When Temple and Villanova clash tonight in the Mayor’s Cup, Steve Addazio, Owls head coach, is expecting a big game from the Wildcats in this local matchup at Lincoln Financial Field. Addazio feels the Wildcats bring a lot of experience into this contest, which will begin at 7 p.m.
“We’re playing a Villanova team that obviously, last year, was a very inexperienced team,” Addazio said. “Now, they return eight starters on offense and 10 on defense. That’s a team coming back with all their guys. They got No. 8 Norman White who is an outstanding receiver. He’s a pro talent. He’s a big guy. He can go up and catch the ball and make plays on you. He’s a real threat.
“Chris Polony is their quarterback. He’s a guy who gets them in the right place. He brings consistency to their offense. He gets the ball to Norman White and players that can make plays. Austin Medley is their running back. He really came on at the end of last year. He’s a talented guy. They got a better offensive line coming back.
“On defense, Ronnie Akins is their safety. Their nose guard Antoine Lewis and their linebacker Dillon Lucas and Devon Bridges is a linebacker who runs like heck to the ball. I’m impressed with them.”
A year ago, Temple handled Villanova very easily, 42-7. The Wildcats did struggle with a lot of youth and inexperience last year. They finished the season with a 2-9 overall record. Villanova should be one of the top teams in the CAA this season, which happens to be one of the best FCS conferences in the nation.
Temple is coming off a 9-4 overall and a 5-3 record in the MAC (second East) in Addazio’s first year. In addition, Temple defeated Wyoming, 37-15, to win the New Mexico Bowl last season.
The Owls will miss running back Bernard Pierce who is a rookie for the Baltimore Ravens. Pierce surpassed Paul Palmer to end his collegiate career as the school’s all-time scoring leader with 324 points. Pierce also had 273 carries for 1,481 yards and 27 touchdowns. Temple will have to replace him. It looks as if they will use two running backs to bolster that ground attack with Matt Brown and Montel Harris.
Harris transferred to Temple for his fifth and final season of eligibility. He received his degree in communications from Boston College. The ACC’s all-time career rusher (3,735 yards), Harris leads all returning BCS players in career rushing yards.
Brown played extremely well last season. He had 916 yards and six touchdowns on 155 carries. Brown has been named to the All-Purpose Trophy Watch List. The 5-foot-5 running back handles kickoff and punt returns.
Offensively, the Owls will be led by junior quarterback Chris Coyer, who was named the Offensive MVP of the New Mexico Bowl completing 8-of-12 passes for 169 yards and rushed for 71 yards in the team’s victory. Temple also has junior signal caller Clinton “Juice” Granger from George Washington High. Granger provides the Owls with plenty of depth at quarterback.
This marks the 33rd meeting between the Owls and the Wildcats since 1908, renewing a 102-year old cross-town rivalry. The game is the last in a series of four Mayor’s Cup games. The Wildcats hold a 16-14-2 series advantage.
NOTES: Temple’s 2012 class of signees — three draftees in running back Bernard Pierce, tight end Evan Rodriguez and linebacker Tahir Whitehead and nine rookie free agents — set the school record for the largest NFL signing with 12 players.
Norman White, Villanova’s outstanding wide receiver, can hardly wait for the first game of the season. It should be a big one. Villanova will face Temple in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup at Lincoln Financial Field on Friday, August 31 at 7 p.m. Moreover, White is excited about returning to the gridiron after missing last season with a foot injury.
“I love that game,” said White, who hails from St. Joseph’s High in Hammonton, N.J. “It’s one of my favorite games all year being a South Jersey guy. My family comes to that game. We’re out on the (Philadelphia) Eagles field. I went there when I was little and growing up.
“It’s a really big game for me personally. It’s a big game for our team. It’s our first game. Temple is our little rival. I feel like we’re going to come out strong and give all we got.
“I didn’t play last year. I just want to help the team and get back on the field and help my team as much as possible. I’ve been rehabbing my foot and getting back in shape. I sat the whole season out. It feels right good right now.”
White, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound senior, should give the Wildcats a big boost offensively. He has been named to The Sports Network preseason second team All-American squad. As a junior, he had a tremendous year. He caught 69 passes for 866 yards and 11 touchdowns. He received first team All CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) honors.
Villanova really struggled without him last year. Temple crushed Villanova 42-7 in the season opener. The Wildcats had a rough 2011, finishing with a 2-9 record. But things should be a lot better with White back in the fold.
“In Norman White, you have a go to guy, which we didn’t have last year,” said Andy Talley, Wildcats head coach. “Norman is probably the best receiver in the league. He’s a pro prospect and a guy you will definitely look for in third down situations and in the red zone.”
