PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Villanova Wildcats will face a big challenge on Saturday when they step up a level and travel across Philadelphia to take on the Temple Owls at the Linc.
The Wildcats opened the 2017 season with a good win last Saturday, beating Lehigh on the road in Mark Ferrante’s debut as Villanova head coach, 38-35.
“Looked like our offense was able to play with some good consistency and good balance,” Ferrante tells KYW Newsradio. “That’s something we talked about in the off-season. Last year, in our nine wins we averaged over 30 points a game and in our four losses from last year we only scored two offensive touchdowns and 21 total points. So we were looking to build off consistency offensively, which I think we did coming out of that game. The other thing that I was excited about from the overall team perspective – it was a pretty clean game for a first game. Normally, there’s a lot more mistakes.”
A lot of players had big games in the win over the Mountain Hawks including senior running back Matt Gudzak. He rushed for a career high 142 yards on just 12 carries and scored two touchdowns.
“Matt came into the season healthy,” Ferrante says. “Last year, he missedthe beginning of the season because he was coming off an injury and ended up finishing out the year for us. When Matt’s healthy, he is really good. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, he runs hard. He’s not the biggest guy, he’s not small, but he’s not the biggest guy. I think Aaron Forbes our other running back, who also did a phenomenal job (against Lehigh), is 215 (pounds). Matt’s about 200, maybe a little more than that. But he runs very physical, he has good speed.”
Villanova will be facing a Temple team that lost on the road to Notre Dame 49-16 to open its season last weekend. Ferrante talks about matching-up against an FBS opponent like the Owls.
“If you can keep it close early and if you can keep it close to the fourth quarter, now you’re getting confidence, the guys are thinking that they can compete at this level,” he says. “I don’t think we’ll lack in that area because we have a pretty mature team. I mean four of our five defensive backs are seniors, we have a very experienced linebacker corps, we have nine starters back on offense. So I think our guys today think they can go in there and compete with an FBS school, in this case Temple.”
Villanova and Temple haven’t met since the 2012 season when the Owls grabbed a 41-10 decision at the Linc.
Saturday’s game gets underway at 3:30pm.