Bednarczyk, ‘Nova Stun Temple


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Bednarczyk, ‘Nova Stun Temple

Nick France

Any time an FBS team schedules an FCS team, they typically do so to pad their schedule with an “easy” win. Temple likely had this in the back of their minds as they entered their matchup with FCS member, Villanova, this weekend. However, the Wildcats entered the game with a chip on their shoulder after a disappointing injury-plagued season a year ago, which included a loss to Temple. In what proved to be a closely contested affair from start to finish, Saturday, the Wildcats played spoiler on Saturday by pulling off a 19-17 upset at Lincoln Financial Field.

The game began with the Wildcats taking the ball 70 yards in 8 plays on their first drive, mostly on the ground by Aaron Forbes and Matt Gudzak. The opening drive was capped off by a 1yd pass from Zach Bednarczyk to Ryan Bell for a touchdown. This was Bell’s 11th career touchdown reception. After Temple concerted a field goal, Villanova continued to move the ball at will. The Wildcats’ second drive ended in a spectacular throw on the run by Zach Bednarczyk for a 17 yard, Brandon Chadbourne touchdown reception.

Momentum began to shift when Villanova safety Julian Williams was ejected on a targeting call late in the first. Then, things seemed to get worse when Drew Kresge’s 31-yard field goal was blocked by Temple’s Quincy Roche, and returned 76 yards by Kimere Brown for a touchdown. This whittled Villanova’s lead to 13-10, where it stayed to close out the half.

 After trading punts to begin the third, Temple went on a 12 play, 70-yard drive. Frank Nutile’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Wright gave Temple its first lead of the game, bringing the score to 17-13.

The fourth quarter, however, was all Villanova, especially on defense. The defense put a stop to the Owls’ first drive of the quarter, resulting in Temple’s Aaron Boumerhi shanking a 29-yard field goal wide right. On the Wildcats’ next drive, fifth-year senior, and team captain, Zach Bednarczyk made a signature play on 4th down. The southpaw quarterback escaped from three defenders, scrambled to his left and fired a bullet of a pass to Jarrett McClenton. McClenton caught the ball and ran it in for a 30-yard touchdown. After the ensuing PAT was blocked, the score sat at 19-17, Villanova on top.

As they tried to regain the lead, Temple’s next two drives were cut short by interceptions at the hands of Jeff Steeb and Elijah Trent, eventually allowing Villanova to run out the clock and seal the victory.

Bednarczyk finished with 254 yards and three touchdowns, certainly garnering national attention in the FCS-over-FBS upset. His favorite target, Ryan Bell, finished with nine receptions

for 81 yards and a touchdown. In addition, Aaron Forbes finished with 112 rushing yards off of 16 carries, the 4th time in his career he eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Post-game, Mark Ferrante had a lot of praise for his players, but the most praise went to Chucky Smith. Smith, a backup, came into fill-in for safety Julian Williams. Ferrante told the press post game, “Whenever you can have a guy like Chucky Smith, who is an awesome guy in the classroom, the locker room and the field, it obviously does a lot for your program.”

The Mayor’s Cup victory marks the fourth win over an FBS opponent in the Villanova program history, three of which have come against Temple. The series between Villanova and Temple is now even at 16-16-2, with Temple’s three-game victory streak coming to an end. With no matchup scheduled against Temple in the foreseeable future, the Mayor’s Cup will reside on the Main Line for a while now.