Throwback Thursday: When Temple-Toledo Sold Out


Owls’ first “bowl game” with Toledo in 1984.

There has been much speculation over the last few days about Temple fans traveling for a bowl game with Toledo and I’ve seen figures ranging from 3,000 all the way to 10,000.

There was once a time when Temple played in a bowl game away from home with Toledo and sold the place out with almost all Temple fans. The year was 1984 and, for the Centennial Celebration of Temple University, the team played a regular-season home game, called it the Boardwalk Bowl, and played it at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The school sold all 7,000 tickets to the game, but “only” just fewer than 6,000 Temple fans made the trip.


Still, it was a memorable game because Toledo came into the Nov. 30th game as the Mid-American Conference champions with an 8-1-1 record. That thing about Al Golden never beating a winning MAC team did not apply to Bruce Arians, who was 5-0 against winning MAC teams.

Arians’ 1984 team pummeled Toledo, 35-6, on the way to a 6-5 record against the then 10th-toughest schedule in the country. (By comparison, Temple’s current scheduled is rated No. 71.)  One of the interesting things about that game was that Toledo’s defense was the No. 4 scoring defense in the country and gave up only 9.9 points per game. It allowed no more than 17 points in a single game before that, but Temple doubled up that figure.


Temple had a lot of exciting players on the 1984 team, one of which was a sophomore running back named Paul Palmer, who had a then career-high 148 yards. He would later top that in several more memorable games, including 349 in a 45-28 win over East Carolina in 1986.

Another was wide receiver Keith Gloster, who arguably is the fastest man ever to play for Temple. (We say arguably because you will get some arguments from Devin Hester’s cousin, Travis Sheldon, and James Nixon, who took a kickoff back for 103 yards against Navy in 2009.) Gloster caught a 74-yard bomb from Lee Saltz that appeared seriously overthrown when it left Saltz’s  hand, but he was able to run under it.

As good as the offense was, the “no-name” defense was even better with too many good players to single out one or two.

In 1987, Temple visited the Glass Bowl and Toledo coach Dan Simrell called the Owls the best team to ever come into that stadium. The Owls rotated future NFL running back Todd McNair, then a junior, with sophomore Ventres Stevenson, and grinded out a 13-12 win.

No one knows how many Owl fans will be able to make the trip to Boca, but you can be certain most of Arians’ players from  that 1984 team will be there as will a large group of Arians’ players from other years. That group has been tight as a fist and, while a trip to Florida will be a reward for the current Owls, it will be another chance for them to get together.


15 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: When Temple-Toledo Sold Out

  1. I had almost forgotten playing in Atlantic City and those games against Toledo. Thanks for the memories.

  2. Mike, real trip down memory lane with this one, nice story. My wife and I, not married at the time and both recent Temple grads grads attended the game and it was certainly and interesting venue. The ends zones seemed shorter than normal and I remember sections of turf popping up during the game, Cosby on the sidelines at times…….

  3. I met Bill Cosby after this game……

  4. Great game. I was a sTUdent at the time, and TU had a bus trip to the game.

  5. The Rockets humbled the Owls at the Linc the previous meeting. Toledo is good, and Temple needs to redeem themselves for the beat down we fans endured. If Temple thinks it’s better then when they were in the MAC, then prove it. This is a good rivalry. I recall watching Temple get whipped at the hands of Ohio, Northern Illinois, Miami U, and Bowling Green during crucial games. This is a must-win game for the Owls to prove they’re “big time.”

  6. Temple will win, and it will be a Temple crowd, big group of alums in the surrounding area…, did anyone hear MR say 9 seniors are coming back to play another season? who are they?

  7. by being listed as a “senior” you technically cannot come back unless you use your senior year to redshirt, which is almost never done. the uni has appealed Robby Anderson’s senior designation and asked for another year, which I understand was denied. If he’s coming back, that is beyond huge.

  8. The alumni reception bar closed early, annoying John Rogers to call Temple “the dollar 95 university.” Bill Cosby would only allow me an interview if I jogged on the Boardwalk alongside him back to his hotel alongside. I stayed at the reception with my wife. Our son Michael R. Sisak was born 9 months earlier and he is now a reporter/writer/editor/photographer for The Associated Press. Bruce Arians has had a noteworthly career as an NFL coach.

    • Mike Sisak is one of the greatest sports editors in the history of The Temple News back when it was a daily paper. Only those of us who have done that job realize how time-consuming that was

      • Your are right about time-consuming. Actually I was all but the Temple News sports editor because folks like Phil Jasner, Herm Rogul, John Gulick and others were. Instead I was a general assignment reporter, copy editor, city editor, managing editor and editor in chief in the fall of 1961. I had begun writing sports for The Ambler Gazette in 1953 as a correspondent from Upper Dublin High School, where I was inducted into its Hall of Fame last April. I joined The Bulletin in 1960 as a general assignment reporter and then shifted back to sports in the mid-60s. My sports editing career began at The Ambler Gazette, then continued at The St. Petersburg Times, Wilmington Morning News, Daily News, LA Times, Newsday and NYTimes (for 30 years to 2011). Time-consuming from 1953-2011!!! I appreciate your praise and reciprocate to a tenacious Philadelphia journalist.

      • My bad. I followed Joe juliano who passed on stories about you to me. That was a great era. Craig Evans, Joe, Phil Jasner, Ray Didinger, Dick Weiss…..

  9. Gloria Hochman’s book titled “Stan Hochman UNFILTERED” is a loving tribute to his best columns. It’s available at

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