Shaquan Loyal returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown as Rutgers relied on its defense and special teams to beat host Temple 16-14 in nonconference play on Saturday in Philadelphia.
Temple used a big stop with 7:05 left in the fourth quarter to keep Rutgers (3-0) from extending its two-point lead. But the Scarlet Knights stymied the Owls (1-2) on fourth and 4 with 2:25 remaining and closed out the win.
Jude McAtamney made three of four field-goal attempts for Rutgers, the longest coming from 45 yards away.
Rutgers starting quarterback Evan Simon threw for just 52 yards on 9-of-15 passing. Johnny Langan led the Rutgers offense with 79 rushing yards.
Temple redshirt freshman E.J. Warner, the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, made his first collegiate start at quarterback. He completed 19 of 32 passes for 215 yards, with a touchdown and the fateful pick-six.
Temple outgained Rutgers in total yards, 264-201.
Warner found Adonicas Sanders (eight receptions, 90 yards) for a big fourth-and-3 completion in Rutgers territory during the first quarter. Three plays later, Quincy Patterson subbed in for a designed quarterback run and barreled in for a 1-yard touchdown.
McAtamney booted his 45-yard field goal to cut it to 7-3 with 1:09 left in the first quarter.
Loyal’s big play came with 6:05 remaining in the half. The defensive back blitzed, batted Warner’s pass into the air, caught it on the run and took it to the house to give the Scarlet Knights the lead.
Rutgers stuffed Temple on fourth down on the Owls’ ensuing possession, but couldn’t capitalize as McAtamney missed from 38 yards in the final minute of the half. It remained 10-7 Rutgers at the break.
McAtamney, a native of Ireland, made a 25-yard chip shot during the third quarter and added a 38-yarder on the first play of the fourth quarter to extend Rutgers’ lead to 16-7.
But Warner hooked up with tight end Jordan Smith on the next Temple drive, and Smith spun out of a tackle and sprinted for a 47-yard touchdown to make it 16-14 with 14:15 left.
Simon took a 15-yard sack on third and 8, which knocked the Scarlet Knights out of field goal range and forced them to punt midway through the fourth. But Temple stalled around midfield and Warner threw an incomplete pass on fourth down.
After Temple burned through its timeouts, Langan powered through the middle on a third-and-2 situation and went 17 yards, stopping shy of a touchdown on purpose to let the clock bleed out.
–Field Level Media