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Temple retains Mayor's Cup with rout

8/31/2012

Temple kicked off its first season back in the Big East by winning the last Mayor's Cup.

Matt Brown keyed the Owls' 41-10 rout of city rival Villanova with 141 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries. Quarterback Chris Coyer added 80 yards and a touchdown with his legs, while passing for 61 yards and another score.

Boston College transfer Montel Harris, the active FBS career rushing leader, was in street clothes for the second half because of what Steve Addazio called a strained hamstring, though the second-year coach said he expects Harris back for next Saturday's tilt with Maryland.

Harris played in just two games last season after undergoing preseason arthroscopic knee surgery, and he re-injured his knee in the spring, so his health will definitely be something to monitor as the week — and the season — progresses.

The good news for the Owls, however, was that they were able to record their fifth straight win dating back to last season, this one powered by a ground attack that racked up 302 yards behind an offensive line featuring four new starters. Temple was actually outgained for the game by the Wildcats, who had 369 total yards to Temple's 363.

A crowd of 32,709 packed Lincoln Financial Field — Temple's third-biggest at the Philadelphia Eagles' home — for the last scheduled meeting between these two Philadelphia-area schools. They were treated to a number of big plays from the Owls, who received a 58-yard pick-six from Vaughn Carraway in the second quarter, a 56-yard Brown touchdown run right before halftime and three second-half rushing scores that went for 24 or more yards.

Temple's Big East schedule doesn't start until October and will certainly present a new kind of challenge, but this was exactly the kind of start the Owls needed to open the first season of a new era.