With six minutes and five seconds remaining in the second quarter, Rutgers sophomore cornerback Shaquan Loyal tipped a pass from Owls’ freshman quarterback E.J. Warner at the line of scrimmage and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown, giving the Scarlet Knights a 10-7 lead.
Temple University (1-2, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) lost to Rutgers University (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten Conference) 16-14 on Sept. 17 at Lincoln Financial Field. The Owls were unable to consistently move the ball downfield, picking up just 264 offensive yards.
“I am really proud of the way our kids fought today,” said Owls head coach Stan Drayton. “Obviously there are some things we need to do better, but we played a full four quarters and we did a great job fighting until the very last seconds of the game.”
Prior to the interception, Temple led for the entirety of the game. They scored a touchdown during their second drive on a designed run play for redshirt junior quarterback Quincy Patterson, but failed to mount much offense for the remainder of the game.
The Owls gave up just 201 yards and did not allow the Scarlet Knights to score an offensive touchdown. Rutgers quarterbacks Evan Simon and Gavin Wimsatt combined for just 59 passing yards on 17 attempts, completing 10.
Redshirt sophomore linebacker Jordan Magee and sophomore safety Muheem McCargo each recorded tackles for loss for the Owls. Redshirt junior linebacker Layton Jordan recorded two sacks, the second one coming on third down late in the fourth quarter, giving the ball back to Temple with the opportunity to take the lead.
“[Jordan] has just been doing his job,” Drayton said. “His job is to be an impact player and to make plays when his number is called within the defensive scheme and he is doing what he is supposed to do and we expect him to do those things.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Warner was not as efficient as he was against Lafayette College on Sept. 10, completing 19 passes on 32 attempts for 215 yards.
Despite early struggles, Warner found redshirt junior tight end Jordan Smith for a 47 yard touchdown pass to cut Rutgers’ lead to two, cutting the Rutgers lead to 16-14.
Without redshirt sophomore running back Darvon Hubbard and redshirt junior running back Jakari Norwood, who were inactive with undisclosed injuries, the Owls rushing attack was stagnant. Temple relied on redshirt sophomore Edward Saydee to lead the running game, but he was only able to manage 1.7 yards per attempt.
After falling to the Scarlet Knights 61-14 last season, this year’s loss is a welcomed improvement, but Drayton believes with minor changes, the Owls will start to be on the winning side of more games, he said.
“There are a lot of great things that we can learn from and build on from this game,” Drayton said. “No moral victories for us, but we are going to take that approach and go back to work preparing for next week.”
The Owls will look to bounce back when they take on the University of Massachusetts (1-2) on Sept. 24 at 2 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field.