The Temple Owls overcame a second-half rally by the visiting Villanova Wildcats to pull out a dramatic last-minute 16-13 win on a 49-yard field goal by Adam Boumerhi at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, September 9. With 3:29 left on the game clock, Villanova, which trailed for the entire game, tied the score at 13-13 on a 34-yard field goal by Drew Kresge. The key plays for the Owls on the winning drive were a 29-yard pass from Logan Marchi to Ventell Bryant and a pass interference call on Villanova which gave Temple a first-down at the Wildcats’ 39-yard line. On fourth down, with 1:05 remaining, Boumerhi kicked the winning field goal to give the Owls (and new Head Coach Geoff Collins) their first win of the season. Villanova’s last-ditch drive came up short when the Owls Sharif Finch recovered Matt Gudzak’s fumble, the lone turnover in the game, at the Temple 40-yard line, with 9 seconds left on the clock. With the win, Temple’s season record is 1-1. With the loss, Villanova is also 1-1 on the season.
Temple opened the scoring late in the first quarter when Austin Jones drilled a 22-yard field goal to cap an 8 play, 68 yard march. The key play on the drive was a 43-yard pass completion from Marchi to Adonis Jennings. With under 5 minutes left in the first-half, Villanova threatened to get on the board when they drove from their 31-yard line to the Temple 25-yard line, where the drive stalled. Kresge’s field goal attempt to tie the score from 42-yards just missed, banking off the left upright. Temple then drove 75-yards in 8 plays to score the lone touchdown of the half on a 1-yard rush by Nick Sharga with one second remaining on the clock. On the previous play, facing a third down and ten situation, Marchi threw a 17-yard completion to Jennings, which was upheld on review. The half ended with Temple leading the Wildcats 10-0.
The Owls outgained the Wildcats in the first-half 242 total yards to 129 total yards. Marchi paced Temple by hitting on 12 of 17 passes for 193 yards. In contrast, Zach Bednarczyk, Villanova’s QB, completed 8 of 17 passes for 98 yards. Neither team was able to get their running game going. The Ows were limited to 49 yards on 18 carries. The Wildcats gained a meager 31 yards on 15 rushing attempts.
In the second-half, Temple scored, on its first possession, on a 44-yard field goal by Boumarhi to culminate a 9 play, 46-yard drive to take a 13-0 lead. Villanova finally scored with time winding down in the third quarter on a 44-yard field goal by Kresge. The quarter ended with the Owls up by a score of 13-3. In the fourth quarter, Villanova surged back to score on a Bednarczyk to Taurus Phillips 10-yard pass to complete an 8 play, 91-yard march. Bednarczyk, heating up, completed five passes on the drive. On its next drive, Villanova continued its comeback when it drove 36-yards on 9 plays to set up a 34-yard field goal by Kresge, which tied the game 13-13. The Temple Owls were able to rebound and drive to the Villanova 32-yard line setting up Boumarhi’s last minute heroics. With 1:05 to go in the game, Boumarhi kicked the winning field goal to break the hearts of the faithful Villanova fans and send Owl fans into a cheering frenzy.
For the Owls, Marchi lead the way, completing 20-34 tosses for 274 yards. Ventell Bryant with 7 catches for 79-yards, and Keith Kirkwood with 5 catches for 61-yards were Temple’s leading receivers. David Hood ended up as the Owls top rusher with 21-net yards on 4 rushes. Defensively, linebacker Chapelle Russell had ten total tackles. Delvon Randall and Sean Chandler each had 8 total tackles. Chandler also forced a fumble. Shaun Bradley had 7 tackles and forced a fumble.
Villanova, which overall outgained Temple 402 total yards to 353 yards, was paced by Bednarczyk who ended up completing 27 of 41 passes for 382 yards and a touchdown. Taurus Phillips snagged 6 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Bell also caught 6 passes for 88 yards. Changa Hodge caught four of Bednarczyk’s throws for 100 yards. The leading rusher for the Wildcats was Matt Gudzak with 17-net yards on 11 rushes. Gudzak also caught 4 passes for 42 yards. On defense, Jeff Steeb had 8 total tackles and a sack. Trey Johnson contributed 6 unassisted tackles and a pass breakup.
The paid attendance was 35,117 for the 3:30 p.m. kickoff on a picture perfect afternoon in South Philadelphia. Villanova, coached by first year Head Coach Mark Ferrante, returns to action next Saturday night at 6 p.m., September 16, when it will entertain Lafayette in its home opener at Villanova Stadium. The Temple Owls will host UMASS at the Linc next Friday night, September 15 (7 p.m.).
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[Photos by D. Jacob Miller Photography]
[Article by Stephen Miller]
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