2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 1 - Villanova at Temple
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Sept. 1 at Temple 42 … Villanova 7
CFN Analysis: That's exactly how the Steve Addazio era needed to get started. Villanova is a good, dangerous FCS team and Temple ripped it up without a problem Bernard Pierce was fantastic with 20 carries for 147 yards and three scores, and the passing game worked with Mike Gerardi coming up with a solid, efficient performance completing 14-of-20 passes for 235 yards and two scores. The defense was stifling with Kevin Kroboth coming up with two picks helping hold the Wildcats to just 275 yards.
FROM TEMPLE ATHLETICS
PHILADELPHIA -- The Steve Addazio Era could not have had a better opening as Temple scored on its opening drive and kept on rolling in a 42-7 win over cross-town rival Villanova in the 3rd Mayor's Cup presented by Dunkin Donuts in front of a 32,638 partisan Owl crowd Thursday night. It marks the second largest crowd to watch a Temple game at Lincoln Financial Field.
Junior Bernard Pierce, coming off a strong and healthy training camp, looked in midseason form. The Ardmore, Pa. native became just the third Temple player to have three 100-yard games, rushing for 147 yards on 20 carries. He also had tied his career-high with three rushing touchdowns, one a 19-yarder off left tackle to give the Owls a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. The second coming on a 22-yard scamper around right end to make it 21-0 right before the half. Pierce's final TD was for 20 yards late in the third to put the Cherry and White ahead 35-0.
Junior Mike Gerardi got the nod as the starting quarterback and made the most of it. Gerardi, who started the final five games of 2010, completed 14-20 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns. He hit sophomore WR Deon Miller on a nice 35 yard strike across the middle of the 'Nova defense for the Owls' first touchdown. He then opened the second half with a 47-yard TD pass to senior WR Rod Streater on the first drive to make it 28-0.
Villanova (0-0) vs.
Temple (0-0) Sept. 1, 7:00 ESPN3.com
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Here's The Deal … The showdown between these two rivals from the city of brotherly love looks to be a great contest for the third consecutive year. Both teams are fresh off of successful seasons, but both have significant holes that need to be filled. Temple went 8-4 a season ago that included a comfortable win over Fiesta Bowl participant Connecticut. However, it wasn't enough to get the Owls to a bowl game so they spent the post season at home. Villanova made an appearance it the National Semifinal en route to a 9-5 record overall. For a program eyeing a jump up to the FBS level this is an important test for the Wildcats since Temple is the only FBS opponent on the schedule.
Why Villanova Might Win: Temple comes into the game debuting a brand new coaching staff and some of the kinks might not be worked out by the time kickoff comes around. Redshirt frosh Dustin Thomas will likely be the starter at quarterback and look for him to try and beat the Temple secondary by tossing up a few jump balls to 6-3 receiver Norman White. Temple struggled last year throwing the football finishing 90th overall in passing last season. The Wildcats have a solid cornerback tandem of Jimmy Pitts and Eric Loper who can shut down the Temple air attack and force them to be one-dimensional.
Why Temple Might Win: Temple returns an outstanding pair of running backs in Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown. Villanova will be replacing all of their linebackers from last season which projects to be a difficult situation for the Wildcats to deal with. The Owls may be weak at the quarterback spot but that's not a problem with ball carriers like Brown and Pierce. Temple will have to replace two early round NFL draft picks on defense but they still have the personnel to stop an offense like that of Villanova.
What To Watch Out For: Bernard Pierce, Bernard Pierce, and some more Bernard Pierce. Temple will continue its ground and pound mentality in 2011 and it will start week 1 against Villanova. The big, physical junior will be the guy for Temple in this game and all season long for that matter. Injuries hampered his 2011 campaign but he still has racked up over 2,000 yards in his first two seasons at Temple. Villanova will be breaking in a number of new players on both sides of the ball. Senior Norman White is an experienced player who the Wildcats will have to lean on. Expect him to do everything he can to help out a new quarterback.
What Will Happen: Its possible that Villanova's defense will be able to shut down the Temple passing game making Temple one-dimensional, but that won't matter because the other dimension is strong enough to beat them anyway. Villanova will get Bernard Pierce repeatedly stuffed down their throat and they don't have the players to shut him down. The Villanova offense will be stuck in neutral for the majority of the night while Temple will be able to move the ball well enough to punch it in a couple of times. This matchup has been a nailbiter the previous two years but not this season.
CFN Prediction: Temple 27 … Villanova 10
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