Despite Temple fans filling Section 130 - cherry T-shirts contrasting against the navy seats - the Owls' rugby sevens club was winless during Saturday's round-robin play at the 2011 USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championships at PPL Park in Chester.

The Owls' day started with a 28-0 loss to Arizona, continued with a 19-0 defeat at the hands of Texas, and concluded with Oklahoma defeating them, 22-5.

"We knew what the competition was going to be like," said Dave Deming, who plays back for the Owls. "We really didn't come out against Arizona, we were a little tight. But I think in that second half against them and then against Texas, we came out and played the best we could. They're really good teams. I'm going to hang my hat on our performance."

As did all of the 16 teams playing in the tournament, Temple played three matches on Saturday: the first at 12:10 p.m., the second at 3:16, and the final match of the day at 7:30. Each match consisted of two 7-minute halves buffered by a halftime.

The Owls will enter Sunday's Day Two in the "challenger" portion of the bracket, having finished at the bottom of Pool D.

Pool D consisted of Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, and Temple. Arizona and Texas advanced to Sunday's championship bracket.

Temple will play North Carolina, the third-best team out of Pool C, in the challenger quarterfinals on Sunday at 12:31 p.m. If the Owls win that match, they'll advance to the challenger semifinals Sunday afternoon. If the Owls lose, they are eliminated.

Exactly four hours of this weekend's event is being broadcast on NBC, while other portions are being shown live and on tape-delay on Versus.

For the Owls, this weekend is a massive opportunity to thrust their up-and-coming program into rugby's national spotlight. Temple entered the tournament ranked No. 24 in the most recent collegiate rankings, but is still looking up at such powerhouses as Utah (last season's sevens champion) and California (last season's runner-up).

For the sport itself, it's an important opportunity to present an exciting brand of rugby - "sevens" features only seven players a side and creates a speed game - in advance of the 2012 London Olympics. Rugby sevens is expected to be an exhibition sport in London and will be reintroduced to the Summer Olympics for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"It's awesome," said Temple forward Bradley Sawhill. "We've never played in front of a crowd this big. It's an honor to even be in the tournament at all. . . . We've been promoting . . . this. Trying to get tickets out, get the name out. It's a pretty huge deal."

Temple fans responded with a nice contingent at PPL Park, the crowd rising to its feet each time the Owls threatened - however briefly, regardless of the match's score - for a try (rugby's version of a touchdown).

"We're more of a defensive team anyway," Deming said. "We came into this thinking if we can keep it in the teens, low teens, even low 20s, we can keep up with most teams and win. We just have to get our offense together."

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at kfagan@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/DeepSixer3, and read her blog, Deep Sixer, on Philly.com.