The Temple Owls escaped with a 16-13 victory over the Villanova Wildcats on a 49-yard field goal from Aaron Boumerhi with one minute remaining to take Philadelphia Mayor's Cup.
The Temple offense struggled throughout the contest as they were outgained 402 to 353, and needed their defense to bail them out on a few series in the second half before stealing the victory at the end.
It was a sloppy first half for both squads as neither team was able to garner much offense. Temple opened up the scoring on a Austin Jones 22-yard field goal following an eight-play, 68-yard drive to take a 3-0 lead. It was a long pass play of 43 yards from Logan Marchi to Adonis Jennings that set the Owls up with the scoring drive, but they could not score the touchdown with the ball inside the 10-yard line.
Entering the contest, Collins told the media that he would use both his kickers in this game, and it was Aaron Boumerhi who took the field on the Owls second field goal attempt. His attempt from 48 yards trailed wide left, setting up the Wildcats with solid field position.
Villanova was able to move the ball down the field and into scoring range before the Temple defense was able to make a key stop on third down. That's when Nova missed a field goal of their own as Drew Kresge hit the upright on a 42-yard attempt to keep them scoreless.
The Owls responded with their best drive of the first half as they marched 75 yards for their first touchdown of the afternoon. The key play to the drive was a 32-yard reception by Isaiah Wright that got the Owls into scoring range. A
Collins took a gamble as they went for the score from one yard out, but only five seconds remaining. It paid off as Nick Sharga pounded it up the middle into the end zone to give Temple a 10-0 lead entering the half.
Temple opened up the second half with a nine-play, 46-yard drive that ended in a field goal. Marchi connected with all three of his primary receivers on the series, but had to settle for a 44-yard field goal on Bouhermi's second attempt of the game.
Villanova quarterback Zach Bednarczyk answered with a solid drive that put the Wildcats into scoring range. That was until Jacob Martin chased Bednarczyk down in the backfield and forced an intentional grounding play on third down. Nova would go for it on fourth down and Changa Hodge made an impressive sideline catch in between three Owls defenders, but picked up only 23 yards on the play to turn the ball over on downs.
Following a Temple three-and-out, Nova once again moved the ball into scoring territory. They looked to be in position to score six points with first-and-goal at the 11, but Dana Levine came up with a huge sack that forced Bednarczyk to fumble the football. The Wildcats were able to recover, and Kresge converted on a 44-yarder to give them their first points of the game.
Temple's offense stalled once again on their next possession, but looked to back the Cats up deep into their own territory at the nine-yard-line. Bednarczyk completed the first pass of the drive for 24 yards to Taurus Phillips to get them out of their own end zone. The duo then combined once again on a 10-yard touchdown to cut the Owls lead to 13-10 early in the fourth quarter.
The Owls took over possession, but once again had to punt following another three-and-out. And again, the Wildcats used that to their advantage. Bednarczyk led his team down the field for the game-tying 34-yard field goal with 3:29 remaining. The Nova QB finished with 382 yards through the air.
On the Owls ensuing drive, Marchi connected with Ventell Bryant on a ridiculous one-handed catch along the sidelines to pick up 29 yards. Bouhermi drilled what would be the game-winning field goal six plays later.
Boumerhi boots a 49-yard field goal to take the lead 16-13 with one minute remaining. pic.twitter.com/r7nnsKosqT— Temple Football (@Temple_FB) September 9, 2017
While Temple did escape with the W, there are plenty of concerns for Collins' bunch. The offense was absolutely dreadful as the ground game once again failed to get going. Ryquell Armstead is someone the Owls envisioned leading their offense this season, but only tailed 19 yards in this one.
Next up for Temple is another home game next Saturday when the Massachusetts Minutemen come to Lincoln Financial Field. UMass is 0-3 to start the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPNU.