Written by: Sean McMenamin
Photo by: Kyle Ross (USA Today)
For the first time since 2016, Temple recorded a defensive shutout in a 28-0 victory over Massachusetts as they improved to 2-2 this season.
Highlight-reel touchdowns from Layton Jordan and Adonicas Sanders helped the Owls pull away during a dominant second half performance.
“Feels good to get a win,” Stan Drayton said. “A lot to grow from, a lot to learn from.”
Temple started the game with a bang as on the first play from scrimmage, linebacker Jordan Magee sacked quarterback Gino Campiotti for a 10-yard loss. Campiotti rallied and gained two first downs on the ground before the Temple defense forced a stop on third and long.
In Temple’s first two offensive drives they went three and out. On the first drive, redshirt sophomore D’Wan Mathis, who recently converted from quarterback to wide receiver, committed a false start on third-and-1 and pushed the offense backward.
On the second drive, EJ Warner was sacked by defensive lineman Marcus Bradley on the Temple 1-yard line and Mackenzie Morgan punted it away 55 yards. This was the first time Warner was sacked in his short collegiate career.
Massachusetts completed a third and short and fourth-and-2 on their next offensive possession. Campiotti failed to convert on a third and long and following a delay of game penalty, Massachusetts was forced to punt the ball away.
On the Minutemen’s next offensive possession, Temple’s Magee earned a stop on 4th-and-3 and the Owls’ offense took over.
The Temple offense earned their first first down of the game with 2 minutes left in the first quarter. EJ Warner then threw an interception to defensive back Jordan Mahoney and the Owls offense could not convert following the turnover on downs.
At the end of the first quarter, Warner was 2 of 7 for 17 yards and the team had zero rushing yards on five attempts.
On 4th-and-6, Massachusetts punted the ball away and on the bounce it deflected off of wide receiver Ian Stewart, and as a result Massachusetts recovered the ball. Just three plays later, Campiotti’s pass was intercepted by safety Alex Odom for Temple’s first forced turnover of the season and his first career interception.
During Temple’s next possession, Warner threw his second interception of the day after his pass tipped off of Stewart’s hands and into the waiting arms of defensive back Noah Boykin. This was Temple’s third straight possession with a turnover.
Through the team’s first four games, the Owls have turned the ball over 10 times.
Following a late hit by outside linebacker Layton Jordan, which handed Massachusetts a free first down, the Minutemen were stopped on third and short. Kicker Cameron Carson’s 48-yard attempt fell short.
Temple took over and Warner connected with wide receiver Adonicas Sanders on the right sideline for a 34-yard gain and the Owls longest play of the first half.
Following another first down to David Martin-Robinson, a few plays later Warner connected with Stewart for an 11-yard touchdown and the first score of the game. It was a 9 play, 69 yard drive that lasted 2 minutes and 51 seconds.
“We have to do what we have to do to win ball games,” Drayton said. “Our players know that and there’s an unselfish mindset from the players.”
Temple opened up the second half strong with a 30-yard pass from Warner to Martin-Robinson on 4th-and-1 at their own 29 yard-line. Warner and redshirt-junior Quincy Patterson alternated snaps at quarterback on the drive as both were able to get into a rhythm.
Following some first downs from Stewart and running back Edward Saydee, Patterson culminated the 80-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to extend Temple’s lead to 14-0.
Following a Temple turnover on downs, on Massachusetts’ ensuing play, Campiotti threw an interception to Layton Jordan as he snagged the pass with one-hand and took it to the house for a 41-yard interception return. This made it a 21-0 game as Jordan recorded his first career interception and touchdown.
“The one handed interception was great,” Layton Jordan said. “I have to give credit to the blockers for making space in front of me.”
On the Owl’s next offensive possession, Quincy Patterson fumbled the ball as Mahoney punched the pigskin loose and the Minutemen recovered it. This was Temple’s fourth turnover of the game, but nonetheless they went into the fourth quarter with a 21-0 lead.
Just 41 seconds into the final quarter, Warner connected with wide receiver Adonicas Sanders on a deep 50-yard touchdown pass to increase the Owls lead to 28-0. This was the longest touchdown of the season for the Owls.
“It was definitely awesome to execute that play,” Warner said.
On Temple’s next offensive possession, they drove into the red zone and set up a field goal attempt for Rory Bell. Bell missed the 39-yard attempt as it smashed the right upright and the score remained the same.
Massachusetts drove into Temple territory before the Owls got a third down stop and pushed the Minutemen backwards. Carson missed his second kick of the game on a 37-yard attempt as it went wide.
The Owls will travel to Memphis this Saturday at 12 PM to open up conference play. The game can be watched on ESPNU and pregame, halftime, and postgame shows can be heard on WHIP Radio.