When Temple football players were asked this week if they took Villanova lightly in last year's game, they all vehemently said that wasn't the case.
Temple won, 16-13, on a 49-yard field goal by Aaron Boumerhi with a minute to do, earning new coach Geoff Collins his first win.
"No, we didn't take them lightly," all-conference safety Delvon Randall said. "We had a new defense last year and were getting used to it. Our offense was kind of new, and I feel this year we are more prepared."
The circumstances will be slightly different when the teams open their season at noon Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field. Last year, each team had a game under its belt. Temple was coming off a 49-16 loss at Notre Dame and was licking its collective wounds.
The Owls might not have taken Villanova lightly. But they likely had the feeling that, after playing Notre Dame, they would have no fear of a Football Championship Subdivision team such as the Wildcats.
"We got the lead and then kind of stalled," redshirt sophomore center Matt Hennessy said. "We are a different team."
So are the Wildcats. They were 5-6 last season, but suffered several key injuries. The Wildcats are ranked No. 19 nationally in two FCS polls.
In last year's game, Villanova trailed by 13-3 late in the third quarter before finally tying the score on a field goal with 3 minutes, 29 seconds left.
"It was a faster game against Temple and maybe it took our guys a while to catch up to the speed and size of Temple, and then we settled down and made some plays, got some stops and tied the game up," Villanova coach Mark Ferrante recalled.
Coming off a 7-6 season in which the Owls won four of their final five games, including a 28-3 win over Florida International in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, Temple looks to take the next step in its second season under Collins.
The Owls will look to make use of their biggest advantage: depth. Both Collins and the Owls assistants have talked about using a lot of players to wear down Villanova. That doesn't surprise Ferrante.
"Temple has a fast, physical team and more depth than we do," Ferrante said.
Last year, Villanova quarterback Zach Bednarczyk threw for 382 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. The Owls must pressure Bednarczyk, who was sacked only once in 41 pass attempts in last season's matchup.
Most of all, this game will come down to whether Temple can wear down Villanova and whether the Wildcats can make big plays against an Owls defense that allowed an average of 25.7 points last season.