White feels the Wildcats will have plenty of competition in the CAA. The conference has some great teams such as Delaware, Old Dominion, James Madison and Maine.
“The CAA is always a strong conference,” White said. “You have to bring your ‘A’ game every time you come out to play. I think it’s going to be real competitive this year. You have Delaware, JMU and a lot of teams that are going to be good this season. We’re going to have to come out and play hard every game. I feel like we’re going to have a pretty good season.”
There should be a lot of NFL scouts on the Main Line this season. White doesn’t mind the attention from scouts, but certainly wants to make a difference in terms of making Villanova a better football team this season.
“I mean, playing in the NFL has always been a dream of mine,” White said. “If it happens, that’s fine. Right now, I’m trying to help the seniors. I want the team to have a better record than last year.”
There was a special event at the First District Plaza, 3801 Market Street, on March 2 to recognize the achievement of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game. It was the 50th anniversary of this outstanding performance. Fans can now see this special event on DVD.
The luncheon featured a number of Hall of Famers and Philadelphia basketball greats. This memorable event sponsored by the Wilt Chamberlain Postal Stamp Committee was a fantastic tribute to the former Overbrook High and University of Kansas All-American. More than 200 people came out to celebrate this brilliant moment in sports history, but also to support the stamp effort.
Chamberlain is currently “under consideration” to receive a postage stamp, according to the United States Postal Service. The committee is hoping Chamberlain will be selected for a stamp when the postal service announces its stamps for 2013.
Fans interested in receiving a copy of this DVD should send a check for $10 payable to the Wilt Chamberlain Postal Stamp Committee. The address: Wilt Chamberlain Postal Stamp Committee, Post Office Box 32323, Philadelphia, PA 19146.
On March 2, 1962, Chamberlain scored 100 points to lead the Philadelphia Warriors to a 169-147 win over the New York Knicks in Hershey, Pa. Chamberlain shot 36-for-63 from the field and connected on 28-of-32 foul shots that game. It was a historic performance.
USTA Serves awards $35k to area organizations
USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the United States Tennis Association, recently announced it has awarded three Greater Philadelphia organizations a total of $35,000 in grants. During its 2012 spring funding cycle, USTA Serves awarded 44 community tennis and education organizations more than $400,000 in grants.
Of the organizations benefitting from the grant program, the Legacy Youth Tennis and Education, Inc. (formerly Arthur Ashe) has had roots in Philadelphia and Camden since the early 1950s. The recently rebranded group was granted $10,000 in funding to support 10 National Junior Tennis and Learning sites, which combine the sport of tennis with education and leadership development that leads to greater health, learning and opportunity for children and youth in Philadelphia, serving 1,350 youth.
For nearly 30 years, Black Women in Sport Foundation has been providing youth programming resources for, and about women of color in sports. BWSF will use its award of $10,000 to introduce tennis, life skills, and nutrition education to 800 underserved Philadelphia urban youth in after-school and summer programs.
The Katie at the Bat Team, in Narberth, started in 2006 with a focus on girls’ empowerment through sport, but has expanded to include all-girls programs as well as co-ed programs. Their grant of $15,000 will support three programs; In-school Tennis Program, Summer Tennis Camp, and Saturday Tennis Program. The program supports high-risk Philadelphia youth.
Lincoln’s Green named CIAA player to watch
Tim Green, Lincoln University football standout, is considered one of the three players to watch in the CIAA this season according to getrealfootball.com. Last season, Green finished with 21 tackles for loss and a career-high and season-high in sacks with 17. The senior defensive end led NCAA Division II statistically in sacks and was Lincoln’s first-ever Division II All-American, earning the honors from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the Associated Press Little All-American team and D2Football.com honorable mention.
Green, an All-CIAA first team selection and an ECAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, was fourth on the team in tackles last season with 56, including 43 solo stops. He added 15 quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two pass breakups and one safety.
Norman White named preseason All-American
Norman White, Villanova’s senior wide receiver, has been named to The Sports Network preseason All-American second team. White returns to the field this season after missing all of the 2011 campaign with a foot injury.
White had a breakout year as a junior in 2010 with 69 catches for 886 yards and 11 touchdowns. For his efforts in 2010, White was a first team All-CAA selection. For the second straight season, White will serve as a Wildcat team captain in 2012.
White, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, is a Hammonton, N.J. native and a graduate of St. Joseph’s High School. White and the Wildcats open the season on August 31 against Temple at Lincoln Financial Field.