Temple vs. Villanova: Owls Prey on Wildcats, Win 2012 Mayor’s Cup

Before an announced crowd of 32,709 the local college football season kicked off with the host Temple Owls battering the Villanova Wildcats 41-10 in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup game at Lincoln Financial Field. The game marked the 33rd meeting all-time between the Owls and the Wildcats. Overall, Villanova held a 16-14-2 edge coming into the game.

Villanova went three and out on the first possession of the game. Temple then marched 78 yards in 14 plays to take an early 6-0 lead. The score came on an 8 yard shovel pass from Chris Coyer to Kenneth Harper. Brian McManus converted the extra point.

On their second possession, the Wildcats drove from their own 12 yard line to the Owls 3 yard line where their drive stalled. Mark Hamilton then kicked a 20 yard field goal to make the score 7-3 with 2:19 left in the opening quarter. The key play in the drive was a 36 yard run by Austin Medley.

The Owls got back on the scoreboard at the 11:24 mark of the second quarter when Vaughn Carraway picked off an errant pass by Chris Polony and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown. McManus booted the extra point to make it 14-3 in favor of the Owls. On the very next possession, Villanova’s Kevin Monangai fumbled the ball and Carraway recovered the ball for Temple. Temple scored again three plays later on a 19 yard keeper by Chris Coyer. McManus booted the point after to put the Owls on top 21-3.

Just before the end of the first half, Villanova, showing some new life, drove 69 yards in 7 plays with QB John Robertson running it in for a touchdown from 4 yards out. Mark Hamilton converted the extra point to make the score 21-10. Temple, however, not to be outdone, came right back and scored twenty-one seconds before the end of the first half on a dazzling 56 yard run by Matt Brown (141 rushing yards, TD), effectively taking the wind out of Villanova’s sails. The half ended with Temple leading by a commanding score of 28-10.

Temple wasted no time at the start of the second half, quickly driving 69 yards to score. Kenneth Harper raced 38 yards for the touchdown with 12:19 left in the 3rd quarter to give the Owls a 35-10 lead. It was Harper’s second touchdown of the game.

Temple added to its lead when Matt Brown scampered 45 yards on a punt return to put the Owls deep in Villanova territory. A few plays later, Brandon McManus kicked a 24 yard field goal to make it 38-10. The field goal was McManus’ 47th of his career to set a new Temple record. McManus booted another field goal on the Owls next possession from 31 yards to boost the Owls lead to 41-10.

In the final analysis, Temple, led by running back Matt Brown and QB Chris Coyer was just too quick, too deep, and too determined to be stopped. The Owls, who return to the Big East this season, dominated play on both sides of the ball throughout the game. Villanova tried valiantly to keep pace but just did not have the weapons to do so.

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter was on hand for the coin toss. Many famous alumni from both school also attended the game including Brian Westbrook from Villanova and Bill Cosby from Temple.

Villanova next plays the Fordham Rams at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 8 at Villanova Stadium. Temple will host the Maryland Terrapins at the Linc at noon on the same day.

You can view a full photo gallery of the 2012 Mayor’s Cup below (click thumbnails to enlarge):

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