Temple finished with five turnovers to the Wildcats' one.
"We got beat," said Temple coach Al Golden, in his fifth year with the Owls. "They played harder than us, and with more discipline, less penalties, and less turnovers. Hopefully, that won't sit well with our guys. We'll find out [Friday]."
With both teams coming off memorable 2009 seasons - 'Nova won the Football Championship Subdivision national championship while Temple appeared in a bowl game for the first time three decades - their season-opening rematch will be contested by many of the same players who were on the field last season.
Villanova, which finished 14-1 last fall, returns 15 starters and 31 letter-winners under coach Andy Talley, who begins his 26th season with the Wildcats. His 2010 team was picked to take the FCS title again.
Temple has 16 starters and 56 letter-winners back from a squad that set a school single-season record with nine straight wins. The Owls, who gave the program its first winning season since 1990 with a 9-4 record, are the preseason favorite to take the Mid-American Conference championship after claiming a co-championship in the league's East Division with a 7-1 mark.
Unlike Temple, Villanova has experience at quarterback with senior Chris Whitney running the Wildcats' offense again. In '09, he completed 159 of 247 pass attempts for 1,936 yards, with 18 touchdown passes and only five interceptions. He also led the team in rushing with 987 yards to go with six scores.
In addition to the threat that Whitney presents, 'Nova also sports all-American wide receiver Matt Szczur. A versatile 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior, Szczur last season caught 51 passes for 610 yards and four touchdowns, rushed for 813 yards and 10 touchdowns, and returned 30 kickoffs for 816 yards and reached the end zone once.
Szczur did not score against Temple last season.
Behind center for Temple will be redshirt junior Chester Stewart, who has seven career starts. Last year, when he started four games, Stewart went 26 for 65 passing in nine outings for 514 yards. He tossed three touchdown passes and three interceptions, and scored twice on the ground.
"He has a lot of moxie, he's a competitor, and he's our leader on the offensive side of the ball," Golden said of Stewart. "He started some games two years ago, and he started some games last year. He's been playing with a lot of confidence, and seeing the field so much better."
While Stewart will be in the spotlight, the Temple running-back tandem of Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown also will be on display. They played sparingly against 'Nova last season as freshmen, but went on to form a dynamic duo for the Owls.
The 6-foot, 218-pound Pierce led the MAC in rushing with 1,361 yards, and scored 16 touchdowns. Brown, 5-5 and 170-pounds, totaled 529 yards with five touchdowns, and averaged 5.9 yards a carry to Pierce's 5.8.
On Tuesday, Golden said Brown would start against Villanova. The sophomore from Baltimore got the edge on Pierce when his classmate missed several preseason practices after suffering a head injury.
"It's going to be a nice one-two punch," Golden said. "Matt will start, and Bernard will get significant time."
Mayor's Cup: Villanova at Temple
When: Friday at 5 p.m.
Where: Lincoln Financial Field.
TV/radio: ESPN3.com.; ESPN (950-AM);
WHAT (1340 AM).
Coaches: Villanova, Andy Talley (26th season, 179-102-1); Temple, Al Golden (fifth season, 19-30).
Head-to-head: Villanova leads, 16-12-2.
Last meeting: 2009 at Lincoln Financial Field, Villanova won, 27-24
Rushing: Zachary Dixon, 20-119, 3 TDs (1978)
Passing: Vaughn Charlton, 19-28, 2 TDs (2009)
Receiving: Gerald Lucear, 8-175, 3 TDs (1979)
Rushing: Joseph Pezelski, 8-147 (1942)
Passing: Drew Gordon, 24-42-395, 3 TDs (1970)
Receiving: Mike Siani, 9-194, 3 TDs (1970)
In 1933, Villanova coach Harry Stuhldreher, the quarterback of Four Horsemen fame at Notre Dame, led a 24-0 win over Temple, which was coached by the legendary Pop Warner.
Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.