PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — With its offense stuck in neutral for three quarters, Rutgers finally got going, erupting for three fourth quarter touchdowns to roll past Temple, 36-7, Saturday night. Scarlet Knights running back Kyle Monangai led the charge, rushing for a career-high 165 yards and a touchdown in that decisive quarter.
Monangai carried the ball a career-high 28 times for a 5.9 average as Rutgers (2-0, 1-0 Big Ten) defeated Temple for the seventh straight time.
Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt threw for 199 yards and a touchdown as the Scarlet Knights pounded out 453 total yards.
Temple (1-1, 1-0 AAC) quarterback E.J. Warner, the son of Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, was 20-of-48 for 230 yards, with one TD and two interceptions.
Monangai scored on a one-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give Rutgers a 19-7 lead. Running backs Al-Shadee Salaam and Samuel Brown V tacked on touchdown runs of five and one-yard, respectively, in the fourth quarter.
“Well, he (Monangai) ran tough and he ran tough last week as well,” said Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. “I want to make sure that we get everybody experience because in this league, you need multiple backs. This is a tough, tough, tough, league. So I think we are doing that.”
Rutgers controlled the fourth quarter with a ground game that churned out 123 yards. The Scarlet Knights held the ball for 11:53 in the quarter.
“I was really proud we got together as a team going into that fourth quarter, and we decided, hey, enough, let’s go play the way we are playing and coaching the way we’re capable of coaching,” said Schiano. “Some nights it’s like that. Some nights, you feel you’re half a step forward and half a step back, and all of the sudden just, boom, so I was pleased.”
Wimsatt connected with running back Ja'shon Benjamin on a 33-yard catch-and-run TD in the first quarter and kicker Jai Patel added field goals of 51, 43 and 23-yards. The 51-yarder tied for the seventh longest in Rutgers history.
Temple made it a one-score game, 13-7, on the first play of the fourth quarter. Warner hit wide receiver Dante Wright on a nine-yard TD pass in the middle of the end zone but Temple couldn't muster anything else as Warner threw two second half interceptions. The Owls had a prime opportunity to score in the third quarter, but a Warner pass fell incomplete in the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the three-yard line.
On the ensuing drive, Rutgers went 75 yards in 7 plays, with Monangai getting the bulk of the work, carrying six times for 57 yards.
The Owls managed only 277 yards against a stout Rutgers defense that has allowed just 14 points in its first two games.
“The quarterback (Warmer) got hit early, not a whole lot of sacks but he took some hits out there,” said Temple coach Stan Drayton. “Our receivers have to do a better job. We dropped the ball. We’ve got to address that issue. These are all correctable issues, we have to get back to work.”
Temple: Warner was under pressure for most of the game, but his decision-making on when to throw it or take the run will have to improve if the Owls hope to make a run in the American Athletic Conference.
Rutgers: It's only two games, but it is apparent opponents will have a difficult time running against the Scarlet Knights. Temple managed just 63 yards on the ground on 23 carries (2.7 avg.) and never got its offense in rhythm. Against Northwestern last week, the Scarlet Knights allowed just 12 yards.
Temple: Hosts Norfolk State on Saturday afternoon.
Rutgers: Hosts Virgina Tech on Saturday afternoon.