Written by: Adrian Maghacot
Photo by: Mike Nance
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – After 343 days and an eight game losing streak, the Owls won as they beat FCS foe Lafayette 30-14 at Lincoln Financial Field.
After a rough start for the Owls, the game changed with 12 minutes left in the second quarter when Stan Drayton subbed out quarterback D’Wan Mathis in favor of true freshman EJ Warner, son of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner.
EJ Warner threw for two touchdowns and 173 yards in his first collegiate game.
“He came up there with a lot of confidence and he didn’t look like a true freshman,” offensive lineman Isaac Moore said. “EJ really stepped up today.”
The last time Temple faced off against Lafayette was back on October 16th, 1965. This was when the Owls had their own stadium before moving to the Linc in 1978.
After Lafayette received the ball to start off the game, Temple scored on their first possession with a 3-yard touchdown by running back Darvon Hubbard. This score gave Temple the lead and their first points of the season.
The Owls had an opportunity to go up two scores after another three-and-out, but Mathis fumbled and it was recovered by Lafayette middle linebacker Marco Olivas.
Just two plays later, Lafayette took advantage of that turnover. Quarterback Ryan Schuster found wide receiver Julius Young in the endzone for a 14-yard touchdown, evening up the score at 7.
The second quarter opened up with a Lafayette punt, but they got the ball right back after Mathis fumbled during a rush up the middle.
After being placed at QB in the second quarter, EJ Warner lobbed the ball deep into the back right corner of the endzone to wide receiver Ian Stewart for a 15-yard touchdown, extending the Owls’ lead to seven.
A blocked punt by utility man De’Von Fox, the first for Temple since November 2018, led to Edward Saydee punching the ball into the endzone for a 9-yard touchdown to end the first half up 21-7.
Despite turning the ball over twice and possessing the ball for less time, Temple finished the first half with 208 yards while Lafayette had just 42, including six rushing yards.
The third quarter started similar to the second for Temple as Hubbard fumbled the ball in the Owls’ first possession in a rushing play.
This error later resulted in Schuster finding a wide open Mason Gilbert for a 5-yard touchdown, reducing Temple’s lead back to seven.
With 11 minutes left in the game, Fox managed to block punter Brian Henesey again for his second blocked punt of the day.
Warner later fired a dart through the Lafayette secondary to tight end Jordan Smith for a 17-yard touchdown. This marked the third Owl to score their first touchdown of their career today.
Later in the quarter, Fox blocked Henesey again for his third blocked punt and resulted in a safety. This sets a new college football individual and team record for most blocked punts in a game.
Fox struck again with just minutes left in the game with his third punt block of the day. The ball wound up in the endzone, giving Temple two final points via a safety.
“He’s doing a pretty good job blocking,” Drayton said about De’Von Fox. “He was impactful today at special teams and he enjoys that.”
Temple (1-1) will stay home and face Rutgers (2-0) in their Homecoming game next Saturday, September 17th, at 2:00 PM.