Sep 2, 2022; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils running back Jaylen Coleman (22) gestures after scoring a touchdown during first half of the game against Temple University at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

Duke trounces Temple 30-0 to open Mike Elko era

Riley Leonard threw for two touchdowns and completed his first 15 passes as Duke opened the season with a 30-0 victory over visiting Temple on Friday night in Durham, N.C.

The outcome gave Duke coach Mike Elko a successful debut. It was a dismal opener for first-year Temple coach Stan Drayton, whose team was held to 179 yards of total offense.

Duke recorded its first shutout of a FBS opponent since 1989 against North Carolina.

Leonard, a sophomore making his second career start, completed his first 15 passes. That left him one shy of the school record for consecutive completions in a game.

Leonard finished 24-for-30 for 328 yards through the air. He also was the game’s top rusher with 64 yards on 11 carries.

Duke went 75 yards in five plays on the game’s opening possession, scoring on Jaylen Coleman’s 1-yard run. Charlie Ham’s 29-yard field goal later in the first quarter made it 10-0.

Leonard threw 4 yards to Jordan Moore, who was the runner-up in the preseason quarterback competition, for a touchdown with 11:49 left in the second quarter.

Temple didn’t pick up a first down until about the 10-minute mark of the second quarter.

Duke was back on the board on Leonard’s 39-yard strike to Sahmir Hagans, making it 24-0 by halftime.

Ham, who missed two attempts on field goals in the first half and another in the fourth quarter, was good from 37 yards out for the only points of the third quarter. He added a 38-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Duke and Temple were both 3-9 last year. The only other meeting between the teams resulted in Duke’s victory at the 2018 Independence Bowl.

Elko replaced David Cutcliffe, who coached the Blue Devils for 14 seasons. Duke is coming off three consecutive losing seasons with a combined record of 10-25 during that stretch.

–Field Level Media

Jul 21, 2022; Charlotte, NC, USA; Duke Head Coach Mike Elko talks to the media during the second day of ACC Media Days at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, NC. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Duke, Temple take first steps in fresh start

A first-year coach will collect a victory in the season opener when Temple visits Duke on Friday night in Durham, N.C.

A significant difference is that Temple is accustomed to playing under new leadership as Stan Drayton is the fourth coach to begin a season with the Owls in a seven-year span.

Duke had more stability, but a recent slide invited a switch. Mike Elko was hired to try to reverse the trend.

“As of right now we’re taking the right steps,” Blue Devils defensive back Jaylen Stinson said. “We’re not where we want to be but we’re heading in the right route. You can tell everyone is bought in and we’re moving in the right direction toward the season opener.”

Drayton and Elko are both first-time head coaches.

It might be difficult to tell which team is further along in the reconstruction project based on one game.

“We’ve kind of put these guys in situations where we’ve had to kind of challenge their routine,” Drayton said. “I think our guys are getting a much better sense of what’s being asked of them schematically.”

Drayton, who had been associate head coach at Texas, knows the first impression of the season will be important.

“We really have to prepare ourselves to have success on that Friday,” he said.

Both teams are coming off 3-9 seasons. Duke carries an eight-game losing streak into the season. With one exception, the Blue Devils lost each of those games in the skid by at least 25 points.

Elko arrived from Texas A&M, where he was a defensive coordinator after holding a similar role at Wake Forest. He replaces long-time coach David Cutcliffe.

“Expectations are always the same to me,” Elko said. “The expectation is that we go out and lay it on the line for Duke every week. … I think you focus on what you can control now, what you can improve now.”

The Blue Devils had major issues on defense last year, regularly unraveled by big plays. But the offense needs upgrading as well.

On Sunday, redshirt freshman Riley Leonard was named the starting quarterback ahead of sophomore Jordan Moore. Both players held backup roles last season.

D’Wan Mathis, who was the starter for Georgia in the 2020 opener, is in his second season with the Owls and he’s the incumbent starter at quarterback. Reduced to playing seven games because of injuries, he threw for six touchdowns and four interceptions.

