A slight overcast in the home opener, the Owls hosted the Villanova Wildcats for the first game on the year. Temple fans showed up to support the cherry and white in what’s been one of the bigger traditional games for their program. Coming into the contest the Owls lead the all time series between the two schools 16-15.
Villanova got going early on as their offense put pressure on the Owls, jumping out to a quick 13 – 3 lead in the first quarter. The Owls offense struggled to put points on the board in the first half but their defense kept them within the game throughout.
As the Owls defense struggle to find a groove in second quarter, a blocked field goal by Quincy Roche allowed Kamir Brown to take it 76 yards to the end-zone for Temple’s first touchdown on the year. The blocked attempt was the Owls 19th since 2014, the most in the FBS during that span. A critical sack by Michael Dogbe sent the Owls into the locker room with a three point deficit at halftime.
Into the second half, the Owls forced a punt which allowed Frank Nutile to lead them down the field with a 70 yard drive, capped off by an 18 yard touchdown reception by Isaiah Wright to take a 17-13 lead.
Linebacker Sam Franklin continued a solid defensive outing in the second half by Temple with an interception coming late in the third quarter. Unfortunately for Temple, the Wildcats refused to quit late. Villanova’s Matt Bednarczyk with seven minutes to play, threw his 3rd touchdown pass of the game on fourth down to take a 19-17 lead in the fourth.
Following a blocked PAT by the Owls, Villanova’s Jeff Steeb intercepted Frank Nutile to give the Wildcats the ball back. With one final attempt at a drive, Frank Nutile threw his 2nd interception of the game to ultimately seal the decision. Nutile commented on the tough loss stating, “Villanova is extremely disciplined and they are coached very well. They’re one of the best teams each year in the FCS.”
Graduate Michael Dogbe maintained his focus on fixing the mistakes for next week’s upcoming opponent. “Villanova was a very good opponent. We just have to go back to the film, see what we did wrong, make the adjustments and move forward in the season”.
The Owls will look ahead next week as they host the University of Buffalo Saturday at home. Kickoff for the game will begin at 3:30 on ESPN3.