Rutgers faces Temple, looks for 3-0 start

Rutgers could start 3-0 for the second straight season if it defeats host Temple on Saturday at Philadelphia.

The Scarlet Knights’ 3-0 start in 2021 began with a 61-14 thrashing of Temple, but Rutgers coach Greg Schiano thought his team’s opponent played better than the final score showed.

“That score was not indicative of what that game was,” Schiano said Monday. “That score was based on takeaways. We struggled to move the football against their defense, and I think their defense is playing well again.”

Rutgers’ defense had two interceptions (one returned for a score), three fumble recoveries and a safety in last year’s win, which extended its winning streak in the all-time series to five.

The Scarlet Knights (2-0) opened the season with a 22-21 comeback win at Boston College, followed by last week’s 66-7 victory over FCS Wagner. Evan Simon and Gavin Wimsatt, splitting snaps at quarterback in place of injured senior Noah Vedral, each threw his first career touchdown pass in that game.

Vedral is recovering from an upper-body injury, and Schiano said it’s still too early to know whether the quarterback could return this week. Wimsatt, a former four-star recruit, got the start against Wagner.

Temple (1-1) got in the win column with a 30-14 victory last Saturday over FCS Lafayette after the Owls opened their season with a 30-0 loss at Duke.

The Owls were tied with Lafayette 7-7 after one quarter, with starting quarterback D’Wan Mathis losing two fumbles. First-year coach Stan Drayton subbed in freshman E.J. Warner, the son of Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, who led Temple to victory with 173 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-19 passing.

“The way he handled the pressure … he didn’t flinch,” Drayton told reporters. “He went out there and executed the offense, didn’t try to step outside himself, went out there and put the ball where it needed to be.”

Temple listed Warner as its starting quarterback against Rutgers on the depth chart, but Drayton did not confirm he would have the job going forward. ESPN reported Saturday morning that Warner will get the start.

Running backs Darvon Hubbard and Edward Saydee rushed for 59 and 55 yards respectively and scored a touchdown apiece against Lafayette.

–Field Level Media