Spoiling Joe’s Party


Go ahead, try to explain this: Sue Paterno is planning some kind of “family celebration” on Sept. 17 marking Joe Paterno’s first game as head coach.

The university is denying any kind of sponsorship of this event, but this seems clear: Temple will have a chance to spoil some kind of party because that is the day the Owls travel to Penn State. It also marks the 50th year of Paterno’s first game as head coach, coming on Sept. 17, 1966 against Maryland.


Joe before TU game in 1950

Whatever your feelings are about Joe Paterno knowing or not knowing what Jerry Sandusky did (I vote yes, for reasons to be outlined further down this post), this is definitely a celebration that needs to be toasted with the sour taste of a Blue and White defeat. There is some good news ahead for Temple fans. As confident as I was in the Owls losing to Toledo in December, that’s how confident I am in the Owls beating Penn State again.

For these reasons:

  • Confidence coming from blowout wins over Army and Stony Brook. Plenty of Owls will get playing time and those two wins should be able to get immensely talented players like Greg Webb and Karamo Dioubate up to speed.
  • A four-year starting quarterback vs. a rookie. This is P.J. Walker’s year and he is not going to be upstaged by someone who could not beat out Christian Hackenberg. Walker clearly outplayed the New York Jets’ quarterback a year ago and goes from being a game manager to a star this season.
  • Phil Snow has the formula to beat PSU. Snow tried the three-man rushes two years ago but now knows that constant pressure is the way to keep the Nittany Lions off balance.
  • Temple will be supremely motivated. The Owls have been hearing all year that the only reason they won was because  was because Saquon Barkley had only 1 carry. PSU fans conveniently forget that carry was a 1-yard loss.
  • Penn State will be trying too hard. Revenge will be on the Staters’ minds, but the pressing that comes with it will cause fumbles and interceptions.
  • Temple has weapons all over the place. With Ryquell Armstead at running back and Jahad Thomas at slot receiver, Kip Patton and Colin Thompson at tight end and Adonis Jennings and Ventell Bryant at wide receiver, the Owls can finally use the “shell game” offense—that is, spreading the ball around to a number of guys who can make explosive plays downfield.  It might not be 27-10 again, but it could be 24-7 or even 34-10.


In Paterno’s first year as an assistant, 1950, his team tied Temple, 7-7. He was Rip Engle’s only assistant and, that year, learned to be a micro-manager, a trait that he carried with him through his later years. He had to know Jerry Sandusky was a bad hombre because he facilitated  Sandusky’s exit at a time when defensive coordinators just do not retire. That only made sense after the scandal hit the fan.

If any party deserves to be pooped, it is this one, and the Owls are just the team to do it.

Sunday: Paying Temple Forward

Tuesday: The Turner Field Solution


17 thoughts on “Spoiling Joe’s Party

  1. Well Mike, I hope your predictions for the game come true. Beating them 2 years in a row would be fantastic. But remember, PSU has some new coaches and new 4-5 star players, new schemes too. So it could be very interesting.

  2. a lot of those 4-5 star players got embarrassed against Temple TUFF a year ago. My only concern is the refs being influenced by the crowd. Hopefully, they will be AAC ones.

  3. PSU has a new OC, who beat us with inferior talent while at Fordham, they have out recruited us for the past couple of years and they have a decided home field advantage. Perhaps the Owls win this game but we’re an underdog for good reason.

    Also, as usual this game will be won in the trenches and we need to see how our guys gel next season.

    • Pitt is a 9-point favorite and Temple right now is a 7-point underdog on those sites that you can get future games. Pitt is overvalued and Temple is undervalued and that is purely because of reputation (20 years of losing football is hard to overcome). I think PSU beats Pitt and Temple beats PSU for many of the reasons I mentioned above. Do not think the addition of Joe Moorhead adds much to the PSU dynamic. It’s always comforting for fans to say it’s the OC’s fault when their players stink and, offensively, except for Barkley, I don’t see PSU’s players being any better than Temple’s.

  4. If I were still a betting man, I’d bet a parlay- Penn State in the Pitt game and TU in the PSU game. Pitt was throttled by Navy to end last season. They could not have improved all that much from then.

  5. although our sideline will out coach their sideline…, just the opposite here.., Pitt beats PSU and PSU beats Temple…, that maybe the only regular season game Temple losses all year..,

    we can still host the conference championship game, win a bowl game and finish in the Top 25 with a loss to PSU..,

    Temple just does not play well in big away games

    • Kj, weren’t you the guy who predicted Penn State would beat Temple, 34-13, on 9/5/15? 🙂

      • that would be me.., different year but not the same prediction.., the facts have changed dramatically since then..,

        will update the prediction after week 2.., right now Pitt beats PSU and PSU beats Temple…, learning how to win on the road in big games is harder than hard

      • I was gonna say the same thing. KJ always picks us to lose which means we r definitely gonna win! He’s a troll/fan.

      • Nah, KJ is a great fan. If he were a troll, he would not have picked us to win all of our other games like he implies above. If he picks us to lose to Penn State last year and this year and is 0-2, I’m sure there would be no one more happy than him. He gave us more great info on the stadium than I have heard from any other source. (I wish there wasn’t so much silence from the administration on this subject, but it’s obvious now they are working behind the scenes.)

  6. as bummed as I was about being right about Toledo, I know you will be happy about being wrong about Penn State. At least I hope that’s how this goes.

    • people who swim in the ocean don’t fear the rain…,

      PSU has not won a big game on the road in the Franklin era, and they won’t beat Pitt.., Temple has not won a big game on the road in the Rhule era, don’t see the first one coming in happy valley.., winning big games on the road is hard, and even harder when you don’t have players on the current squad who have done it with the ability to impose their will in the 4th quarter…,

      yes, we did beat Cincy and ECU on the road last year but those two teams were just barely above average, fact of the matter is they were not really that good…,

      South Florida will probably have a better season than PSU, but our chances at beating them at home are far greater than beating PSU on the road

      • Tend to agree. Beaver Stadium is a tough place to win for a visitor. The noise is deafening an relentless and they almost always get close calls. I think TU can win but only if the defense plays well. This will be a different PSU offense because the QB is a much greater threat to run than Hack and the the OC uses the tight end a lot more than the old one did, which really puts pressure on the D. i would love both Pitt and TU to win to finally shut up the blue and white and prove that last season’s win was not a fluke.

  7. A very mediocre Northwestern team went in there and won, 29-6, two years with a great game plan. A few weeks later, we went in there with a crappy game plan and lost, 30-14. Go in there with a good game plan and you can shut up that crowd. I hope that’s exactly what we do.

    • I think John brings up a really good point which is PSU now has exactly the type of mobile QB that has tortured our defense even in the best of circumstances. I recognize we have more speed on defense this year but we’ve also lost a considerable amount of talent and leadership. This will be a very tough game and I’m surprised at how many postings I see in various places that expect an Owls win.

  8. Face it, neither team is going to win. Pitt isn’t a “big game” to us (Michigan, yes…), and the Temple game serves to put the universe back in order (we stank up the Linc last year, not so much as Temple out playing us). Your positive attitude is admirable, but neither team is that serious to PSU.

    • Funny, heard all of those same things about Temple not being serious enough to beat PSU last year, and Temple really could have beaten PSU 34-10 instead of 27-10 had Matt Rhule not fallen on the ball on offense after moving at will in his last drive. I fully expect to see a new world order this year and it will be Temple ending the PSU series with a 2-game winning streak.

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