Nervous?

Aaron Boumerhi emphatically dismissed that possibility. Now a junior, the Temple placekicker was put in a pressure-packed spot during last year's 16-13 win over Villanova at Lincoln Financial Field. (Both teams will open their season Saturday when Villanova visits the Linc for a noon kickoff.)

With the game tied at 13, Temple coach Geoff Collins sent Boumerhi out for a 49-yard field goal with one minute remaining. Forget that Villanova, a Football Championship Subdivision school, was not supposed to be this competitive against a Football Bowl Subdivision team such as Temple. Villanova had played the Owls toe to toe, and as the score late in the fourth quarter suggested, the Wildcats simply wouldn't go away.

This was a chance for Temple finally to take command. And being nervous was never an option for Boumerhi, even though the distance would require a career-best field goal for him.

"You try to treat it like any other kick," Boumerhi said earlier this week, recalling how he made the field goal.

Aaron Boumerhi during his freshman season.
CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer
Aaron Boumerhi during his freshman season.

Treating it like any other kick is easier said than done, but a must for any placekicker.

"If you start getting nervous, then bad things happen," he said. "But as long as you focus and treat it like any other kick, they you should be all right."

During his freshman year, Boumerhi's career high was a 48-yarder.

Temple showed great confidence in Boumerhi. The Owls had a third and 4 from the Villanova 33-yard line, and Ryquell Armstead rushed for a yard. Villanova called a timeout to ice Boumerhi.

With a fourth and 3 from the 32, Boumerhi said there was never any doubt that the Owls would attempt the field goal. Villanova coach Mark Ferrante remembers feeling positive, regardless of whether Boumerhi made the kick.

"Once the ball went through, we knew we still had 50-some-odd seconds to pull the game out," Ferrante said. "To their credit, the young man was able to put it through."

Villanova then got a first down with the ball on its own 40 and completed a pass to the Temple 44, but the Owls' Shaun Bradley recovered a fumble to seal the win.

So Boumerhi turned out to be the hero, excelling in a situation that all kickers envision.

"It was just a fun game. To end it like that is a kicker's dream," said, Boumerhi, who went on to kick a career-best 52-yard field goal the next week in a 29-21 win over UMass. "It may not be the offense's dream or defense's dream, but I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team win."