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Villanova Wildcats, Temple Owls meet once again for Philadelphia’s Mayor’s Cup

The Owls have won four straight after escaping with a last-minute win a year ago.

NCAA Football: Villanova at Temple Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, September 1, 2018

Kickoff Time: 12:00 p.m. ET

Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Watch: ESPNews

All-Time Series: Temple leads, 16-15-2

Last Meeting: 9/9/17. Temple 16 - Villanova 13

Betting Lines: N/A


Villanova Wildcats Outlook

Villanova, a top-10 FCS team a year ago, gave Temple a scare in Week 2 of last season. Nova quarterback Zach Bednarczyk led the Wildcats to three straight scores after trailing 13-0 in the final minute of the third quarter to tie the game. They ultimately would lose on a last-minute field goal, but felt confident about the year ahead. Unfortunately for the Nova, Bednarczyk, running back Matt Gudzak, wide receiver Changa Hodge and All-America safety Rob Rolle all suffered season-ending injuries to derail the rest of the season to a 5-6 finish.

All three players are back for Villanova, who enters this season as the No. 19 FCS team. They’ll be one of the more experienced offenses in the FCS, including much of their playmakers and four of five starters on the offensive line returning. This isn’t your pushover FCS opponent and they should give the Owls a tough battle to decide this year’s winner of the Mayor’s Cup.

Temple Owls Outlook

Temple will also return most of their skill position players, but unlike Villanova, they have some serious overhaul along their offensive line. Frank Nutile will run the offense in this matchup after Logan Marchi was at quarterback in last year’s narrow win. He’ll have plenty of weapons around him with the return of Ryquell Armstead and David Hood in the backfield and Isaiah Wright and Ventell Bryant at receiver.

The Owls defense brings back some stout players, especially up the middle in Michael Dogbe, Shaun Bradley and Delvon Randall. It’s the secondary outside of Randall that remains a question mark. He’ll be joined by three new starters in the back end of the defense, including Rock Ya-Sin, a graduate transfer from Presbyterian hoping to make the leap to the FCS level. It could be a tough task for the new Temple secondary to contain a quarterback who is a mobile quarterback and accuracy as well. Bednarczyk threw zero interceptions in his five games before going down with an injury.

Prediction:

Bednarczyk threw for 382 yards last season and it’s likely he matches that number, if not more in this one with Temple’s question marks in the secondary. On the other side of the ball, Temple’s offense should be much better in its second year with Nutile and the rest of the group having a year of experience under themselves. It was a low-scoring affair in last year’s meetjng, but this one should see some points put on the board. Temple has the edge on defense, and they should be able to do just enough to get the Owls their fifth straight Mayor’s Cup win.

Temple 33 - Villanova 27