Temple quarterback E.J. Warner, the son of former Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner, earned his collegiate start on Saturday in a 16-14 loss to Rutgers. Warner threw for 215 yards on 19 of 32 passing with a touchdown and interception in a tight game against the Scarlet Knights.
Warner, a true freshman, made his collegiate debut in Temple's 30-14 win over Lafayette last week and jumped D'Wan Mathis atop the depth chart this week as first-year coach Stan Drayton indicated that Warner would get first-team reps in practice.
The Owls' passing game and offense as a whole struggled in a 30-0 Week 1 loss at Duke and was off to a slow start in Week 2 before Warner entered in the second quarter with the game tied at 7-7. Warner completed 14 of 19 passes for 173 yards with two touchdowns to ignite the offense and help the Owls gain separation from their FCS foe.
In addition to Mathis, a Georgia transfer, North Dakota State transfer Quincy Patterson and sophomore Mariano Valenti have also been part of the quarterback competition that, for now, appears to have been won by Warner. As an undersized former three-star prospect, Warner mostly received offers from lower-tier FBS schools.
But his limited body of work in Week 2 suggested that he may have inherited some of his father's abilities. Kurt Warner famously rose from grocery store worker to Pro Bowler after he first struggled to find a home in the NFL following a college career at Northern Iowa. He was MVP of the Super Bowl in 2000, when he threw for 415 yards and two touchdowns as the Rams defeated the Titans.