Safety Nate L. Smith had the difficult task of replacing one of the Temple's top players and the redshirt senior performed admirably in the 45-20 win over Southern Methodist on Saturday.

Making his first start this season, Smith had an interception that led to a touchdown along with seven tackles in replacing junior Sean "Champ" Chandler.

Chandler is sidelined by a knee injury that occurred during practice last week. It was the first time he has missed a game, having appeared in 30, with 29 starts.

"I wasn't nervous," Smith said. "I have been through this last year and knew what the deal is and I have the experience and had to step up."

It was Smith's 33rd career game at Temple and eighth start.

Smith was a little banged up in preseason, but he believes he is hitting his stride. In last week's 48-20 win over Charlotte he had six tackles.

"Since last game I felt like I have been coming along and I am really doing what I am supposed to do," Smith said. "I am really playing ball."

Coach Matt Rhule said he wasn't sure of Chandler's status, saying "it could be three weeks, it could be the year, we will kind of wait and see."

Other injuries

Rhule said that defensive linemen Sharif Finch and Jullian Taylor, who did not play Saturday, are out for the year with injuries. Finch appeared in four games and Taylor in three.

Sack pack

Temple entered the game with five sacks, and added four.

"We stopped the run early which forced them to pass," said defensive end Hasson Reddick, who had two sacks.

Temple limited SMU to 89 rushing yards (2.8 average per carry.)

Thirty-minute storm

When Temple led, 35-14, at halftime, it was the first time the Owls scored 30 or more points in a half in consecutive weeks since Nov. 13 and 21, 2009 against Akron and Kent State.

Temple beat Akron, 56-17, scoring 31 points in the first half, and defeated Kent State, 47-13, scoring 38 points in the second half.

Last week Temple led 31-7 at the half in the win over Charlotte.