Duke hasn’t had a winning season since 2018, when it capped an 8-5 mark by defeating Temple in the Independence Bowl. Temple went 8-5 in 2019 for its most recent winning campaign.

“It’s important in the sense that we’re trying to set a standard,” Drayton said. “We’re trying to get this program back to a Temple-tough standard.”

Temple’s team is so young that more than half of the players on the roster have four years of eligibility remaining.

–Field Level Media

Brophy Prep quarterbacks coach Kurt Warner practices with players at the Brophy Sports Complex in Phoenix, Ariz. on April 26, 2021.

Brophy Football Practice April 26 2021

QB Elijah Warner, Kurt’s son, commits to Temple

Quarterback Elijah “EJ” Warner, son of Pro Football Hall of Fame member Kurt Warner, committed to play at Temple.

The younger Warner played at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix. He intends to make his commitment to Temple official next Wednesday on National Signing Day.

“EJ is one of the sharpest and smartest football players I have ever been around,” Brophy head coach Jason Jewell told USA Today. “He absolutely loves football and is a student of the game.”

In the 2021 season, he passed for 2,742 yards with 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions, per USA Today. Brophy was 7-5 on the season, and Kurt Warner was the quarterbacks coach.

“He was our point guard,” Jewell said of EJ Warner. “Got us in the right plays and protections. So happy that he landed at Temple.”

The 6-foot, 200-pound Warner is ranked as a three-star prospect and the No. 123 quarterback by the 247Sports composite. His dad, a two-time NFL Most Valuable Player, was undrafted out of Northern Iowa and cut by the Green Bay Packers in training camp in 1994.

Kurt Warner went to work stocking shelves in a grocery store and played in the Arena Football League before getting his chance as a backup in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams in 1998. A year later, he was league MVP, a first-team All-Pro and Super Bowl champion.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Greenville, North Carolina, USA;  Temple Owls place kicker Rory Bell (47) is congratulated by his teammates after his second half field goal against the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Temple introduces Stan Drayton as new head coach

Temple introduced former Texas assistant coach Stan Drayton as the Owls’ new football coach on Thursday.

Drayton, 50, replaces Rod Carey, who was fired late last month after three seasons and a 12-20 record.

“I’ve always wanted to lead men on a large scale,” Drayton said in his opening remarks Thursday, addressing the players in attendance. “I want you to go for the top. I want you to be great. … That’s what this program is going to be about.”

Drayton also said this was the second time he interviewed for the position at Temple; he lost out to Matt Rhule in 2012.

Drayton reunites with Arthur Johnson, who left Texas in October to take the athletics director job at Temple.

Drayton was the running backs coach at Texas the past five seasons, working first under Tom Herman and then Steve Sarkisian. Drayton also coached RBs at Florida and Ohio State, working under Urban Meyer. He also spent five years as an assistant coach in the NFL, with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Temple Owls head coach Rod Carey reacts in the second half against the Memphis Tigers at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Temple fires Rod Carey after three seasons

Temple fired football coach Rod Carey on Monday after three seasons and a 12-20 record.

The Owls went 8-5 and lost in the Military Bowl in his first season in 2019, but slipped to 1-6 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.

Temple finished 3-9 this season (1-7 in the American Athletic Conference) and ended the year with a seven-game losing streak.

“It’s never an easy decision to replace a head coach,” Temple athletic director Arthur Johnson said in a release. “The past two seasons have not been easy with the challenges of the pandemic. I want to thank Rod for staying committed to our student-athletes and wish him and his family well in their next chapter.”

Assistant coach Thad Ward was named the Owls’ interim head coach.

Carey, 50, went to Philadelphia after leading Northern Illinois to a 52-30 record from 2012-18.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Greenville, North Carolina, USA;  Temple Owls quarterback D'Wan Mathis (18) looks over at the sidelines during the first half against the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Temple tries to snap five-game skid, ruin Tulsa’s senior day

Temple will hope to avoid a sixth consecutive loss when it battles host Tulsa on Saturday.

The Owls (3-7, 1-5 American Athletic Conference) last won 34-31 against Memphis on Oct. 2. Since then, they’ve been outscored by a whopping 217-35.

Temple has been besieged by injuries and has continued to play a bevy of freshmen.

“I feel like we have a good, young nucleus,” Temple head coach Rod Carey said. “They’re on their way to being experienced.”

The Owls’ most recent defeat came against No. 24 Houston, falling 37-8 last Saturday.

Once again, they will have some uncertainty at quarterback going into this road matchup. D’Wan Mathis has been struggling with a couple of nagging injuries and it’s unclear whether he’ll start. Justin Lynch is also a strong possibility.

“I know there’s improvement,” Carey said of Mathis’ health. “I don’t know the extent of that improvement.”

The Owls don’t have much to play for except to carry positive momentum over into the offseason. But don’t tell that to Carey with all the hard work the senior leaders have put in to the program.

“We have a good group of seniors that are fully engaged and competing,” he said.

Tulsa will look to keep its postseason bowl hopes alive with a win over Temple. Tulsa also has one final regular-season game against Southern Methodist and could finish 6-6 to potentially qualify for a bowl.

The Golden Hurricane (4-6, 3-3) put themselves in position to inch closer to bowl contention with a thrilling 20-13 win in overtime over Tulane last Saturday.

Justin Wright played a large role in the victory with 12 tackles on his way to being named AAC Defensive Player of the Week.

While Tulsa looks to be favored over the reeling Owls, nothing is guaranteed.

“It’s college football,” Tulsa’s Jaxon Player said. “You can’t base (an opinion of) anybody off their record. Everybody shows up on Saturday.”

Tulsa will be facing Temple for the first time since 2018.

Since this will be the final home game for the Golden Hurricane, especially their 23 seniors, they hope to come out with extra intensity. Especially if they want to keep their bowl hopes alive.

“We’ve been in a lot of tight ballgames. We’ve won a few. We’ve lost a few,” Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery said. “All of our intentions are on the next game. All of our focus is on Temple. To have control of our destiny is a good thing.”

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bearcats linebacker Wilson Huber (2) sacks Temple Owls quarterback D'Wan Mathis (18) in the first half of the NCAA football game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Temple Owls on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati.

Temple Owls At Cincinnati Bearcats

No. 5 Cincinnati avoids letdown, crushes Temple

Desmond Ridder threw three touchdown passes as No. 5 Cincinnati followed one of the most significant games in program history by defeating visiting Temple 52-3 on Friday night.

Cincinnati (5-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) posted a strong first half and dominated afterward, outscoring Temple 35-0 after halftime.

Jerome Ford had a 75-yard touchdown run on the first snap of the second half for Cincinnati, which was coming off an upset of host Notre Dame on Oct. 2. Ford finished with 149 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.

Ridder completed 22 of 30 passes for 259 yards without an interception against a Temple defense that was allowing only 147.2 yards passing per game.

D’Wan Mathis threw for 120 yards on 16-of-27 passing with an interception for Temple (3-3, 1-1), which managed 226 yards of total offense and 14 first downs.

Cincinnati posted four third-quarter touchdowns after holding a 17-3 halftime lead. In the third period, Ridder threw for a 38-yard TD to Tyler Scott and an 11-yard score to Michael Young Jr. sandwiched around Charles McClelland’s 28-yard touchdown run.

The Bearcats, who picked up their 23rd consecutive home victory, broke out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. The big play came when Cincinnati’s Ja’von Hicks recovered a fumble on an Owls punt return, giving the Bearcats the ball at the Temple 13.

Two plays later, Alec Pierce caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Ridder.

Cincinnati stretched the lead in the second quarter with an 11-play drive covering 65 yards, capped by Ford’s 8-yard run.

Temple got on the board with 5:27 left in the second quarter on Rory Bell’s 55-yard field goal. However, the Owls ended up with just 81 yards of total offense in the first half.

Temple committed three turnovers for the game.

The teams didn’t meet last year because their scheduled matchup was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. Cincinnati beat visiting Temple 15-13 in 2019.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2020; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles quarterback Dennis Grosel (6) looks to pass against the Louisville Cardinals during the second half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College turns to Dennis Grosel at QB against Temple

Boston College will have a new starting quarterback when it visits Temple in a nonconference matchup on Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia.

Eagles junior Phil Jurkovec had an operation on his throwing hand Monday, and his chances of returning this season are uncertain.

Fortunately for the Eagles (2-0), the running game came up big in a 45-28 rout of in-state foe Massachusetts last Saturday after Jurkovec departed late in the first quarter.

Sophomore Pat Garwo III earned ACC Running Back of the Week honors after rushing for a career-high 160 yards on 15 carries. Garwo’s previous high in rushing yardage was 36 against Pittsburgh last October.

Graduate running back Travis Levy was named the ACC’s Specialist of the Week after returning a kick 96 yards for a touchdown against UMass. He also had a 20-yard rushing touchdown and finished with 43 yards on seven carries.

After two games, Boston College’s rushing attack ranks 35th in the nation among FBS teams at 214 yards per game.

“We’ve been working on the running game from camp all the way to the first game and the second game,” Garwo said. “It’s a big emphasis because we know we can hit it. We have a lot of good backs. We trust in everyone.”

Jurkovec, who will miss Saturday’s game against the Owls, completed 3 of 4 passes for 22 yards before exiting against the Minutemen. Jurkovec was listed as questionable to return at halftime but did not come back into the game.

The injury represents a big blow for Boston College after Jurkovec passed for 2,558 yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2020.

In his stead last weekend, the Eagles turned to senior backup Dennis Grosel, who threw for 199 yards and a score on 11-of-14 passing. Grosel saw limited action in the Eagles’ season-opening 51-0 rout of Colgate, totaling 44 yards on 5-of-6 passing.

Grosel also filled in for an injured Jurkovec against Virginia on Dec. 5, 2020, and tied the school record of 520 passing yards established by the legendary Doug Flutie in 1982.

The Eagles’ offense ranks 10th in the country in scoring, averaging 48 points per game.

Temple (1-1) bounced back from a 61-14 thrashing at the hands of Big Ten opponent Rutgers in the season opener with a 45-24 win against Akron. The Zips held a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter before the Owls rattled off 38 unanswered points en route to the blowout victory.

“They executed at a higher level (in the first quarter),” Temple coach Rod Carey told the Temple News. “We dug ourselves out.”

Owls freshman quarterback Justin Lynch threw for 245 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 19-of-23 passing. Senior wideout Randle Jones caught seven of those passes and both TDs, totaling a career-high 170 receiving yards.

“Having trust in your teammates is key,” Lynch told the Temple News. “I had to get the ball in my receiver’s hands.”

Owls graduate linebacker William Kwenkeu was named the AAC’s Defensive Player of the Week after finishing with seven tackles (three for loss), a pair of sacks and a 38-yard scoop-and-score in the Akron game.

Saturday’s contest marks the home opener for the Owls and will be the first time they faced off against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field since a 34-17 win for Boston College in the finale of the 2004 season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Temple Owls wide receiver Jose Barbon (10) is tackled by Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Christian Izien (0) during the second half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Temple, Akron look to rebound from lopsided losses

Following a 47-point thrashing in the season opener at Rutgers, Temple will look to rebound when it travels to Akron for a nonconference game on Saturday afternoon.

The Owls, who lost 61-14 to the Scarlet Knights, will face Akron for the first time since 2011.

Temple (0-1) will need to play a much crisper game if it hopes to even its record. The Owls had 261 total yards and five turnovers against Rutgers.

“It was as bad as we could possibly play,” Temple coach Rod Carey said. “Five turnovers on the day. Spotted them 26 and climbed our way back into it and gave up some more on some easy stuff. Not anything positive out of that in all three phases and got to get back to work and fix them.”

