Owls Fall 61 – 14 In Football Season Opener at Rutgers
September 4, 2021
For a young team like the Temple Owls this was not the start they wanted or needed in a 61 – 14 loss to the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers at Piscataway, New Jersey. The Scarlet Knights scored 28 points off 4 Owls turnovers, and had scoring drives of under 40 yards on their first three touchdowns. The win breaks a seven-game home losing streak for Rutgers.
Temple is getting used to one another. The team is made up of freshman and sophomores predominantly, and have many incoming players from the transfer portal. So after a beginning like this Coach Rod Carey gave one simple message to the team.
“We’ve got a young team and they have to know that this is not okay,” said Carey. “Getting beat that much is not okay. That was the point of that.”
Very few teams could come back from the start Temple experienced. On their first offensive series redshirt freshman and transfer quarterback D’Wan Mathis was sacked in the endzone by defensive lineman Olakunie Fatuksai. On the ensuing free kick Rutgers returner Aron Cruickshank brought the ball to the Temple 33 yard line that resulted in a field goal. The Knights led 5 – 0 in less than five minutes. Later in the first quarter defensive back Tre Avery intercepted a Mathis pass and was stopped at two yards short of the goal line. Running back Johnny Langan rushed for a touchdown on the next play. Temple fumbled the kickoff back to Rutgers 28 yards away from pay dirt. Langan ran it in from the one yard line early in the second quarter for a 19 – 0 lead.
The Cherry and White fumbled the ball back to the Red and Black. Former Temple defensive lineman Ifeanyi Maijeh recovered the Mathis fumble at the 22 yard line. It set up a two-yard plunge by Kyle Monangai, one of two scores for the running back for the game.
Rutgers had 21 points off three turnovers, and a touchdown drive no greater than 33 yards. Short fields worked against Temple.
“It hurts a lot,” said redshirt senior Amir Tyler. “You can’t blame that on the offense or special teams. You have to play defense. We have to execute our plays, and that’s what we didn’t do.”
The Owls desperately needed something positive to happen. They finally got it early in the second quarter when Mathis found graduate wide receiver Randle Jones down the left sideline for a 38-yard reception. The play provided a spark Temple needed. The drive resulted in an 11-yard touchdown run by redshirt freshman Edward Saydee.
After halftime and holding the Knights to a three-and-out, the Owls scored again on a three-yard touchdown run by Mathis that capped a 9-play, 81-yard drive that took 2:50. The score seemed to give the Temple a lift getting to within 26 -14. This was their best stretch of the game.
“The only time we executed the whole day without shooting ourselves in the foot,” Carey said. “Things went well for us, but we didn’t do that nearly enough or long enough. It certainly felt like at that moment was had a bit of momentum.”
Bo Melton got Rutgers back on the scoreboard snaring a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Noah Vedral at the 8:05 mark and upped the lead to 33 – 14. Overall, eight Scarlet Knights out points on the board.
True freshman Justin Lynch replaced Mathis at quarterback for Temple. His pass was intercepted by Max Melton who returned it 46-yards for a touchdown and a 40 – 14 Rutgers lead. The fourth score off an Owls turnover.
The Owls look to put this game behind them and get ready for next week’s game at Akron.
Written By: Glenn Papazian