Rutgers Scarlet Knights explode to score 35 unanswered points in second half to stun Temple Owls 35-10

The Temple Owls went into the meat of their Big East schedule today against the #15 ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights. This marks the first meeting between the two schools who are rather close in proximity. The Scarlet Knights are 6-0 with their biggest win coming against then-#8  ranked Arkansas on September 22nd.

The Owls entered today’s contest with a record of 3-2, 2-0 in the Big East. The Owls came in with the Big East’s #2 ranked rushing attack against the conference’s #1 run defense.

The Owls shut out the Scarlet Knights in the first half behind a stout defense. The visitors rebounded to score on all but two second half possessions as the Scarlet Knights stunned the Owls 35-10.

The Owls began their initial drive working half back Montel Harris in between and outside of the tackles. The Owls drove the ball to the Scarlet Knights 27. On 4th and 1 Temple quarterback Chris Coyer fumbled after gaining the yardage for the first down. The ball was recovered by linebacker Steve Beauharnais at the 21.

Temple’s defense forced back to back three and outs. On their third offensive possession, the Owls drove 46 yards in 8 plays. Tight end Cody Booth caught a touchdown pass that looked to be intended for fullback Kenny Harper. It was the first time that the Scarlet Knights trailed in a game since week four against Arkansas.

The Scarlet Knights fumbled on the first play of the second quarter. The Owls failed to extend their lead when Brandon McManus missed a 48 yard field goal attempt. After neither offense was able to gain any momentum the Owls got a break when McManus boomed a 68 yard punt that was downed at the Rutgers 6.

After a three and out Temple received the ball at the Rutgers 34. McManus would convert a 49-yard field goal to give the Owls a 10-0 lead going into the half.

The Scarlet Knights came out in the second half moving the ball with results. Running back Jawan Jamison was finally able to find holes in the defense while quarterback Gary Nova cut down his misfires. Rutgers completed a six-play 75-yard drive when Nova hooked up with wide receiver Tim Wright on a 35-yard completion cutting the lead to 10-7.

Rutgers defense was able to cut Temple’s drives short allowing Nova and the offense to stay warm and in rhythm. Their next offensive drive ended in pay dirt when Jamison sliced through the Temple for defense for 32 yards after receiving a screen pass from Nova. The Owls suddenly trailed 14-10.

The Owls tried to get back to running the ball but the drive ended in an interception after two passes were dropped in the flat. The Scarlet Knights would score on their third consecutive drive when Nova found tight end Mark Harrison on a 5-yard pass as the third quarter drew to an end.

Miscues for the Owls continued as the Scarlet Knights blocked a Temple punt. Rutgers drove the ball 26 yards in 1:44 ending in Nova’s fourth touchdown pass to his fourth different receiver. A 10-yard pass to D.C. Jefferson began the mass exodus of Temple fans to the exits.

On the Owls next possession, Chris Coyer dropped back and was sacked and stripped by lineman Jamil Merrell. Linebacker Khaseem Green scooped and scored on a 20-yard recovery for the Scarlet Knights 34th and 35th unanswered points.

Penn State transfer Clinton Granger was brought in on the next drive to replace Chris Coyer.

The Owls were without senior defensive back Vaughn Carraway who was suspended by the Big East for one game due to a suspension for a flagrant hit.

Coach Steve Addazio said that there was no way to pin point his team’s defensive collapse on one player. ”It just looks like we ran out of gas, it was a tale of two halves. All I can do is respect the decision that was made.”

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