Rod Carey was looking for a comeback win and he got it after Temple conquered Wagner, 41-7, at Lincoln Financial Field.

After being losing to Boston College, 28-3, last weekend, Temple needed to recover on special teams, and correct its self-inflicted wounds against Wagner, which is still looking for its first win of the season.

In warmups, leading receivers Randle Jones and Jadan Blue were not dressed in pads and on the Owls sidelines, due to injuries at practice. Receivers Jose Barbon, Amad Anderson Jr. and De’Von Fox started in their stead.

However, the Owls starting quarterback D’Wan Mathis was geared up and ready to play his second game of the season after dealing with a left leg injury against Rutgers, which also kept him out of the previous games.

Temple (2-2) will open conference play on Saturday when it hosts Memphis at noon.

A slow start

Temple has not scored first all season.

The Owls are aware that their slow starts the last three games are an issue. The Seahawks got on the board, scoring on their initial drive, highlighted by converting twice on fourth down.

The Seahawks’ second conversion was impressive. Running back Ricky Spruill went around left end and scooted for 50 yards, setting up a first-and-goal on Temple’s 1-yard line. Shortly after, Wagner freshman quarterback Guenson Alexis ran up the middle for a touchdown, which was all the scoring the Seahawks (0-4) would muster.

With a 7-0 deficit and Mathis unable to move the chains, the Owls’ offense couldn’t find its rhythm until the second quarter. A pass intended for Anderson was flagged for pass interference, which led to a first down in Wagner territory.

After Mathis rushed for 4 yards, the Owls had first-and-goal at the 1. Running back Kyle Dobbins took it from there to tie the game at 7.

Mathis returns from injury

After Temple’s offense started off three-and-out on its first drive of the day, Mathis, the Georgia transfer, came back under center looking more comfortable.

With the score tied in the second quarter, Mathis completed a 17-yard pass to Barbon, who finished with eight catches for 130 yards, on Wagner’s 40-yard line, and after he cut off two of Wagner defenders, Barbon was pushed out of bounds on the Seahawks’ 28.

However, Temple had to settle for Rory Bell’s 47-yard field goaland a 10-7 lead.

With the Seahawks looking to regain the lead, Temple defensive end Manny Walker intercepted a third-down pass intended for running back Chris Collier, which Walker returned 4 yards. The Owls were in business at the Wagner 20.

After a personal foul against Wagner, Mathis handed the ball off to Dobbins, who scored his second of three touchdowns, on a 1-yard run.

With some breathing room, Mathis started to show he can throw the deep ball. In the third quarter, Mathis found Barbon for a 46-yard pass, but the seven-play drive ended in a field goal.

Mathis finally had his first passing touchdown, a 44-yard strike to receiver Kadas Reams, who scored his first of two touchdowns, with five minutes left in the third quarter. Temple extended the lead to an insurmounbtable 34-7.

Mathis, who was sacked twice, didn’t throw an interception, and despite being without his two top receivers, still threw for 292 yards, working with the backups on jet sweeps and screen passes.

With a 34-point lead in the fourth quarter, Mathis was done for the day and backup quarterback Justin Lynch came in to finish the game.

Advancement on special teams

Temple’s special teams have been a weakness the past three games, but against the Seahawks, the Owls were able to fix their mistakes to put themselves in better field position.

Temple punter Adam Barry enjoyed a solid day. He had a 55-yard punt to go along and two punts inside the Wagner 20. Bell, the placekicker, recorded two field goals, including his 47-yarder, which was a career-best.

The Owls’ return game still struggled. Late in the second quarter, Anderson was unable to field punt and the loose ball was recovered by the Seahawks. Fortunately for the Owls, Wagner missed a field goal.

“Minus one return play, special teams has gotten better,” Carey said.