Walker joins notable names on Maxwell Award watch list

P.J. Walker’s name graced the Maxwell Award watch list released Monday, joining 32 other quarterbacks of the initial group of 75 players to survive the initial cut.

Walker impressed as the starter in Temple’s final seven games as a true freshman last season, completing 60.8 percent of his passes with 20 touchdown strikes and eight interceptions. A 59-49 shootout defeat to Southern Methodist featured what was arguably Walker’s best performance of the season when the Elizabeth, N.J. native hit 26 of his 37 passing attempts with four touchdown passes and zero interceptions.

The rising sophomore marks the first Temple player on the Maxwell watch list since former running back Bernard Pierce made the extended list in October of 2011.

Walker joins a recognizable field of quarterbacks on the list, including UCLA’s Brett Hundley, defending national champion Jameis Winston of Florida State, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg.

The list will be trimmed to semifinalists on Nov. 3 with a final crop of candidates determined Nov. 24.

Football looks for second straight win

Temple (1-6, 0-3 American Athletic Conference) flew to Dallas, Texas on Friday afternoon as the team prepares for a conference match-up against SMU (2-4, 1-1 American Athletic Conference) on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.

After earning their first victory against Army last week, the Owls will look to spoil the Mustangs’ Homecoming game.

“We have to find a way to get to the quarterback and try to take away their big play threats,” coach Matt Rhule said. “On offense, we have to find and generate some kind of rushing attack. That’s been hard for us the last couple weeks.”

Entering his second week as the Owls’ starting quarterback, freshman P.J. Walker will look for his second career win on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m staying and watching more film than I usually do,” Walker said. “I’ve been preparing as the starter since day one of the season. Nothing has changed that much.”

Walker said the vibe in practice was more up-tempo now that the team has a win.

“They got the taste of winning, and now everybody is just going out and playing harder.”

The game will be broadcast on ESPN3. Click here for a season preview of SMU published this past summer by The Temple News.