Sophomore quarterback E.J. Warner was intercepted twice and the Temple Owls defense allowed 23 4th quarter points in a 36-7 shellacking by the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Piscataway. The loss moves the Owls’ record to 1-1 on the 2023 regular season heading into next weekend’s match up against FCS opponent Norfolk State.
The Scarlet Knights jumped out to an early 13-o lead after QB Gavin Wimsatt connected with freshman RB Ja’Shon Benjamin for a 33-yard touchdown and kicker Jai Patel nailed a pair of field goals, including a 51-yarder. The Scarlet Knights forced Temple to punt on three consecutive drives and it looked as though Rutgers was on their way to a repeat of their victory a week ago over Northwestern. Rutgers had a handful of opportunities to extend their lead during the 2nd quarter however the offense seemingly went into an early cruise control.
The second half began a lot like the first half ended, the Scarlet Knights offense continued to sputter while the defense was forced to make stop after stop. An example of the Rutgers’ defense coming to play came with 5:37 in the 3rd quarter when Rutgers, led by S Flip Dixon, forced a key goal line stand halting the Owls momentum. Both teams exchanged a series of punts before Temple finally broke through. QB EJ Warner connected with WR Dante Wright on a 4th and 5 at the beginning of the 4th quarter to close the gap to 13-7. You could feel the tension in Piscataway as Saturday’s game was seemingly mirroring last season’s affair in South Philadelphia.
But alas it was not to be. After allowing Temple to get within a score, Rutgers ripped off 23 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to blow out the visiting Owls. The defense forced Warner to throw two interceptions and the running backs scored a trio of Scarlet Knights touchdowns –Monangai, Sam Brown, and Al-Shadee Salaam all reached the endzone in the 4th quarter– to put away any hopes of a Temple comeback. What seemed like a nail bitter turned into a laugher by the time the final cannon blast echoed through a nearly empty SHI Stadium.