PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)Aron Cruickshank had a career-high 206 all-purpose yards as Rutgers opened the season with a 61-14 win over Temple on Saturday.
Rutgers scored over 60 points for the first time since 2016.
Noah Vedral was 15-of-27 passing for 138 yards and a touchdown for Rutgers. He also had a team-high 58 yards on eight rushes. Cruickshank returned four kicks for 113 yards and two punts for 55 yards, and he carried it three times for 24 and caught one pass for 14.
Adam Korsak pinned Temple at its own 1-yard line on a 56-yard punt, setting up a sack in the end zone by Olakunle Fatukasi to give Rutgers a 2-0 lead just over three minutes into the game. Cruickshank had a 57-yard return on the free kick to set up a 25-yard field goal by Valention Ambrosio for a 5-0 lead.
Late in the first quarter, Rutgers cornerback Tre Avery intercepted a pass by D’Wan Mathis and returned it 20 yards to the Temple 2-yard line. Johnny Langan punched it in on the next play for a 12-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Jamier Wright-Collins caused De’Von Fox to fumble, setting up another Langan touchdown – this time for 1-yard – to make it 19-0.
Fatukasi caused a fumble on a 3rd and 6 to put Rutgers on Temple’s 22-yard line and Kyle Monangai scored his first collegiate touchdown for 26-0.
Temple put its first points on the board on an 11-yard touchdown run by Edward Saydee, set up by a 38-yard pass from Mathis to Jose Baron.
Mathis scored on a 3-yard run to make it 26-14 after the first drive of the third quarter. However, Mathis went to the medical tent to get his left ankle taped, and exited the game shortly after, going 8-of-24 for 148 yards and an interception.
Rutgers would run away from there.
Bo Melton took a shot pass 40 yards for a touchdown to give Rutgers a 33-14 lead. Melton’s younger brother, Max, would pick off Justin Lynch on the ensuing possession and return it 46 yards for a score.
Temple finished with just 261 total yards and five turnovers.
Temple: The Owls are looking to rebound after a rough season under third-year coach Rod Carey. Temple went 1-6 in the COVID-19 shortened campaign while dealing with the injury bug throughout the season. There’s a lot of fresh faces joining 11 returning starters, including 11 transfers, nine of which from Power Five schools, led by Mathis.
Rutgers: After matching a program-high three Big Ten wins in the conference-only COVID-19 season, the Scarlet Knights are looking to make the jump in the second year of Greg Schiano’s second coaching stint. They’ll do so with experience. Rutgers returned 20 starters (11 on offense, nine on defense) and the starting punter, kicker and long snapper from last season, not to mention all 10 of its full-time assistants.
Temple: At Akron on Saturday.
Rutgers: At Syracuse on Saturday.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25