Aaron Boumehri drilled a 49 yard field goal with a minute remaining to give the Owls a 16-13 lead over Villanova, which would hold up to be the final from Lincoln Financial Field.
For the second straight week the Owls failed to score 20 points, scoring just 16 against a Villanova defense that allowed 35 points to Lehigh a week ago. A year ago, the Owls scored 51 points in their first two games, including a 38 spot in week two against Stony Brook.
The second career start for Logan Marchi was much like the first, as the redshirt sophomore 20 of his 34 pass attempts, for 274 yards. He did not turn the ball over for the second straight week, showing his poise under center that is rare to find in a young quarterback.
“Ball security means job security,” said Head Coach Geoff Collins following Saturday’s game. “Anybody that turns the ball over on offense isn’t gonna play.”
In a relatively slow paced first half, the Owls took a 10-0 lead heading into halftime over in state rival Villanova.
Marchi came out slinging early in the game, throwing for 193 yards in the opening 30 minutes of play. The majority of his passing yardage came on the final drive before the end of the half, as he found three different receivers for 62 yards down to the one yard line, setting up a one yard touchdown run by fullback Nick Sharga with one second remaining in the opening half. The last second touchdown would turn out to be the only Temple touchdown on the afternoon.
The offenses went back and forth in the first quarter without scoring until the 1:13 mark, when Austin Jones connected on a 22-yard field goal to open the scoring.
Villanova had the majority of possession in the quarter, while the Owls outgained the Wildcats 121 to 82 in the opening quarter.
It was more of the same as the second quarter opened, as the offenses traded missed field goals, keeping the score knotted at 3-0. The Owls defense, a week after allowing 28 points in the first half, held Villanova scoreless, and just 129 yards of total offense.
The Wildcats took over in the second half. After a 44 yard Aaron Boumehri field goal to make it a 13-0 game, the Wildcats scored 13 unanswered points to tie the game with 3:29 to go. Villanova quarterback Zach Bednarczyk found open receivers early and often in the second half, as he threw for an impressive 382 yards on the night, and one touchdown.
The Wildcats capitalized on two field goals, and a 10 yard touchdown pass to Taurus Phillips, who was tied for the team lead in receptions with six in the game.
The Temple offense woke up following 34 yard game tying field goal by Villanova, driving the ball down the field in just 2:23, and squeeze just inside field goal range for Boumehri to put them in front.
The spark of the drive was a 29 yard pass to Ventell Bryant, who made a spectacular one handed catch along the sideline while being interfered with, to put the Owls into Villanova territory. Temple was also aided by a defensive holding call when Marchi tried to find Adonis Jennings down the field. Bryant would finish the game as the Owl’s leading receiver, with seven catches for 79 yards in his first action of the season.
For the second straight week the Temple rushing offense was unimpressive, totaling just 79 yards on the ground as a team. Starting running back Ryquell Armstead mustered just 19 yards on 12 carries. No Owl had more than 30 rushing yards on the night.
Defensively for Temple, Chappelle Russell was all over the field, collecting 10 total tackles on the night, including a big five yard tackle for loss to help push keep Villanova from driving the ball down the field. Redshirt Sophomore linebacker Dana Levine followed up the play with a quarterback hurry to force an intentional grounding penalty. The Wildcats were able to convert on a field goal later in the drive.
As a unit, the Owls held Villanova to just 20 yards of rushing, compared to allowing 422 against Notre Dame. The front seven came to play, as the Temple defense was looking to make a statement, especially in the run game.
Other notable performances on defense were safeties Delvon Randall and Sean Chandler, each totaled eight tackles on the afternoon. Shaun Bradley also made an impact with seven total tackles, two tackles for loss, and a sack in the week two game. Perhaps the biggest play of the game was a pass breakup by Dan Archibong, to help keep Villanova out of the end zone, and force a field goal, which led to the Owls game winning drive.
Temple has little time to celebrate, as the Owls have a short week, and will take on UMass friday night at the linc. They will look to pick up their second win of the season, and second under Geoff Collins against the minutemen.