Oct 26, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Temple Owls quarterback P.J. Walker (11) hands off the ball to running back Zaire Williams (23) against the Southern Methodist Mustangs during the second half at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Southern Methodist Mustangs won 59-49. (Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports)
Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium in New Brunswick, NJ, Temple and Rutgers will play each other for the 36th time in this rivalry series with both teams looking to rebound after losing in surprising ways last week. Temple (1-7, 0-4 in AAC) wants to bounce back from a shootout loss to SMU while Rutgers (4-3, 1-2) looks to rebound from a surprising loss to Houston.
Temple will try to take advantage of a depleted Rutgers defense. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood is bringing in a secondary missing cornerback Nadir Barnwell. Barnwell was arrested in the early morning on Oct. 27th and received a charge of driving while intoxicated. Barnwell was suspended from the team earlier this week by Rutgers.
The timing of Barnwell’s suspension is not great, especially with the threat of Temple quarterback P.J. Walker and his many weapons including wide receivers Jalen Fitzpatrick and Robbie Anderson, who set the American Athletic Conference record last week with 239 yards.
The Rutgers offensive attack could be led by two quarterbacks, Gary Nova and Chas Dodd.
“Neither is getting all the reps they want if you were to ask them that. I could envision playing both quarterbacks in the game,” Flood said.
Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich will lead the defense against Rutgers offense that has averaged 32 points a game and has a dynamic tight end in Tyler Kroft. Kroft, a sophomore, was added to the John Mackey Award watch list, given to the nation’s top tight end.
Chris Franklin is a staff writer for Coach & Player Magazine and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow Chris on Twitter @chrisfranklincp.