E.J. Warner: Temple Underdog

Who knew the possible sequel might involve Temple?

Driving home the other night, I turned on the Westwood One national radio broadcast of the Bills-Rams game to hear the best play-by-play guy in the business, Kevin Harlan.

After listening to the final minutes, Harlan signed off with this:

“Goodnight everyone and Let’s Go Temple and Let’s Go Kansas State!”

What?

Kurt, E.J. and Brenda Warner on signing day.

I was backing into the driveway when I heard that and almost knocked over two trash cans.

Obviously, the Temple reference was a tip of the cap to his color analyst, Kurt Warner, whose son plays at Temple.

Didn’t know until today that Warner also has a son with plays at Kansas State.

Warner’s laugh was the last thing I heard before the broadcast faded to silence.

The Warners, Kurt and Brenda, were at Kansas State vs. Missouri. After what their youngest son, E.J., did in a 30-14 win over Lafayette on Saturday, the Warners might be in Philadelphia this Saturday for the Rutgers’ game (2 p.m., Homecoming). He might even almost reunite with a former Arena League teammate, Brian Krulikowski, a pretty good former Owl player who is a regular at Temple tailgates.

Brian Krulikowski and Kurt Warner.

Warner, who started the season at No. 3 in the depth chart. was the surprise No. 2 quarterback and, while he hasn’t saved the year yet, he undoubtedly saved the day.

There is no doubt in my mind had D’Wan Mathis remained in the game and continued his horrible and disinterested play, the Owls would have suffered a 2013-type Fordham defeat. As it is, Warner was more than a game manager. Unlike Mathis, he took care of the football. Unlike Mathis, whose instinct for self-preservation trumps team preservation, he stood in and took vicious hits on two nicely thrown touchdown passes.

How bad would it have been to lose to a Patriot League team?

Ask Buffalo, which lost to Holy Cross, 37-31, tonight.

We wrote in this space a few days ago that Mathis needed to be replaced. In my 40-plus years of watching Temple football, I have seen few more talented quarterbacks than Mathis, but never a player who looks like he wants no parts of getting hit or even being out there. For all of the limited ability of recent quarterbacks like Chester Stewart, Vaughn Charlton and Mike Gerardi, there can be no doubt that all were trying their best.

I’ve never gotten the same vibe from Mathis.

We thought the logical replacement would be Quincy Patterson, who was 7-0 as a starter at North Dakota State last year, and previously led Virginia Tech to a 43-41 win over North Carolina.

Little did we realize that E.J. Warner’s career has progressed so rapidly since joining the team.

No one should know about career advancement more than Warner’s dad, who was the subject of the very best movie I’ve seen in the last dozen months. American Hero is a superb account of Kurt’s rise from college to Arena League All-Star to NFL MVP.

Mind you, we’re not saying E.J. will be an NFL MVP like his dad but, for one day, he was a Temple Underdog and that’s worth some kind of sequel. If he beats Rutgers, Temple Underdog sounds like a box office hit.

Monday: Warts and All

11 thoughts on “E.J. Warner: Temple Underdog

  1. The game : ‘we came, we saw, we wondered ‘. What may this all portend ? 11 just doesn’t have it, nope, so enough of that.
    When 13 came in he seemed so short and I studied him so when he turned so cameras showing his name Warner, I wondered.
    We sensed immediate uptick in the O’s desire to play, that’s what I think.
    And now at least 1 thing seems improved for now, please pray for his protection out there….
    So then, how can there be almost no running game, that’s the next question to solve.

    • Actually, we did have a running game. Darvon Hubbard gained about 50 yards on four-straight carries and then some genius thought it would be a good idea to throw four straight times after that. Might have been headed to a 70-0 win but we will never know.

  2. First off, Lafayette came to play and was pretty darn good at particular aspects – kick and punt coverage, stopping the run (we ran good early on but they adjusted) and their QB can throw and run. That said, Mathis was replaced somewhat later than he should have been, but at least the coaches had seen enough – he got more than a fair chance considering his awful play. I was yelling at the TV, “change QBs.” Our O-line didn’t do a good job on run plays. Rutgers will capitalize on that for sure. The D and special teams D did well, but can they do it to Rutgers?

    • Lafayette’s 35-14 loss to a 10-3 Air Force team last year cannot be overlooked. This is a team capable of sticking with a high-level FBS team and Temple is not quite a high-level FBS team now so the win has value. Plus this Lafayette team is better than that Lafayette team.

  3. 8 sacks was nice to see, QB playing like he wanted to be there was also nice to see.
    Best part was seeing the team looking psyched up and having a good time.
    Just have to hope we them at their best vs Rutgers

    • You hit on a good point. Last year’s team went through the motions, even in beating a good Memphis team. This year’s team is having fun and that’s the Drayton + vs. the Carey -.

  4. Patterson will play and might just finish the yr as the #1. Warner is so fragile, and the O-line needs more skill and experience. We need to pray for Warner’s health.

    Encouraged by decision to start and play the underclassmen. Drayton has demonstrated the ability to make the tough decisions early, he has tremendous instincts.

    Rutgers will expose more than Duke.

    • Now that I think about it, Drayton was right using Warner against Lafayette instead of Patterson. Gets Warner some confidence that he probably would NOT have if Patterson came in and beat Lafayette, which I no doubt think he would have done. Rutgers is not the first opponent you need to put Warner in against. Mathis is a turnover machine. There’s a reason he had more interceptions than TD passes at Georgia and we’ve seen that continue at Temple.

      • IMHO Drayton is getting real close to figuring out the best azimuth forward.

        The Rutgers game will be ugly.., this is not the Rutgers we used to know. The talent gap now is enormous.

        The OC and DC are in the Hot Seat. Unlike his predecessors, Drayton won’t wait past breakfast to make a change. They are being held accountable…, so refreshing 🙂

        How many teams in the conference lack a 100 yd game RB?

      • Carey just sat back and took the beatings. This guy won’t.

  5. Calling all cars, “Robby Anderson, Rod Streater, and BP where are you?”

    Look for Drayton to go after WR and RB speed in the portal.

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