VILLANOVA, Pa. - Fresh off a well-played and closely-contested win in a battle of nationally-ranked teams in its season opener, No. 6 Villanova (1-0) will now play local foe Temple (0-1) at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday afternoon. It is the first meeting between the teams since 2012 and will be the 34th game in the all-time series. This year marks the first time since 2003, also against the Owls, that the Wildcats are playing their annual game versus an FBS opponent in the second week of the season as opposed to having that game in Week 1.
"I think it is good for the area, good for Philadelphia, great for our fans and theirs as well," Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante said of taking on Temple. "I know from the times we have played them at the Linc before, we have had just about the whole bottom of the stadium full. I know [Temple] will have a good crowd on their side this week and I expect a good crowd on our side too with Nova Nation coming down to see us."
The all-time series between the Wildcats and the Owls has been an interesting one, with the teams meeting every year from 1928-43 and again from 1970-80. The five most recent meetings have come at Lincoln Financial Field, first in 2003 and then in four straight matchups from 2009-12. Villanova leads the series by a 16-15-2 margin, including victories in the 2003 (23-20, 2ot) and 2009 (27-24) contests. Those wins are the Wildcats two most recent triumphs against FBS opponents.
Villanova tallied a 38-35 win at No. 17 Lehigh last week in a game that featured a combined 959 yards of total offense. After leading by 14 points on three separate occasions, the Wildcats hung on in the closing minutes following a Mountain Hawks touchdown which closed the gap to the three-point final margin with just under five minutes remaining. Villanova then held possession for the closing minutes, including converting on a key 3rd-and-1 play after Lehigh had called its second timeout with 2:18 to play.
Junior quarterback Zach Bednarczyk (Wallington, N.J.) threw for 209 yards on 17-of-23 passing and also rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Bednarczyk threw touchdown passes to senior wide receiver Taurus Phillips (Beacon, N.Y.) and senior tight end Ryan Bell (Basking Ridge, N.J.). Senior running back Matt Gudzak (Toms River, N.J.) ran for a career-high 142 yards and two touchdowns.
A big boost for the Wildcats in the season opener came from sophomore kicker Drew Kresge (Douglassville, Pa.), who went 5-for-5 on extra points and also kicked a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter which proved to be the difference in the game. Kresge was making his collegiate debut after not appearing in any games last season.
Senior linebacker Ed Shockley (Millville, N.J.) and senior cornerback Malik Reaves (Jacksonville, Fla.) led Villanova defensively in the win over Lehigh. Shockley had a career-high 14 tackles, including 13 solo stops, while Reaves added 11 tackles. It was the fourth career double-digit tackle game for Shockley and the second for Reaves.
Temple is coming off a 49-16 loss to Notre Dame last week. Sophomore quarterback Logan Marchi threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns, with senior wide receiver Keith Kirkwood and junior Brodrick Yancy each catching a touchdown pass. Junior defensive back Delvon Randall had a team-high 11 tackles in the game, including two tackles for loss and a sack.
Next up for the Wildcats after this week's contest is the home opener against Lafayette on September 16 at 6 p.m. Tickets for the game can be purchased here.