If some of the old-timers like me felt a little bit of deja vu on Saturday, it could be understood.
The last time a lot of us remember Temple trailing at halftime and winning, 49-17, it was at Veterans Stadium and the year was 1979.
Head coach Wayne Hardin told me the story then.
“I turned to (defensive coordinator) Vince (Hoch) and said, ‘What do we do?’ He said, ‘I don’t know, coach, what do you think?”
Hardin thought about throwing the ball but instead decided to give the ball to a great running back from Coatesville named Sherman Myers. “Tank” scored five second-half touchdowns, then a Temple record, in a 49-17 win.
The difference between then and now?
That Syracuse team was one of only 30 bowl teams that year. So was Temple. Now there are 80 bowl teams in a watered-down college football landscape.
That Syracuse team had future NFL Hall of Famers Joe Morris and Art Monk.
I doubt that this UConn team will have a single future Hall of Famer and I know for certain that the Huskies are about as far away from a bowl as any program in the country.
The 49-17 score this time was cosmetic but it was pretty good makeup so the current Owls deserve a lot of credit for averting disaster. Call it lipstick on a pig.
When people all over the country see the final, they will think Temple took care of business the way Temple was expected to do so prior to the game as a 29.5-point favorite. What isn’t as noticeable in the boxscore is that UConn led for half of the game and Temple needs to play better if it is going to win a bowl game.
I talked to two former Temple quarterbacks (before the game) who shall remain nameless and mentioned to them that this offense is ill-suited to the talents of the best quarterback on the team, Anthony Russo. Temple needs to run the same offense with Russo it ran in the last two years with P.J. Walker. Ditch the spread and establish a power running game and only then throw off play-action fakes. They both said they are going to sit down with current head coach Rod Carey and take that argument to him.
Good luck with that because that’s really the only way Temple goes from 8-4 this year to 10-2 or better the next. This season went way too fast and Temple had way too much offensive talent to struggle to score 13 on Cincinnati last week.
Carey is going to have to be flexible, but there’s nothing in his history at Northern Illinois that suggests he’s anything but stubborn. Great coaches, though, design an offense that suits their talent and the next few months will tell if Carey is great or just good.
At Temple, just good won’t do.
Tuesday: Season Recap
Thursday: An Ideal Bowl Matchup