Temple 41, Villanova 10
Look out Big East, these Temple Owls are winners.
Matt Brown ran for 141 yards and a long score, Chris Coyer had a touchdown passing and rushing, and Temple beat Villanova 41-10 on Friday night in its first game since returning to a conference that kicked them out eight years ago.
''I wanted us to establish that toughness and see us play that smash-mouth football,'' coach Steve Addazio said, pumping his fist for emphasis. ''And, we did.''
The Owls won their third straight Mayor's Cup - presented to the winner of this city rivalry - in the finale of this series played before 32,709 fans at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles.
These clearly aren't the same Owls who used to be a pushover and were booted out of the Big East in 2004. Al Golden turned the program around before bolting for Miami, and Addazio kept it rolling last year in the MAC.
Addazio led Temple to a 9-4 record and the second bowl victory in school history, a 37-15 rout of Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl.
The Owls picked up where they left off last December, dominating inferior Villanova from start to finish as Bill Cosby, the most famous of Temple alums, looked on.
Coyer connected with Kenneth Harper on an 8-yard shovel pass for a score to put Temple up 7-0 on their first possession. Coyer threw just three passes during the 14-play drive, completing all of them for 30 yards.
''We executed very well the first drive made a lot of really good reads,'' Coyer said. ''Then we had some hiccups.''
The Wildcats answered on the ensuing possession, driving down to Temple's 3. But they couldn't push it in and settled for Mark Hamilton's 21-yard field goal.
Temple went up 14-3 when Vaughn Carraway intercepted Chris Polony's pass and returned it 58 yards for a TD.
''We're a young defense and we're gonna get better,'' Carraway said.
Another turnover two plays later set up Coyer's 19-yard TD run that made it 21-3, and the rout was on.
Just when it seemed Villanova had gained momentum going into the half on John Robertson's 5-yard TD run late in the second quarter, the Owls struck back 43 seconds later.
Brown burst through the line and sprinted 56 yards for a score to make it 28-10 with 21 seconds left in the half.
''I think they broke our back with that run,'' Villanova coach Andy Talley said.
Harper had a 38-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Temple's Spencer Reid, son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, entered late in the game and carried three times for 4 yards. Andy Reid and his wife Tammy were there to greet their son afterward.
An energized crowd - the third-largest for Temple at the Linc - showed up hours before kickoff to tailgate in the parking lots. Once they made it inside, the maroon-and-white portion of the fans had plenty to cheer about.
Temple had 10 seasons of one or two victories spanning their Big East years of 1991-2004. The Owls were forced out of the conference after 13 years for failing to meet minimum requirements for membership, most notably in attendance, facilities and fielding a competitive team.
Temple played as an independent and eventually landed in the Mid-American Conference in 2007. While there, it turned its program around and ran off winning seasons the past three years.
The Owls rejoined the Big East for football in March and all other sports in 2013. They'll host South Florida on Oct. 6 in their first conference game.
Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi