The Rutgers football team dominated Wagner in week two with a record-setting final score of 66-7. The Scarlet Knights (2-0, 0-0) are back on the road this weekend as they take on Temple at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Rutgers is coming off its second consecutive win, while the Owls (1-1, 0-0) won their first game on Saturday against Lafayette 30-14.
To better understand the Temple team playing this weekend, The Daily Targum spoke to Nick Gangewere, sports editor for The Temple News, the university’s student newspaper.
The Owls needed to make a change at head coach entering 2022. After having a combined record of 4-15 the previous two seasons, the school decided that Stan Drayton was the right person for the job.
Drayton is a long-time collegiate coach with some NFL experience as well. His coaching philosophy parallels what head coach Greg Schiano expects the Knights to be this season: a team that is looking to win and has a four-letter word as its identity.
“With (Drayton), there comes a kind of energy that he brings ... in the locker room, in the press conferences, on the field,” Gangewere said. “He really brings this idea of 'we want to win, and we want to win our way' … Temple tough, it’s a culture. It’s T-U-F-F. It’s what they preach.”
In his press conference this week, Schiano mentioned that he had known Drayton for a long time. He also acknowledged Temple’s special teams coordinator Adam Scheier knows what the Rutgers football team did well, having been with the team a season ago.
The Owls special teams unit played a big part in the team’s first win of the season.
“De’Von Fox won AAC (Special Teams Player of the Week)” Gangewere said. “He actually had three punt blocks against Lafayette, which was really impressive … Scheier, of course, he's coming in and has an idea of how Rutgers runs its special teams unit. Apparently, from what (Drayton) was telling us in the latest press conference, it’s going to be an interesting battle of special teams because that's all about field position.”
The Knights have youth at the quarterback position with sophomores Gavin Wimsatt and Evan Simon. For the Owls, the play of their young signal caller E.J Warner, son of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, caught the eye of the Temple media after coming off the bench last week in his collegiate debut.
“It’s really interesting because D’Wan Mathis was named the starter early on,” Gangewere said. “But after watching him play in six quarters against Lafayette and Duke, I just thought 'it's time for a change' … when E.J Warner stepped in, he was able to hang in the pocket and show some poise ... Drayton said he wasn’t even fully expecting that, but he’s seen a little of it in practice. He’s seen (Warner) be able to play.”
Both teams played each other last season, with Rutgers getting the best of the Owls, winning 61-14. With a new coaching staff in place for Temple, the game should not be as lopsided as it was under the previous regime.
“I think it’ll be a closer game than last year,” said Gangewere. “That’s not saying a lot. I still think Rutgers is going to walk away with a win and a pretty hefty win at that … I just think Temple is not where they want to be talent-wise to compete with Rutgers … I’m going to go with 38-10 Rutgers.”
Gangewere can be found on Twitter using this link here.
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