Tag Archives: Temple Owls

Temple Wins the A-10, Heads to the Tournament

This afternoon the Temple Owls won the Atlantic-10 championship, avenging a February 6th loss to Richmond. This was the third consecutive A-10 championship the Owls have brought home to north Philly.

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Despite winning the A-10 and leading Div1 teams in road victories, the Owls only managed to earn a 5 seed for the Tournament. The first round finds them facing Cornell (At one point in my life as soon as I heard the name Cornell I thought of the Ivy League, prestige, and academic excellence . . . now my first thought is: Cornell, that’s Andy Bernard’s alma mater.)

While it’s a long shot, it would be amazing to see Temple play Villanova in the Final Four. Philadelphia would be a crazy town on that night.

This year I’m expecting more than one and done from the Owls. The team is better than it has been in years. Hoot! Hoot!

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The 2009 EagleBank Bowl

I just watched the Owls lose to the Bruins in the 2009 EagleBank Bowl. It was a tough loss. Temple dominated the first half, and things looked good. Then Bernard Pierce re-injured his bad left shoulder and things took a turn for the worse in the second half. Here are some of my observations from the game:

Temple was not overmatched. Before the game I was curious if the Bruins would dominate the line of scrimmage and be much faster on the corners. When a Pac10 team faces a MAC team questions like this need to be answered. I was happy with the way the Owls competed. They held their own on the line and matched speed with speed. The Owls had the three longest drives of the game, had more time of possession, and more first downs than the Bruins. They also held the lead longer than the Bruins, of course that is little consolation if you don’t hold the lead when the clock reads 00:00.

What made the difference? As I see it, the  costly blows to Temple were the two interceptions thrown by Charlton (one was returned for a TD and the other came in Bruin territory), whatever Jeff Wathne did during the week to get sent home (leaving the Owls without a punter, costing them field position numerous times), and the worst spot I have ever seen on a critical play in the 3rd quarter that cost points (and it was upheld with replay, a true Donaghy moment). Even the announcers marveled at the bad spot for a few minutes. The spot turned an epic 3rd down run by Matt Brown into a near miss (a near miss that was actually not a miss at all, but was declared a miss). I’m more bitter about that spot than any call I have ever witnessed at a sporting event. It was a Joe-Mauer-foul-fair-ball type of call.

Catch the ball! Temple punt returner Delano Green let several catchable punts hit the ground, resulting in substantial loss of yardage. Two of them were almost touched by Temple blockers, which would have been disastrous. Green had a good season returning punts, so I wonder if the wind was a factor in this?

The Bernie & The Bug Show is fun to watch. When Bernard Pierce is healthy the Owl running attack is referred to as the Bernie & The Bug Show. Sadly Bernie got hurt. The show must go on. Matt ‘The Bug’ Brown carried the entire load. The Bug looks tiny on the field. He is lightning fast and elusive. He is not a power back like Pierce. Pierce is the fastball and The Bug is a curve. Defenses look silly trying to tackle him. When every pitch is a curve it isn’t long until fans in the outfield bleachers start getting souvenirs. Bernie and The Bug make each other better. Next year should be fun.

Temple tuff. At the half Coach Golden was briefly interviewed as he walked off the field. He did not wear a coat during the game, and Rob Stone asked about it. Coach Golden smiled and said he was Temple Tuff. I’m not sure what that means but I did find it remarkable that Coach Golden did not look cold during the game. Sometimes coaches wear no jacket or a light jacket and look cold, he looked like it was a late summer scrimmage.

Conclusion. I’m happy the Owls went to a bowl game. I’m happy they held their own. Hopefully it is a step forward to bigger and better things next year.

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The Owls are Bowl Bound!

Temple University football got its start in 1894. Since then the Owls have appeared in just two bowl games. The first was while Glenn ‘Pop’ Warner was coaching the team (Most people are not aware that ‘Pop’ Warner coached at Temple for six years). On January 1, 1935 Temple played Tulane in the inaugural Sugar Bowl. Tulane won the game by a 20-14 score.

The second bowl game in Temple’s history was the Garden State Bowl on December 15, 1979. The Owls defeated the California Golden Bears by a 28-17 score.

Bowl number three will be the EagleBank Bowl on December 29, 2009. If you’ve never heard of the EagleBank Bowl don’t feel bad. It is only in its second year. Designed as the Congressional Bowl (the name was sold to a corporate sponsor), the game is hosted in Washington D.C.

At this point in time the Owls do not know who their opponent will be. If Army defeats Navy this Saturday, then Army will be bowl eligible and will appear in the game. If Army fails to become bowl eligible, then UCLA will be making a rare appearance on the East Coast to play in the game.

Regardless of the opponent, it’s a great opportunity for the Owls. They are one of five teams from the MAC to reach a bowl game this season. Last year there were also five MAC teams in bowls, and they combined for a 0-5 record. It appears the MAC is due for a victory.

When I learned of Temple’s bowl invitation I realized I had to decide if I should go to the game or not. It’s very tempting, considering Washington D.C. is not that far away. As of now I am not planning to go, though I will definitely watch it on ESPN.

Bernard Pierce (#30) is expected to play in the bowl game.

References: I used Wikipedia to fill in my understanding of Temple’s football history. You can read all about Temple football here.

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An Alma Mater Showdown

This afternoon two universities that gave me pieces of parchment with foil on them played football. It was an alma mater showdown. My first allegiance is to Temple University because I earned my undergrad degree there. So I went to a very blue and white Beaver Stadium wearing cherry and white.

