Underrated win: Temple 29, Virginia Tech 13

The complete Oyster Bowl game, which was only uploaded to Youtube four days ago by Zamani Feelings.

Of all the football wins in Temple history, one of the under-the-radar ones came in 1986 when the Owls beat Virginia Tech, 29-13, in what was then known as The Oyster Bowl.

Paul Palmer and Matty Baker get together 35 years after the Oyster Bowl.

The Oyster Bowl–like the Mirage Bowl in Japan–was one of two “bowl games” the Owls participated in during the regular season and the win was impressive both in Temple’s dominance of the “home” team and how good Virginia Tech was that season.

We were reminded of that win after seeing a photo yesterday of Matty Baker, the quarterback from that era, and Paul Palmer, the star of the game. The two reunited at Temple on Sunday. Baker was a redshirt freshman that year who made the trip but did not play. Baker did play 11 games as a backup the next season and became the Temple starter in 1988. (Lee Saltz was the Temple quarterback in the Oyster Bowl and was credited for a touchdown toss on a shovel pass that gave the Owls a 7-0 lead. Great call by Arians. Saltz also connected with 4.3 sprinter Keith Gloster on a perfectly thrown 52-yard touchdown bomb.)

Palmer ran for 239 yards, the most Virginia Tech allowed to a single player in its history until that point.

Temple finished that 1986 season 6-5 and that day handed Virginia Tech one of its only two losses of the season. That season the Hokies finished their season by beating North Carolina State (8-3-1), 25-24, in the Peach Bowl–which was one of the top bowl games in 1986.

The only other loss Virginia Tech had that season was to Cincinnati in its opener. Virginia Tech beat an 8-2-2 Clemson team, in addition to Virginia, West Virginia, Syracuse, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, among others. They also tied South Carolina.

They could not beat Temple because of the brilliant coaching of Bruce Arians and the elusiveness of Palmer.

As far as under-the-radar wins by winning Temple teams, it has to be near the top of the list.

Friday: A Letter


8 thoughts on “Underrated win: Temple 29, Virginia Tech 13

  1. My employer at the time of the game had a facility in extreme SW Va. On a visit, socialized after hours with some of folks there. We got talking college football. One of ladies with us mentioned her nephew played for VPI (in those days) and had remarked to her that the team never was a beat up after a game as they were following the game in question.

    “Those guys hit hard” she quoted him as remarking.

    • 20 years ago, took son #2 on a swing through VA to look at colleges. At ODU, we walked through the gate and into the stadium and looked at field and seating. I mentioned that the Owls came and conquered back in the 80’s on the field. We turned to leave and the snotty field hockey coach was hassling us about getting off the premises. And she quickly locked the gate behind us.

      Sure happy ODU started a football team in the last decade so her field hockey program got knocked down a peg.

    • Watch the entire game last night. A couple of pretty good fights, one involving Chris D’Amico hitting the VT quarterback with a punch after the VT QB pushed him. Joe Greenwood was the peacemaker.

  2. Arians is amazing. Pop the cork for the man from York.

  3. Thanks Mike and Zamani for showing this game. It’s fun to see some football during the off-season and TU successes, albeit from years ago. Also, hoping that the new uni president can raise the buyout money in the event Carey blows it this coming season – doing it sooner rather than later (or never, as has been the TU tradition). They’ve wasted plenty of money on other things, so why not spend for this?

  4. Dr Wingard is a phenomenal hire for TU Athletics. WC Henderson Grad, experience at Stanford, Penn, Columbia. Football player. Athlete. His first order of duty should be to hire Nick Gannon from Drexel as the Athletic Director at Temple. Gannon has done a tremendous job at Drexel. At Drexel—Men’s basketball, NCAA tournament. Women’s basketball, NCAA tournament. Men’s lacrosse, NCAA tournament. Women’s lacrosse, NCAA tournament.

    Imagine what Wingard and Gannon could do together for TU Athletics. Obviously firing Carey will be of quick order. Engage alumni and base. Wingard and Gannon are the type of leaders that could help recruit high quality student athletes.
    Gannon could get some women’s programs added so you could feasibly add Men’s Varsity lacrosse. Competing w/ Drexel, St Joe’s, Villanova and Penn. See evidence of quick success at High Point, Richmond, Jacksonville, Utah.

    Mckie is a great person. Legend. Maybe though somebody has to admit that a change at the helm of men’s hoops is needed. It’s not good for him or the program if they continue to flounder.

    You got the President, you now need to get Gannon as the AD. Heck, I’m not even an alumni and I can say unequivocally this will work for TU.


    • McKie nor Carey strike me as the firebrand Temple needs to move forward and win championships. As Eminem says, you’ve got one shot and 2021 is Carey’s one shot to stay and, to me, the minimum is a winning season or we have to move on… we have to fix football first.

    • There are many sports Temple could add to the athletic program such as men’s lacrosse. But let’s get back what was dropped first – men’s Track & Field, baseball, men’s gymnastics, wrestling, swimming/diving, did I miss anything? If much smaller schools can handle all those things, so should TU. Carey and McKie need to show something in their third years. At least Carey had a good first season, McKie has yet to have a winning season. But this year should be the decider for both – winning seasons at least.

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