BY ROCK HOFFMAN
College Football Editor
Temple rolled over Norfolk State 41-9 on Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. The only thing that stopped the Owls was themselves, they had the ball ten times and scored on seven of their possessions. The Temple running game was dominant as they ran for 290 yards as a team with freshman Joquez Smith leading the way with 142 yards.
“There was a big emphasis on running the ball this week,” said Owls right tackle Victor Stoffel. “We did a good job.”
The Owls (2-1) wasted no time showing what the game plan was, Smith carried on the first three plays, gaining 17 yards but facing a third down quarterback E.J. Warner hung in, taking a big hit but he completed a 32-yard pass Zae Baines for a first down at the Spartans 31-yard line. Four plays later, Warner connected with Smith who was all alone in the left flat for a 15-yard score. It was the first touchdown of Smith’s career.
“That was harped on all week long,” said Owls’ head coach Stan Drayton. “We haven’t gotten off to a good start all year. We told the players, if we win the coin toss, we’re taking the football and putting that pressure on the offense to see if they can take it wherever the drive starts and see if they can get the ball in the end zone. It was good to see them achieve that.”
The next time the Owls possessed the ball was one of the times they stopped themselves as Edward Saydee fumbled at the Norfolk State 11. The Owls defense forced a punt and the offense moved right back down the field with the key play a 32-yard catch and run by Darvon Hubbard on a fourth-and-3 from midfield. Later, Hubbard would have a 16-yard run which would set up backup quarterback Quincy Patterson’s one-yard touchdown run. The play is a copy of the Philadelphia Eagles short yardage play where players line up around Jalen Hurts and push him forward. The Owls name for the play is “Hurts.”
“It’s cool being around E.J. and seeing him succeed then coming in the red zone and taking his touchdowns,” joked Patterson.
The Spartans (1-2) matriculated the ball down the field on a 13-play, 82-yard drive to make it 14-7 when Otto Kuhns completed a 2-yard pass to Aaron Moore. The Owls helped along the way when they jumped offsides which negated a sack on third down at the Temple 29.
The Owls answered quickly when Smith raced 51 yards for his first rushing touchdown; becoming the first Temple player to have a touchdown through the air and on the ground in the same game since the season opener in 2019.
After a three-and-out and a short punt by Norfolk State, the Owls were right back in business with Hubbard doing the honors this time with a 21-yard run around the left side to make it 28-7 at halftime after both teams missed field goals before the break.
In the third quarter, the Spartans' first two drives ended with punts after three plays while the Owls extended the lead with a 38-yard field goal by Camden Price and Patterson fighting his way in from the two.
Early in the fourth quarter, Temple gifted the Spartans two points when they were flagged for holding in the end zone after the Owls defense had stopped Norfolk State with a goal-line stand.
The Owls host the University of Miami next Saturday with a 3:30 kickoff.
Email Rock Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org