Plenty of Potential on Display for Villanova Despite 41-10 Loss to Temple
Wildcats generated 365 yards of total offense in season opener
John Robertson scored on a four-yard touchdown run in the first quarter of Friday night's game against Temple.
PHILADELPHIA--In the fourth renewal of the Mayor's Cup series Villanova (0-1) was defeated by a 41-10 final score by Temple (1-0) at Lincoln Financial Field on Friday night. The announced attendance of 32,709 was the largest in the four-year history of the Mayor's Cup game.
Despite the outcome the season opener for the Wildcats in their 115th year of football offered a glimpse of the team's potential this season. Villanova had a slim edge in total offense over the Owls and finished the game with 365 yards of offense on 68 plays. That sum included 212 yards on the ground for the Wildcats, who had three different players carry the ball for 59 yards or more.
"I saw enough good things out of our team that if we continue to improve over the next two to three weeks we can be a pretty good football team," Villanova head coach Andy Talley said. "We are not there yet and Temple was very good tonight. All in all they were the better football team and we still have a long way to go."
On the Owls first possession of the game a 14-play drive that lasted nearly eight minutes led to an eight-yard touchdown reception by Kenny Harper with 5:54 remaining in the first quarter to open the scoring. Later in the period the Wildcats answered on a 20-yard field goal by junior placekicker Mark Hamilton (Gaithersburg, Md.) to pull within 7-3 but Villanova was then held off the scoreboard until nearly halftime.
Turnovers on two straight possessions for the Wildcats early in the second quarter led to 14 unanswered points and Temple went ahead 21-3 with 9:08 to play before the intermission. Redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson (Paramus, N.J.) ran for a four-yard touchdown with 1:04 left in the opening half to make the score 21-10 but the Owls got a 56-yard touchdown run from Matt Brown just 21 seconds before the quarter ended to take an 18-point margin into the locker rooms.
"We never really got into a rhythm offensively and the touchdown right before halftime kind of broke our backs," Talley said. "I have been there before with a Division I team on a hot and humid day. They play 60 kids, we play 32 and that becomes a problem in the second half."
Robertson came on strong for Villanova and ran for a team-high 78 yards and the touchdown on 15 carries. He also was 9-of-17 passing for 135 yards and finished the game with 213 yards of total offense. Sophomore running backs Austin Medley (Franklinville, N.J.) and Kevin Monangai (Roseland, N.J.) ran for 62 and 59 yards, respectively.
"I like our running backs," Talley said. They did a good job and I think we are going to be able to keep running. The offensive line did a nice job at times and John Robertson was someone we didn't anticipate who played pretty well."
Less than three minutes into the third quarter a 38-yard touchdown run by Kenny Harper extended the Owls lead to 35-10 and Temple added two field goals in the fourth quarter to account for the game's final margin.
"Villanova is a much improved team from last season," Temple head coach Steve Addazio said. "They are still young but they are going to be good. I saw a lot of improvement in their team from last year's game and now that this one is over I wish nothing but the best for them as a fellow Philadelphia school."
Senior defensive back Eric Loper (Sicklerville, N.J.) led the Wildcats defensively with nine tackles.
Villanova returns to action next Saturday evening when it hosts Fordham at 6 p.m. in its home opener.
NOTES: Villanova embarked on its 115th season of varsity football with tonight's game and is now 58-54-3 all-time in season openers ... Head coach Andy Talley is in his 28th season with the Wildcats and is 14-14 in season openers, with all but two of the losses coming to FBS opponents ... Sophomore running back Kevin Monangai (Roseland, N.J.) had a career-high 37 yard reception in the game and sophomore running back Austin Medley (Franklinville, N.J.) tied a career high with a 36-yard run ... Villanova had 212 rushing yards in tonight's game, its highest total in a season opener since having 235 yards against Hampton to open the 2003 season ... The last time the Wildcats surpassed 200 yards on the ground in any game was on December 11, 2010 with 285 rushing yards against Appalachian State in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs.