It isn’t true that Temple has been counting down the days and hours until Friday’s rematch with Villanova in the second annual Mayor’s Cup game. But ever since Nick Yako kicked a 32-yard field goal at the gun to shock the Owls 27-24, sticking it to the FCS champs has been on the Owls’ minds.
“We lost to ‘em last year, so it should be a real good game,” said Temple sophomore Bernard Pierce. “They’re gonna be fired up. We’ll be fired up.”
Neither side is awed.
“We didn’t look at ourselves as an underdog last year,” said Wildcats quarterback Chris Whitney. “We just treated it like any other game. We know that Temple’s going to be gunning for us. We have to be ready.”
Villanova coach Andy Talley, who has 15 returning starters from that 14-1 title team, is the first to admit ’Nova used that game as a springboard to winning it all. But that loss — followed by a 31-6 loss at Penn State — hardly deterred Al Golden’s Owls, who ran off nine straight wins and got to the EagleBank Bowl.
“We didn’t know a lot about our team last year going into that game,” said Golden.
“They beat us last year and have their whole backfield back. [Matt] Szczur might be as good as any athlete we’ll see and defensively they don’t give up the big play.”
To the victor go not only the spoils of the city, but an opportunity to match or top last year’s success.