PHILADELPHIA, PA 8/31/2012 – The Temple Owls were expected to win the 4th Annual Mayor’s Cup against the Villanova Wildcats at Lincoln Financial. Favored Temple expected a hard-fought game against their city rivals. After one quarter of play Temple led 7 – 3 as both teams showed the ability to move the ball. It was a second quarter explosion by Temple put the game out of reach as the Owls win their third consecutive game in the series 41 – 10 over Villanova in front of 32,709 fans, the largest of the series.
Early in the second quarter Villanova was moving the ball. With a 2nd and 8 at their own 26 yard line Sophomore Quarterback Chris Polony intended a pass deep down the middle for Senior Wide Receiver Norman White. The ball was intercepted by Temple Senior Free Safety Vaughn Carraway who returned ball 57 yards for a touchdown giving the Owls a 14 – 3 lead with 11:24 in the second.
“The interception was huge,” Temple Coach Steve Addazio said. “That was a big turning point. We had two series where we went three and out. We didn’t convert and that was bothersome. We were in a bit of a lull so that interception whipped us right back in. That was an important momentum turn. Our philosophy is that if you keep playing hard, those things will happen.”
“I saw he had overthrown it so I just let it fall into my hands.” said Carraway about the pass. “My teammates blocked for me, and I made it to the endzone. That was a big momentum changer.”
On the ensuing possession Villanova Sophomore Kevin Monangai fumbled deep in Villanova territory setting up Temple at the Villanova 24 yard line. Carraway recovered the fumble. Three plays later Junior Quarterback Chris Coyer scampered 19 yards for a touchdown and a 21 – 3 Temple lead at the 9:08 mark.
After a Villanova 4 yard touchdown run by Red-Shirt Freshman Quarterback John Robertson late in the half brought the Wildcats to within 21 – 10, Temple answered with a 4 play, 73 yard drive in 39 seconds. Senior Running Back Matt Brown crossed the goal line on a 56 yard touchdown run giving the Owls a 28 – 10 halftime lead.
“The play (before halftime) I was trying to get the team back in it, build the momentum back up,” said Brown. “After halftime I knew we were receiving. It’s always good to go into halftime with a touchdown.”
“When you give up three big plays turnovers, and one they took back for a touchdown, you have a rough situation against a speed team like Temple,” said Villanova Coach Andy Talley.
“They broke our back with the run back. The interception was murder, and we never got a rhythm offensively. Against a good team you are going to see a score like that. ”
Temple opened the second half scoring on a 38 yard touchdown run by Sophomore Running Back Kenneth Harper capping a 5 play, 69 yard drive in 2:41.
Temple showed the ability to run the ball gaining 301 yards on the ground. Brown led the charge with 145 and scored one touchdown. Coyer ran for 80 yards running for one touchdown while throwing for another. Harper scored two touchdowns rushing and receiving. The Owls amassed 362 yards of total offense.
Villanova got a good effort from Robertson taking over for Polony. Robertson completed 9 of 17 passes for 135 yards. He ran for a team-high 78 yards scoring the only Villanova touchdown. Sophomore Running Back Austin Medley ran for 62 yards and Monangai had 59 rushing yards. Villanova out-gained Temple with 365 yards of offense. Robertson’s performance gave his team a spark and puts him in the picture as a starter for the Wildcats.
“We are going to have to reevaluate that,” Tally said about the starting quarterback position. “He (Robertson) was good running the ball, but he needs to be crisper in the passing game. We will look at it. I don’t like to play two (quarterbacks). We were set on Chris Polony, but some things did not happen for him today.”
Temple prepares for a home game on September 8 against Maryland. Villanova hosts Fordham in their next outing. The series ends for time being. Hopefully, these teams can meet again in the future as it is a great way to open the college football season in Philadelphia. Addazio would like to continue this series.
“It would be great,” said Addazio. “You play a non-conference game against a Philadelphia team, 33,000 people, it’s a heck of a deal. It’s good for the city, good for college football, and I’m all for that.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian
Contact me at Glenn@Phillycollegesports.com