The Villanova football team suffered a heartbreaking loss earlier tonight, losing on a last-gasp field goal to the Temple Owls. Villanova seemed to have total control of the game from the 2nd quarter on, but a stagnant 2nd half offense, a timely big play from Temple, and some question clock management allowed Temple to seize the game.
In case you missed the game, check out the ESPN Recap and Box Score.
All in all, it was great to watch Villanova football again, and there was a lot of things to like about the performance today. And losing to an FBS program is nothing to be upset about. But now it's time to regroup and reload and get ready for the grind that the CAA conference is going to present.
Some more personal thoughts after The Jump...
I thought Chris Whitney looked good, not great. He finished 18-26 for 141 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. His performance in the 4th quarter wasn't anything to get excited about though. He looked flat and was not the fiery leader we saw late last season.
Matt Szczur never really got going in the game, and was particularly absent in the 2nd half, although Whitney missed him more than once when he was wide-open. 5 carries for 15 yards is not good. Temple seems to have mastered the Szczur-defense - it's now been 2 years they have kept him under wraps.
I thought the defense looked very good for most of the game. Make no mistake Temple is a very good team. They were flying to the ball, they forced a HUUUUUUGE turnover late in the game that *should* have won the game (more on this in a second), and they look like they are ready to dominate this season again. I'm not sure there are many FCS programs that are going to be able to consistently move the ball on us.
Norman White had a huge coming out party in his first start at WR. He may not completely make up for the loss of Brandyn Harvey, but he damn sure looked great today. 8 catches for 69 yards and a TD in his debut. Very excited about him this year.
But at the end of the day, we're all going to remember this game for the clock management at the end of the game. Villanova caught a huge break down 22-21 when John Dempsey recovered a fumble deep in Temple territory with just over 2 minutes remaining.
For some reason, after a Whitney 3 yard loss (odd play call in itself), Villanova decided to drop back and try to pass when Temple was out of timeouts and they were already well within range for Nick Yako. Of course, Whitney threw two incompletions and after Yako made the field goal, Temple had just under 2 minutes left. And of course, we went to the prevent
the win defense and Temple marched down the field and kicked the game winner.
It's just frustrating and inexplicable to me. There's no question in mind that if we run the clock down, Temple doesn't have the time to get down the field and we win. Oh well. Let's just hope the coaching staff learns from that and we don't see a nightmare situation like that again. Let's kick some Lehigh ass next week!
Thoughts on the game everyone?