TEMPLE TOPS VILLANOVA 16-13
After Temple saw a 13-point lead disappear, they rediscovered their offense just in time to pull out a 16-13 win over Villanova on Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field in the first game played between the area rivals since 2012. Aaron Boumerhi kicked a 49-yard field goal with one-minute left in the game after the Wildcats had scored 13 unanswered points to tie the contest with 3:29 to go.
The Owls (1-1) took the 13-0 advantage early in the third quarter only to see their offense struggle, gaining only 11 yards on their next three possessions before putting together a 7-play, 42-yard drive to set up Boumerhi to kick his career long field goal.
“In your head, it’s just like practice,” said Temple quarterback Logan Marchi after being asked what was going through his mind as he took the field after the Wildcats had tied the score. “Go out, throw the ball where it needs to be thrown, run the plays that need to be run. The time changes the pace of the game but it doesn’t change your mindset and where you should be emotionally.”
The only scoring in the first quarter came on a 22-yard field goal by Austin Jones. The teams traded punts on their first possessions then the Wildcats drove into Temple territory only to see the drive stall. At the Owls’ 36-yard line, and it being too far for a field goal and too close to punt, Villanova went for it but Zach Bednarczyk’s pass to Taurus Phillips only covered 9 yards. It didn’t matter, the Owls declined a holding penalty and took over at their 27.
On the next play, Logan Marchi connected with Adonis Jennings along the left sideline for a 43-yard play. Marchi would find Keith Kirkwood for a 17-yard gain to give the Owls a first-and-goal but they couldn’t punch it in and turned to Jones to give them the lead.
Midway through the second quarter, the Owls had a chance to extend the lead but Aaron Boumerhi missed a 48-yard field goal. With the ensuing possession, the Wildcats moved the ball to the Owls 25 but Drew Kresge’s 42-yard field goal try hit the left upright and bounced away.
With the ball back, Temple hurried down the field. Isaiah Wright caught a 32-yard pass from Marchi then on a third down play, Marchi and Jennings got together again. Jennings sliding catch at the one-yard line would withstand a review and on the next play Nick Sharga scored the touchdown with one second remaining in the half.
On the first possession of the second half, the Owls would build their lead to 13-0 on a 44-yard field goal by Boumerhi. The Wildcats twice had the ball in the red zone in the third quarter but only came away with three points. On their first foray, Bednarczyk was flagged for intentional grounding on a second down play at the Owls 16-yard line it resulted in a 17-yard loss. Ultimately, the Wildcats would turn it over on downs. After a three-and-out by Temple, Villanova moved the ball to the Owls 11 but a loss by Matt Gudzak on a run play and strip sack of Bednarczyk by Dana Levine (right guard Louis Csaszar fell on the ball for Villanova) forced a 44-yard field goal try by Kresge which he made to put Villanova on the board.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats started inside their own 10-yard line but they got exactly what they needed, a near perfect drive from Bednarczyk. He was five-of-six for 88 yards and capped the march with a 10-yard pass to Phillips. A little more than two minutes later, the ‘Cats had the ball back. They moved it but faced a third-and-19 at the Temple 32, when Bednarczyk nearly scrambled for the first down. He was four yards short but set up the game-tying 34-yard field goal by Kresge.
Following Boumerhi’s field goal to give Temple the lead, the Wildcats had less than a minute and no timeouts to do something but Gudzak fumbled at the Temple 42. It was the only turnover of the game.
“I’m proud of our team,” said Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante. “They stayed, they fought and we’ll learn from this for sure. I think we improved as a team today.”
Email Rock Hoffman at Rock@footballstories.com