NOT SHOCKINGLY, Temple senior linebacker Tyler Matakevich, has been named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
"It's quite an honor," he said. "(But) I'm prouder that Temple had more all-conference selections than any single award I received."
The 20th-ranked Owls (10-2), who will play at No. 17 Houston (11-1) on Saturday afternoon in the inaugural AAC title game, had six others make first-team all-conference. As Matakevich said, that was the most for any team. He was the only unanimous choice.
Joining him were senior center Kyle Friend, who will play against Houston after missing several games with a leg injury, senior guard Eric Lofton, junior running back Jahad Thomas, redshirt senior defensive lineman Nate D. Smith, senior defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis and senior safety Alex Wells.
The Owls will in a bowl for the first time in four seasons. If they beat Houston, they mostly likely be in a New Year's game, either the Peach on Dec. 31 or Fiesta the following day.