The Scarlet Knights are less than 24 hours away from taking on Temple at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Heading into the 2:02 P.M. ET kickoff, our staff gives some predictions on how this game might turn out.
David Anderson: The matchup last year was 26-14 at one point and all the momentum on the Temple sideline. AND THEN lightning struck twice within a matter of minutes with physically gifted touchdowns courtesy of the Melton brothers ballooning the score to 40-14. Temple held steady until the 4th quarter. The Owls are better than last year, but Rutgers is too at this stage of the season than they were a year prior. Temple shouldn’t be able to run the ball much while Rutgers should (Duke rushed for 172 yards in Week 1 against the Owls), but the question is how much the Scarlet Knights try to do in the passing game (Duke threw for 328) to A. get Simon and Wimsatt reps, B. put on film for B1G foes, and C. run up the score. The third is the most interesting to me, because Schiano seems cordial to Temple rather than some other programs he might be more willing to burn some bridges against. Even without being belligerent, Rutgers should score points in the second half with a deeper offensive line than they have had in year’s past. Temple scored 30 last week, but 16 were a direct result of three blocked punts. Rutgers 31, Temple 9.
Erik Vesper: The Rutgers defensive line has been stellar to start the season, yielding just 48 total yards throughout their first two games. They’ll need another strong performance from the group Saturday if the Scarlet Knights hope to spoil Temple’s homecoming weekend. The Owls could deploy a two quarterback system similar to Rutgers after the emergence of E.J. Warner, son of NFL legend Kurt Warner, last Saturday against FCS school Lafayette and containing that threat will be key to coming home with a win. The Rutgers running attack, averaging 270 yards per game so far, could be in for another big performance Saturday after Temple surrendered 172 yards on the ground to the Duke Blue Devils in their week one loss. Rutgers 35, Temple 13.
John Catapano: Another former Big East foe. I expect Rutgers to keep the offense vanilla with B1G play beginning in a little over a week against the Hawkeyes. Vanilla = big doses of Monangai, Salaam, Brown V, and Rochelle with quick hits to Cruickshank and Youngblood. Defensively, if the Knights completely take away the run and force Temple to throw, I expect a fresh rotation of D-lineman to keep the Owls QBs running for their lives. This will help Longerbeam and company lock things down in the secondary. After a quick start by Temple, Rutgers settles in and comes away with a W. Rutgers 34, Temple 17.
Greg Patuto: Temple was shut out by Duke to begin the season. The defense for Rutgers has been strong over the first two weeks. This, along with the rushing attack, should allow the Scarlet Knights to run away in this one. While it might not score 61 points again, Rutgers should have some room to operate and the defense will load up to stop the run. The Owls will likely start freshman E.J. Warner under center. Temple will find the end zone in this one but it will struggle to stop the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers adds some more momentum heading into the gauntlet that is the Big Ten. Rutgers 38, Temple 14