What you need to know for Temple vs. Rutgers

A need-to-know guide for the Owls’ week two matchup against the Scarlet Knights.

Temple's defense celebrates Layton Jordan's sack in its 24-21 win against Akron. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Last weekend, Temple Football (1-0, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) scored 17 unanswered points and came back to beat Akron 24-21 in their season opener. The Owls allowed just 41 yards in the second half and scored on three-straight drives to get the win.

This weekend, Temple heads into week two of its schedule on the road against Rutgers (1-0, 1-0 Big Ten Conference). The game will kick off  Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The Owls will need to take the positives from the second half against the Zips and apply them to their matchup against the Scarlet Knights if they want to improve to 2-0. Temple has not beaten Rutgers since 2002, when they won 20-17 on the road. 

As the week comes to a close and the second week of college football is just hours away, here is everything that you need to know about Temple’s matchup against Rutgers.


The Owls struggled to run the ball in their season opener, rushing for just 61 yards against the Zips. 

Temple hasn’t rushed for more than 100 yards in a game since Nov. 5, 2022 in the Owls’ 54-28 win against South Florida. They rushed for 277 yards, with 265 coming from running back Edward Saydee.

The rushing struggles last week stemmed from both inexperienced players on the offensive line and indecisiveness from the running backs. Against Akron, the Owls had true freshmen linemen Luke Watson and Melvin Sianni, along with redshirt freshman tackle Jackson Pruitt, who all played meaningful snaps. 

The inexperience showed. The offensive line struggled to create holes for the running backs and to generate time in the pocket for quarterback E.J. Warner.

While the offensive line was not perfect, Saydee and the other running backs need to be more decisive. This is especially true against Rutgers, who allowed just 12 rushing yards to Big Ten rival Northwestern last Sunday in a 24-7 win. Temple head coach Stan Drayton addressed the need for his running backs to be more decisive against the Scarlet Knights this weekend. 

“I think our running backs need to run heavy,” Drayton said. “There’s some opportunity to get some yards and some situations where it may be cloudy. It’s not going to be perfect. They can’t sit there and wait for a bunch of space. They’ve got to be able to play behind their pads, be decisive behind the backfield, and go head in and get us some positive yards.”


Temple’s defense had its fair share of highs and lows in week one. They allowed multiple big plays and opportunities for more, including a 77-yard touchdown toss from Zips quarterback DJ Irons to running back Lorenzo Lingard on the second play of the game.

Drayton attributed Akron’s big plays to miscommunication from the Temple players who relay the calls to the rest of the defense. If his leaders effectively communicate with the rest of the defense, the Owls will have a better chance at succeeding, Drayton said. 

“If we have our safeties chirping out the wrong stuff, that kind of puts all the other 10 guys in a bad spot,” Drayton said. “And that was a victim of that, those two explosive plays, and that one that was open that they didn’t get was a product of bad communication. So it’s something that we have to really manage.”

However, the Owls’ defense rebounded nicely in the second half. Coming out of halftime, Temple allowed Akron’s offense to gain just 41 total yards and did not allow the Zips to pass midfield.

The defense saw solid performances from safety Tywan Francis, who finished with five total tackles, one tackle for loss, one pass breakup and the game-clinching interception, as well as linebacker Yvandy Rigby, who led the team with 14 tackles.

The Owls will need a full four quarters from their defense if they want to come out of Piscataway, New Jersey, with their second win of the year.


Last week, the Scarlet Knights dominated Northwestern, holding the Wildcats scoreless until the final minute of the game. Rutgers controlled the pace of play throughout the entire contest, maintaining possession for more than 37 minutes.

Scarlet Knights’ quarterback Gavin Wimsatt, who played sparingly in a backup role last season, completed 17 of his 29 pass attempts for 163 yards and a touchdown while running for another. Rutgers was able to spread the ball out well against the Wildcats, as five different receivers had 20 or more receiving yards.

Rutgers’ defense did a good job putting pressure on Northwestern quarterback Ben Bryant, sacking him five times. That pressure also forced Bryant to throw two interceptions to cornerbacks Robert Longerbeam and Max Melton.

“They’re a physical football team,” Drayton said. “They have a lot of guys on that offensive side of the ball that were playmakers and are returning. [Tight end Johnny Langan] is the real deal. [Wimsatt] is going to be a handful. They’re a physical football team.”

Drayton and the Owls know they need to be ready for a physical game against the Scarlet Knights, and they can not shy away from bringing their own physicality as well. 

“The one thing that I do know is that that shouldn’t shock us,” Drayton said. “We’ve got to be prepared for them to play a physical style of play, and we need to try to match their physicality if we’re going to be competitive.”


Declan Landis (Sports Editor): “This is going to be a barn-burner.” 

“Whether it’s utilizing the short passing game or establishing a good run-pass balance, the Owls need to hold onto the ball. If they can keep the Scarlet Knights off the field and start the game by scoring early, I think the Owls have what it takes.”

Temple wins 27-24. 

Johnny Zawislak (Assistant Sports Editor): “I believe the Owls will build off their second-half comeback and get the run game going against Rutgers, propelling Temple to its second win of the season.”

Temple wins 28-21.

Ryan Mack (Assistant Sports Editor): “Last week Stan Drayton said the team played two good quarters of football, and I think the way they closed out last week, especially on the defensive side, transitions into a complete all around game for the Owls.”

Temple wins 31-21.

Jaison Nieves (Sports Social Media Manager): “I believe the Owls will be more comfortable coming out of the gate,  generating a more efficient offense, but I think Rutgers’ offense will pose a challenge as well. I think Temple just edges out the Scarlet Knights as they continue to establish a rhythm for the team as a whole.

Temple wins 21-17.

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