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Ahead of rematch, Greg Schiano says Temple “should have beat us last year”



Sep 17, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights tight end Johnny Langan (21) against the Temple Owls in the second half at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers and Temple will face each other for the 39th time on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at SHI Stadium. The annual blackout game matches two teams at 1-0 but having gotten there in different ways. The Scarlet Knights were dominant in a 24-7 win over Northwestern. The Owls trailed Akron 21-7 late in the second quarter before winning 24-21. Quarterback EJ Warmer

While Rutgers is close to ten point favorites, there is zero reason for this team to feel comfortable going into this matchup. Although RU has won the last six meetings between the two programs, that streak was in serious jeopardy. The Scarlet Knights survived by winning 16-14 at Lincoln Financial Field. The Owls had more first downs as well as more total yards than Rutgers. Quarterback EJ Warner threw two second half touchdowns to Edward Saydee but Temple fell just short.

“Yeah, they are a much improved football team, you can see and they should have beat us last year,” said Schiano during his game week presser. “So you know, we were fortunate to get out of the stadium with a victory. So we know what we are in for, and we have got to have a great week of practice and it’s a short week so we really have to bare down.”

It is ideal to face Temple at home for this meeting following a solid victory by Rutgers to kick off the season.

EJ Warner threw for 215 yards on 19 of 32 completions along with a touchdown and a pick against Rutgers last season. It was just his second game as a true freshman.

“He is a very good player,” commented Schiano.

As for the rest of the offense, Temple added wide receiver Ian Stewart, a transfer from Colorado State. He did not play last week due to a previous injury and his availability for Saturday is unclear.

“They have got a transfer wide receiver from Colorado State who is very impressive and then they have the kid they had last year who a really good player, he’s wearing No. 1 now.

Dante Wright is a former freshman All-American and had a big debut for Temple in his first game, registering seven catches for 71 yards.

”The two backs are Big Ten-level backs. Really, really good players.”

Schiano is referring to Edward Saydee, who scored both touchdowns for Temple last week against Akron, and Darvon Hubbard.

Temple only ran for 61 yards and 2.2 yard per carry against the Zips in the season opener. Schiano discussed the similarities with the Rutgers offensive line, who generated just 2.8 yards per carry against Northwestern.

“Got a young O-line, right, so see what we can do. They are learning,” explained Schiano. “They are much like our O-line, trying to figure out who is who, who plays where.”

Last season, linebacker Layton Jordan had two sacks against Rutgers. He is on the watch lists for the Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award this season.  Schiano singled him out as a priority.

“Defensively, they have a No. 13 who is a really good player. He’s a disruptive player,” Schiano said. “He’s got I think six or seven forced fumbles in his career. Better know where he is.”

Temple has seen benefits from the transfer portal on both sides of the ball. Tywan Francis had a game clinching interception in his debut against Akron for the Owls.

“They have another transfer from Colorado State. They must have went shopping in Colorado State. Colorado State safety is a really good player, too. He showed up in a lot of different ways. I think they are strong up the middle.”

The Owls are also young in spots including 6’4” freshman defensive lineman Conlan Greene.

“They have a young — they have a true freshman playing in the D-and he’s big, you can see he’s a physically mature guy and then the corner, number 7, he’s a ball hawk, we have to be really careful around him.”

Jalen McMurray is the corner of note and an all-conference player for Temple. He led the Owls with seven tackles against Rutgers last season.

The key for Rutgers is continued development with the offense. Gavin Wimsatt looks to build off an encouraging opener. The wide receivers had a solid group effort. The offensive line was good in pass protection but needs to generate more push in the run game. And there is hope more running backs will be available against Temple.

“Now, we have three practices in a short week to get it all ready for Temple; and Coach Withers who coordinates the defense is a really good football coach. He’s experienced and we’ve gone against each other over the years in both NFL and college. He’s an excellent football coach. He’s going to present issues that only experienced coaches know how to present.”

Rutgers has a big opportunity to stack two solid performances together at home following the win over Northwestern. The possibility of being 2-0 with Virginia Tech visiting the following week would put Rutgers in a good spot. Hopefully, this team can respond well in a short week and not put themselves in a vulnerable position against Temple that they were in last season.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. pj43

    September 6, 2023 at 4:41 pm

    I look for Rutgers to dominate defensively, the offense & Wimsatt to continue improving, and special teams to create some TOs and good field position with the kicking game being solid. So, I’m thinking Rutgers 27-3 and, hopefully, coming out of the game with no major injuries.

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