Run the ball and play defense. The mantra of many successful teams on the gridiron.
On Saturday, Rutgers took on that mindset.
The Scarlet Knights created two turnovers and rushed for 254 yards during a 36-7 victory over Temple at SHI Stadium in Piscataway. Rutgers ran the ball 52 times for an average of 4.9 yards per carry.
Kyle Monangai was the work horse on Saturday night, carrying the ball 28 times for 165 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Ja’Shon Benjamin added 36 yards on five carries and a 33-yard touchdown reception. The offense totaled 453 yards and did what it needed to do, especially in the fourth quarter, but needed a major assist from the defense.
After a Temple punt, Gavin Wimsatt hit Benjamin out of the backfield for a touchdown. He finished 11-for-22 for 199 yards and a touchdown. Wimsatt added 24 rushing yards. A pair of field goals by Jai Patel put Rutgers up 13-0, including a 51-yarder to log the seventh-longest in program history.
This would be the score heading into the fourth quarter with Temple driving. E.J. Warner hit Dante Wright for a nine-year touchdown to get the Owls to within one score. From this point on, a switch flipped for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers would put together a seven-play, 75-yard drive following Temple’s only score of the night. Wimsatt hit JaQuae Jackson for 18 yards on the first play before Monangai took over. He would carry the ball on the final six plays of the drive and total 57 yards and a touchdown.
After a Warner interception, Patel nailed his third field goal of the game. Al-Shadee Salaam and Samuel Brown added rushing touchdowns. Rutgers outscored Temple 23-7 in the fourth quarter.
Rutgers held Temple to just 68 yards on the ground and 5-for-16 on third down.
The defense for Rutgers was on top of its game all night long. The offense eventually picked up steam and showed what is possible if both sides are clicking at the same time. For three quarters, this had the makings of a replay of the matchup at Lincoln Financial last season. This time, the Scarlet Knights made sure they left no doubt.