Homecoming Game

If Rutgers had offered Elizabeth's P.J. Walker a scholarship to play quarterback a year ago, it's possible he could be running out of the home tunnel this Saturday in Piscataway instead of the vistor's. But Rutgers wanted Walker as an athlete, whereas Temple was willing to bring the New Jersey Offensive Player of the Year in to compete for the starting quarterback position.

If Rutgers had offered Elizabeth's P.J. Walker a scholarship to play quarterback a year ago, it's possible he could be running out of the home tunnel this Saturday in Piscataway instead of the vistor's.

But Rutgers wanted Walker as an athlete, whereas Temple was willing to bring the New Jersey Offensive Player of the Year in to compete for the starting quarterback position.

Walker signed with the Owls as one of their marquee recruits in the 2013 class and became the starting quarterback six games into his true freshman season. On Saturday, he'll return to North Jersey where he shined on high school football fields to take on the state University while wearing Temple's Cherry and White.

"Rutgers offered me as an athlete and wanted me to come down to camp as a quarterback," recalled Walker. "I went to camp. … They still didn't accept me as a quarterback. They said they'd give me a shot but they doubted I could play it. I guess I didn't fit their style.

"It was a big disappointment especially being from Jersey. I proved to myself I could play quarterback in high school, and if they felt differently, that's just what they thought. But I'm here now. I'm glad Temple offered me and gave me a chance to compete right away. Everything happens for a reason."

Walker is certainly fitting first-year head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield's system. Last week, Walker completed his first 16 passes, threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as Temple lost a 59-49 shootout to SMU.

This week, he'll take on a scuffling Rutgers secondary a week after the Scarlet Knights yielded 49 points to Houston.

"I think we all knew P.J. was special, and had a good feel he would play well," said Rhule. "To do what he did Saturday, I don't know if I could say (we knew he would do) that. It was just a matter of learning offense, the protections, and once he did that we could open it up. What we saw Saturday is where we're headed the next four years with P.J."

At his weekly press conference this week, Rutgers coach Kyle Flood acknowledged Walker was a handful.

"A very talented young man," said Flood of Walker. " We know a lot about him being from Elizabeth High School. He can throw it and he can run it. I think they've done a nice job utilizing both with him in their system."

The Scarlet Knights have questions at the quarterback position after junior Gary Nova was pulled last week in place of former starter Chas Dodd.

But Walker said he doesn't think about what could have been. He also said he's not going to put too much stock on going back home and playing in a stadium where he competed for a sectional title as a junior against some former and current rivals.

"The last time I was there we lost 41-34 to Piscataway, so I'll be excited to play there again," said Walker. "I'm going to go home and play in front of more Jersey fans than I normally do, but I'm just going to treat it like another game. It's another college stadium, another away game.

"I was playing against some of their players four, five, six months ago and I'm pretty close to a lot of them. But I'm just putting it on for the Cherry and White and going out to win the game."

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