Nov 2, 2013; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights wide receiver Leonte Carroo (4) scores touchdown after a pass reception with 41 seconds remaining in the game against the Temple Owls at High Points Solutions Stadium. Rutgers Scarlet Knights defeat the Temple Owls 23-20. (Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports)
Rutgers late touchdown drive was the difference Saturday as the Scarlet Knights defeated Temple 23-20.
Rutgers (5-3, 2-2 in AAC) was coming off of a rough loss to Houston last week and appeared flat during the first half. Their ineffectiveness at one point caused the restless Rutgers fans to begin to boo the home team. Temple (1-8, 0-5 in AAC) opened up the scoring in the first quarter when quarterback P.J. Walker completed a 26 yard touchdown pass to Robbie Anderson, who made the tough catch. Walker finished the day 21 for 31 for 203 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Temple held a 13-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter but the Scarlet Knights came to life. After Walker’s pass was intercepted by defensive tackle Jamil Merrell, Nova threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Leonte Caroo, his first of the day. Temple answered the Rutgers drive with a touchdown of its own, highlighted by a 25-yard Kenneth Harper touchdown run.
The Owls appeared to be in control late in the game after recovering a Rutgers fumble proceeding to run seven minutes off the clock. The turning point in the game came on a 4th and 1 in which Temple running back Kenneth Walker was stopped short of a first down. On the ensuing drive, Rutgers went down the field and with 35 seconds left, Gary Nova found Carroo again for a 33 yard touchdown pass. Nova finished the game 27 for 38 for 371 yards and three touchdowns.
Rutgers next week will be home against Cincinnati while Temple will head into a bye week.
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.