The Owls had high hopes after a 1-6 COVID-shortened season with 11 returning starters and 11 transfers.

Quarterback D’Wan Mathis struggled mightily, going 8 of 24 for 148 yards and one interception. Mathis also suffered a leg injury in the third quarter and his status is unclear for the game against Akron.

“We have a young team,” Carey said following the loss. “We have to know that (losing is) not OK.”

Like Temple, Akron was also crushed in its season opener, 60-10 at Auburn.

The Zips (0-1) fell behind 37-0 at halftime and never recovered.

Quarterback DJ Irons gave Akron a much-needed lift in the second half with a 13-for-13 performance for 129 yards and one touchdown.

“I thought DJ Irons came in and really provided a really great spark for our entire team, especially for our offense,” Akron coach Tom Arth said. “He gave guys the opportunity to make plays. They made some plays and we started getting some explosives.”

The game was decided early in the first half and there wasn’t much positive to take away. If the Zips hope to win their home opener, they’ll have to execute much better in all phases.

“You can just kind of feel the hunger to get back to Akron and to get back out there and practice and get ready for the next game,” Arth said. “That was good for us as a team to go through that, but to know that we’re not just rolling over and letting it happen. We’re going to go fight and we’re going to go compete.”

–Field Level Media

Johnny Langan of Rutgers scores one his first half TD's as Temple played Rutgers in the season opener at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, NJ on September 4, 2021.

Temple Played Rutgers In The Season Opener At Shi Stadium In Piscataway Nj On September 4 2021

Noah Vedral directs Rutgers’ blowout against Temple

Noah Vedral directed eight scoring drives as Rutgers snapped a seven-game home losing streak with a 61-14 victory over Temple on Saturday afternoon in Piscataway, N.J., in the season opener for both teams.

The Scarlet Knights (1-0) won their delayed opener after heavy flooding from Tropical Storm Ida postponed the game from Thursday night. They scored the game’s first 26 points and also got a pair of defensive scores en route to their first home win since beating Liberty on Oct. 26, 2019.

Vedral completed 15 of 27 passes for 138 yards as Rutgers scored its most points since a 65-0 win over Morgan State on Sept. 16, 2017. His only TD pass was a 40-yard strike to Bo Melton that put Rutgers up 33-14 midway through the third.

Johnny Langan had a pair of short touchdown runs in the first half while the Scarlet Knights also got two short TD runs from Kyle Monangai along with short TD runs by Isaih Pacheco and Aaron Young as Rutgers totaled 220 rushing yards.

The Rutgers defense contributed to the rout with an early safety and a 46-yard interception return from Max Melton.

D’Wan Mathis struggled in his debut for Temple (0-1), completing 8 of 24 passes for 148 yards. He also rushed for a TD but was sacked three times and exited the game in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury.

The Scarlet Knights held a 12-0 lead after the opening quarter by getting points from defense, special teams and offense.

Olakunle Fatukasi sacked Mathis for a safety a little over three minutes in and Valentino Ambrosio converted a 25-yard field goal with 8:52 left. An interception by Tre Avery at the Temple 23 was returned for 21 yards and Rutgers went up 12-0 on Langan’s 2-yard run with 1:44 remaining.

Temple’s De’Von Fox fumbled the ensuing kickoff return, which was recovered by Tyreek Maddox-Williams to give Rutgers another short field. The Scarlet Knights capitalized less than a minute into the second quarter when Langan scored on a 1-yard run.

Rutgers forced another turnover when Ifeanyi Maijeh pounced on Mathis’ fumble. Monangai rushed for a 2-yard touchdown four plays later with 10:59 left.

Temple finally scored with 9:15 left in the half on Edward Saydee’s 11-yard run, and was within 26-14 when Mathis scored from 3 yards out with 12:02 remaining in the second.

Rutgers went up 33-14 when Melton raced down the right sideline for a 40-yard TD with 8:05 left and cruised the rest of the way.

–Field Level Media