A Quarterback Change Helps The Owls Get Win # 1 in the Drayton Era
September 10. 2022 –
Winning is worth celebrating. And the Owls can do so by getting past a scrappy Lafayette team that would not go away by a 30 – 14 score. A change at quarterback, a bunch of firsts, good defense and special teams contributions were all the necessary ingredients in cooking up win number one.
“Obviously we played a little better, played good enough to get a ‘W’ and I’m really excited about our guys handling the pressures within the game,” said Temple Coach Stan Drayton.
Signal Caller Change Sparks Temple
The Owls had a lead early, but were struggling and turning the ball over on fumbles by quarterback D’Wan Mathis. It was time for a change in the mind of Drayton who inserted true freshman quarterback E.J. Warner at the 7:53 mark of the second quarter.
“I felt that two balls on the ground is something that you think about,” Drayton said about why he made the change. “Those are tough decisions when it is your quarterback.”
On his first possession Warner engineered a 12-play, 83-yard drive that culminated with a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ian Stewart that broke a 7 – 7 tie with 2:40 remaining to halftime. Warner added another touchdown toss early in the fourth quarter to tight end Jordan Smith to allow the Cherry and White to take control of the game at 28 – 14. For the day the Phoenix, AZ native completed 14 of 19 for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns showing readiness.
“He came up there with a lot of confidence,” said Temple tackle Isaac Moore about Warner. “He did not seem like a true freshman to me. He stepped up today.”
Jose Barbon who caught 8 passes for 118 yards, 12 shy of his career-high, and was targeted 12 times.
The Owls Get Defensive
On the ground the Owls gave up 27 yards total and just 83 in the air. The Leopards moved the sticks 7 times. Sacks were a culprit as Temple recorded 8 by seven different players.
Very Special Teams
Redshirt Sophomore De’Von Fox occupies many roles for Temple. His major contribution in this game came on special teams where he blocked three punts that gave his team great field position and points. The first with just over a minute to play set up the Owls just 22 yards away from the Leopards goal line. All plays resulted in touchdowns by Saydee and Smith. Fox added a third and a safety for the final score of the game.
“For some time there we felt Lafayette had the momentum,” said Drayton. “We had to find a way to create field position. Those blocked punts put us in favorable positions for points.”
A Game of Firsts
Warner who threw a touchdown pass for the first time in college football. Smith had his initial scoring reception. Running back Darvon Hubbard crossed the line on a rush of 3-yards for his inaugural touchdown. Stewart hauled in his first touchdown catch. Overall three Temple players had their first touchdown. Fox gave the Owls their first punt block since November 2018.
Mistakes by Temple Kept Lafayette Competitive
Lafayette scored all their points off Temple turnovers. In the first quarter the Leopards took over at the Owls 28. Two plays later quarterback Ryan Schuster hit wide receiver Julius Young for a 14-yard score to tie the game at 7. In the opening possession of the third quarter Temple fumbled setting up Lafayette at their 15 yard line. Schuster capped the 8-play drive with a 5-yard scoring strike to Mason Gilbert to get to within 21 – 14.
Written By: Glenn Papazian