Cherry and White dominated Lincoln Financial Field Friday as 32,000 gathered to watch Temple football capture a decisive victory over crosstown rival Villanova in the final installment of the Mayor's Cup series.
The Owls played to a 41-10 win over the Wildcats, setting the tone for a season that marks their return to the BIG EAST Conference. Temple fans, clearly constituting a majority of the crowd, came prepared to do their part, filling much of the stadium's lower level and crowding the parking lot for tailgating prior to the game.
"We're extremely excited," said 1993 graduate and season ticketholder Bob Sidelinker. "I think more people will talk about it in Philadelphia, which hopefully will result in more people coming out to the games, which would be awesome."
In fact, the game seemed to mark a tipping point for the Owls and fan support for Temple football, with students flocking to the game in record numbers in what is becoming a new Temple tradition.
"I'm out to support the Temple Owls, said freshman Nyell Spicer. "(It's my) first football game. I'm excited. It's awesome."
The game was particularly special for Temple parents like Susan McManus, mother of senior placekicker/punter Brandon McManus, who was later named BIG EAST Conference Specialist of the Week. Brandon set a school career record for field goals and went five-for-five in extra points -- in addition to an impressive kicking and punting performance.
"There can't be anything greater," said Susan McManus prior to the game. "He's had a wonderful career at Temple. We're really proud of him."