Tortured History

There is a LOT more Cherry than blue in this photo and, even if there is more than that today, I expect more than one blind, deaf and dumb nitwit to write it was like a PSU home game. So wear Cherry and be loud.

There is a LOT more Cherry than blue in this photo and, even if there is more than that today, expect a blind, deaf and dumb nitwit to write it was like a PSU home game. So wear Cherry and be loud.

One of those shows on the Comedy Channel that serves as filler programming between the few good offerings on that network is something called “Drunk History” and, from watching about a minute of an episode here and there, the gist of the thing is that a perfectly sober narrator tells a story from history acting like a drunk.

Here is the Infamous quote by Joe Paterno.

Here is the Infamous quote by Joe Paterno.

No thanks.

A better program for that Channel would be something called “Tortured History” and they can narrow that down to the last 40 years of the Temple vs. Penn State football series. The word “drunk” would also apply to this one because that’s how the renewal of the series began in 1975 with then Penn State head coach Joe Paterno saying “the guy who scheduled Temple must have been drunk.”

In effect, he was saying his athletic  director was a drunk.

“Why does Temple
even play football?
To beat Penn State.”
_ Bruce Arians

By the time the teams actually played the game, though, Temple could have said the same thing about Penn State. The Owls doubled up Penn State in yards from scrimmage, 402-201, and were clearly the better team but lost on two long kick returns, one a punt, one a kickoff.

Before the game, head coach Wayne Hardin and then athletic director Ernie Casale placed 30,000 Cherry and White pom-poms on the Franklin Field bleachers.

“I told Ernie we might lose the game, but we were not going to be out-pom-pomed,” Hardin said. The first play of the game was a simple handoff to a world class sprinter named Bob Harris. He put his hand on the back of fullback Tom Duff, who pancaked a PSU linebacker and that left a gaping hole. Seventy-six yards later, Temple led, 7-0. Thirty thousand Cherry and White pom-poms were waving proudly and, to this day, that was the loudest I have ever heard a Temple crowd.

Losing that game 26-25 was sheer torture.


The last glorious victory. Note the use of the word “rivals” which would have continued to have been used until today had Temple kept up its end of the bargain.

The next year, the Owls went for two and the the pass slipped off the receiver’s hands. More torture, a 31-30 loss.

In 1979, the Owls were 10-2 and went up to State College, led, 7-6, at halftime and lost, 22-7. More torture.

When Bruce Arians took the job at Temple, one of the first questions he was asked in his initial press conference was “Why does Temple even play football?” He repeated the question and gave a great off-the-cuff answer that drew loud applause: “To beat Penn State.”

Arians gave the school its first win over Pitt in 39 years and he probably would have added a Penn State scalp had the school not be so quick to fire him. In his first year, with coach Hardin’s players, he lost, 23-18.

Another year under Arians, Paul Palmer rushed for 226 yards, and scored a pair of touchdowns, but the Owls lost, 27-22. More torture.

In 2010, the Nittany Lions could not stop Bernard Pierce who had 115 yards and two touchdowns at halftime and the owls led, 15-13. A broken ankle stopped Pierce and the Owls lost, 23-15. More torture.

The next year, quarterback Mike Gerardi was managing the game nicely with a 10-7 lead when he was pulled for Chester Stewart, who did nothing. When Gerardi was reinserted, he was either cold or trying to force a play to keep his job. Whatever, he threw an interception that led to a 14-10 loss.

Those were not the only times Penn State teased the Owls before taking victory from the jaws of defeat, but those were the ones I remember most.

Unless, of course, something gloriously different happens today.

18 thoughts on “Tortured History

  1. Great article. It brings back lots of memories for us old guys. Not even I am old enough to remember our last win. Let’s do it this year, for all the fans who have been waiting.

  2. sitting here watching ESPN before heading out to the game…, several SEC, Big Ten, etc., head coaches said the biggest factor in the first game of the season is the ability to make in-game adjustments.., made me immediately think about the low football IQ of both Satterfield and Rhule…, PSU 31 – Temple 13 .., great idea about the pom-poms, at least we should not be out pom-pomed

  3. Party like it’s 1941!

    WE THE T

    Christmas came early today and in spectacular fashion!

  5. This coaching staff made huge strides today. Completely outcoached and outschemed Franklin and his staff. No mistakes. They stuck with the game plan. I couldnt be more satisfied.

  6. After the interception I saw something I never thought I’d see-a Penn State team that looked defeated. TU kicked the living crap out of those snobs and they should be embarrassed. Phil Snow finally realized that to be this team you have to attack and not sit back. If Owls win next week they play ND undefeated on Halloween. The only down side is that PJ dislocated his shoulder on the td run according to inside sources.

  7. Meant to say beat PSU not be this team.

  8. No medical person but I don’t think a dislocation is as severe as a separation. With the short week we’ll have to see

  9. Wow! They didn’t just win, they smash mouthed PSU! Mike and John, seems like everything you’ve been wanting the coaches to do finally came through. They rushed 4-5 guys, ran and passed in a nice mixture and the O-line did fine. An almost perfect game (except for that first jittery quarter). But they came back and played like demons for the entire game, right to the end – one thing I was most impressed about was that this team is in great physical shape, did not get tired in the 4th quarter. Now I guess the only thing to worry about is if they stick to this style of play for the rest of the season. This was great for the university and makes the season for the players look very positive, although I wonder if PSU is just not very good. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a PSU team give up before and that’s what happened yesterday – Temple just whipped their ass. The coaches biggest job this week will be to keep the players focused on the next game. But, THIS IS GREAT! GO OWLS!

  10. PS, I also liked that it seemed like Rhule was coaching the offense – and did a nice job managing the game in general. Credit is due, now just keep it up.

  11. Pingback: Best of TFF: Tortured History – Temple Football Forever

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