Villanova vs. Temple – What an ending!

So here’s an interesting clock management strategy situation that happened in this game that had a wild ending not only with the lead changing hands three times in the last 4 minutes of the game but a crazy gambling cover on the last play that didn’t impact who won the game.

First the clock management issue.  So Villanova got the ball back on a Temple fumble at Temple’s 22 yard line with 2:17 left in the game and trailing 22-21.  A field goal could potentially win the game.   A first down rush lost 2 yards and Temple called timeout.  From the play-by-play summary, it appears to be Temple’s 3rd timeout.  So here’s the dilemma.  A 41 yard filed goal is no gimme.  But on both 2nd and 3rd downs, Villanova had incomplete passes that stopped the clock.  They did make the 41 yard field goal to take a 24-22 lead but Temple got the ball back after the kickoff with 1:43 remaining and proceeded to drive down the field to kick a field goal to take a 25-24 lead with :03 left.  If Villanova had run the ball twice (and maybe even gained some positive yardage), Temple would have got the ball back with less than :40 left.  It would have been a lot tougher for them to score the game winning field goal with a full minute less.  This one is tough because Villanova was trying to get closer and get a first down and felt the best way to do so was by passing the ball.  But knowing that their kicker did eventually make a 41 yard field goal, running the ball would have almost guaranteed the win even if they just ran it on one of the two downs.

As a side note, on the final play of the game which was the kickoff, Villanova tried to lateral the ball multiple times and eventually Temple recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown to make the score 31-24.  It took the official’s 15 minutes to confirm the score.  The significance?  Temple was favored by 4.5 points.  For those of you who took Villanova, it was a cruel twist of fate as Temple ended up covering.