The weather was amazing. Sun shining, a slight breeze, you really couldn’t ask for anything better. I biked to campus, then left my bike in the Tyson Building and walked to the stadium. I sat in section NA, which has bleacher seating. I’m not claustrophobic, but I value my personal space. As the section filled in I quickly realized my personal space was going to be invaded. On my right was a rather attractive blond female, on my left was a rather large and hairy male. Guess which one was continually brushing up against me during the game?

The Temple players did their pregame drills and warm-ups right in front of the section I was in.

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A final pregame pep talk.

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Hooter stares menacingly into the hostile PSU crowd.

Two girls sitting directly behind me spent the entire pregame and first quarter insulting Temple. I could smell the alcohol on their breath. I ignored them. Early in the first quarter cheerleaders from both schools danced along to music during a timeout. The Temple cheerleaders put on a more impressive show (accompanied by Hooter), prompting one of the intoxicated girls behind me to utter a line I will always cherish: “Temple can’t play football but they can dance.”

In the first quarter Temple played very well. They won the coin toss, deferred, and then held PSU to a three and out. Halfway through the quarter PSU scored a touchdown. On the last play of the quarter Temple kicked a field goal to make the score 7-3. On the first play of the second quarter the Owls pulled off a successful onside kick (the first one I have witnessed in person).

Vaughn Charlton, Temple’s junior QB, played a very nice game. Against a good defense he threw for 205 yards with no turnovers. He also had to deal with numerous drops from his receivers, one of which should have been a touchdown.

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Vaughn Charlton prepares to fire.

Late in the second quarter the Lions tacked on two quick touchdowns to make the game much more comfortable for the Beaver Stadium crowd. The crowd still stuck around and was quite loud when the Lions were on defense.

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The crowd stands with raised arms and voices as the Owls are pinned inside the 5.

The special teams from both sides were good. Temple went 2-for-2 on field goals, recovered an onside kick, and did not allow the Lions to get much return yardage on kicks. The Lions converted their one field goal opportunity and had a solid day kicking the ball.

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Collin Wagner kicks a field goal as JoePa looks on.

As the game rolled on the PSU ground attack started to take a toll on the Temple defense.

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Evan Royster navigates the field.

The final score was 31-6. As soon as the game ended Coach Golden and Coach Paterno talked at midfield. Coach Golden played at Penn State (TE, class of ’91) and served as a linebackers coach at Penn State in 2000. The Golden era of Temple football began in 2005, and so far it looks promising. The program has gone from outright laughingstock to snicker-inducer, and might soon elicit just a grimace from teams intending to schedule a cupcake.

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I wonder what JoePa said?

I was proud of Temple today. They played hard for 60 minutes. They only turned the ball over once (and had a takeaway of their own), hung close in time of possession, and they kept the Lions from covering the point spread (PSU was a 28 point favorite). Only losers cling to moral victories, but this loss can be viewed as a step in the right direction.

We are Temple. And we can dance.

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Christmas in December

On Friday evening at a Life group meeting my friend Adam mentioned that the Temple Owls were going to be playing the Nittany Lions Saturday night. I had been meaning to look up Temple’s schedule to see if they were making a trip to Happy Valley this year, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Thanks to Adam’s timely reminder I decided to put it on my schedule (I used it as an incentive . . . I had a list of things I had to accomplish Saturday morning-afternoon in order to go). 

I purchased a $5 student ticket, but I decided not to sit in the student section. Since I was decked out in Cherry and White that was probably a good decision. The number of Temple fans in attendance surprised me. Throughout the night Temple chants competed with PSU chants.

The Owl that I really wanted to see was a guard named Dionte Christmas. He came into the night averaging nearly 22 points a game.

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The opening tip

Penn State won the opening tip and promptly went on an impressive run. After PSU’s fast start both offenses went stagnant. I sat there wondering if I was seeing two good defenses or two bad offenses. Temple evened the score, then took a slight lead.

The Nittany Lion was in attendance. He looked sober.

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Excuse me sir, would you mind walking this line?

 At the half the Owls were up by four points, but Dionte Christmas had not scored.

Shortly before halftime my eyes fell upon a furry blue mass standing in the shadows of the tunnel. Could it be? I thought. Could the Nookie Monster really be here at the BJC? I kept one eye on the court and one on the tunnel, waiting for the furry blue thing to reveal itself. As the finals seconds ticked off, suddenly Ike the Spike walked out of the tunnel. And the the blue thing stirred. Nookie Monster!

The halftime entertainment involved a mascot basketball game. The Nookie Monster thoroughly dominated the competition (I knew he would).

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The Nookie Monster celebrates after scoring the first points of the game

In the second half Temple remained in control from start to finish. It was late in the second half when Mr. Christmas finally converted on a circus layup to notch his first two points of the night. And that was it. He finished with two points and four fouls.

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This was not Christmas' day

I noticed that all the scoreboards in the BJC failed to indicate that the second half was in progress. They maintained a one all night long under the half/period spot.

I also noticed that the medical staff packed up the training table and stretchers that sit near the court with about two minutes left to play. Evidently you’re not allowed to get hurt in the final two minutes of a game.

In the closing minute PSU made a furious effort to come back, and they managed to close the gap to as few as five points. But terrible free throw shooting (which plagued them all night) sank them. It also didn’t help that they ran out of timeouts with about 1:30 left, so they couldn’t set up plays at the end.

The final was 65-59.

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Owls win!

It was an enjoyable evening.

I’ll leave you with this thought: Nookie! Nookie! Nookie!

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The Nookie Monster

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