3 things to look for Thursday

The quarterback situation tops the Owls’ list, while the Wildcats try to claw out an upset.

Spring Practice? Complete. Training Camp? Done. Opening night? Just days away.
The Owls open the 2009 regular season Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field against neighbor rival Villanova in the inaugural Mayor’s Cup. As kickoff nears, here are three story lines for each squad as they prepare to begin the college football season.

Temple:

Quarterback: Last week, Golden announced that redshirt junior quarterback Vaughn Charlton beat out redshirt sophomore Chester Stewart for the starting job. Charlton, who was redshirted last season, takes over for Adam DiMichele. Charlton has made seven starts in his career.

Stopping the Run: The biggest challenge for the Owls will be stopping the Wildcats’ running game. Temple allowed nearly 166 yards rushing a game and has the task of stopping junior back Aaron Ball, who rushed for 1,081 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.

No Pressure: The Owls begin the 2009 season with high expectations. After finishing 5-7 and ending on a two-game winning streak, the Owls are picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference East Division. Coach Al Golden and the Owls want to get off on the right foot.

Villanova:

Upset on Tap?: The Wildcats went 10-3 last season and are returning 15 starters. After earning a bid to the NCAA playoffs, Villanova looks to open the season with an upset of their city foe.

Quarterback: After stepping in as the starter in Week No. 4 last season, junior quarterback Chris Whitney looks to build off last season, when he led the Wildcats to a 7-1 record in the Colonial Athletic Association. Whitney is a dual threat, as he threw for 10 touchdowns and ran for four more.

Line ‘Em Up: The Wildcats return three linebackers who lead one of the best units in the CAA. Senior Osayi Osunde anchors the group after posting 75 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles last season. Second-team All-CAA selection Marquis Kirkland (70 tackles) and junior Terence Thomas (four sacks) also return for Villanova.

Pete Dorchak can be reached at pdorchak@temple.edu.

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