both teams before 22,401 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Temple (3-2) won't get much time to enjoy this game because the Owls will play Thursday at dangerous Memphis.

As the score indicates, there were many bright spots for the Owls.

Receiver Ventell Bryant, who had been sidelined the previous three games with a shoulder injury, caught a 42-yard scoring pass in stride from Phillip Walker to give Temple a 14-7 lead near the midway point of the first quarter.

Before the season Bryant said he wanted to be a deep threat.

"This was my actual first deep ball in my career," said Bryant, who had two receptions for 43 yards. "It is something I have been working on, and I am glad it paid off."

Sophomore Ryquell Armstead of Millville rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, his first career 100-yard game

"I have been showing little outbursts, but I haven't been breaking the big runs I had in practice," Armstead said. "To finally put in a game like this is wonderful to me."

With Jahad Thomas rushing for 80 yards and two scores on 16 carries, the Owls gained 244 yards rushing (5.4 avg.).

Freshman Isaiah Wright saw his most extensive action as a wildcat quarterback and rushed for 27 yards on six carries.

The Owls had to overcome the loss of one of their top players, junior safety Sean "Champ" Chandler.

"Champ banged up a knee, it could be three weeks, it could be the year. We will kind of wait and see," coach Matt Rhule said.

Redshirt senior Nate L. Smith replaced Chandler and had an interception that led to a touchdown, along with seven tackles.

One negative: Walker threw two interceptions, leading to SMU's first two touchdowns, one directly. Walker has thrown seven picks this season, one fewer than he had in 14 games last year.

"The thing that kept us back today was myself," said Walker, who completed 7 of 18 passes for 124 yards, one touchdown, and the two interceptions. "I played my worst football game since I have been out there, I have to get better and stop overthinking when I am out there and have to go out there and play better."

Temple trailed, 7-0, 55 seconds into the game after SMU's Jordan Wyatt stepped in front of Marshall Ellick to intercept a Walker pass and return it 35 yards for a score.

SMU (2-3) entered the game leading the nation with 10 interceptions.

After that Temple scored the next 35 points and led, 35-14, at halftime.

With Temple leading, 28-7, the defense got into the act when Hasson Reddick, who had two sacks, forced a fumble and tight end-defensive end Romond Deloatch recovered and ran it in for a score from 8 yards out with 11:17 left in the half.

Earlier in the game Deloatch was credited with a 35-yard touchdown reception, but upon review it was determined he was downed on the 1-yard line.

This was the first time Temple had scored a touchdown on offense and defense in the same game since last year's 60-40 win at SMU.

@sjnard