Last November, Temple faced Southern Methodist in a perfect letdown-type football game and the Owls did let down, at least on the defensive end.

But when the Owls face SMU on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field to begin their American Athletic Conference schedule, the situation will be different.

This year both teams are 2-2. In the last meeting, Temple was 7-1 entering the Friday night game at SMU, coming off an emotional 24-20 loss to Notre Dame before a sold-out crowd in Philadelphia and a national television audience.

Temple defeated the Mustangs, 60-40, in a game that was even closer than the final score indicated. The Owls led by 45-40 before scoring twice inside the final two minutes.

"The energy level during practice [that week] was a little flat and we felt the guys were still holding on to the Notre Dame game," recalled quarterback Phillip Walker, who passed for 268 yards and four touchdowns in the last meeting. "We got into that game against SMU a little flat and it showed during the game."

Now the Owls are coming off a 48-20 win over visiting Charlotte on Saturday.

"We have to come out with more energy and passion than we did last year," Walker said. SMU entered the Temple game with a 1-7 record and finished 2-10.

Still, it was good learning experience for Temple, showing what could happen if the Owls didn't bring energy, even against an outmanned opponent.

SMU scored 31 of the 40 points on the Temple defense. "I can only speak for myself, but we weren't really ready for them," said Temple defensive end Praise Martin Oguike. "We didn't do what we were supposed to do that game."

In 2013, Temple suffered a 59-49 setback at SMU in the other game Matt Rhule has coached against the Mustangs. "They have been high-scoring shootouts, but it is not really the style we play on offense," Rhule said.

In two games against the Mustangs, Walker has thrown eight touchdown passes and no interceptions. So is he expecting another offensive outburst?

"You have to expect it regardless, going into any game, so we have to match them, they have to match us," Walker said.

SMU is a much better defensive team but is struggling more on offense than a year ago, especially with quarterback Matt Davis out with a season-ending knee injury.

Last year, the Mustangs averaged 27.8 points and allowed 45.7. This season, SMU is averaging 19.8 points and allowing 27.0.

mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard