Best of TFF: Tortured History

EDITOR’S NOTE: Going to be away from WIFI this weekend, so are republishing a post that has never been republished before in TFF: Our story that appeared on Sept. 5, 2015, the morning of the 27-10 win over Penn State. Except for a paragraph insert that appears at the bottom from an Associated Press story that gave Temple fans credit for the win, everything below appeared prior to the game itself. We get back on the grid Sunday night for our usual Monday post. To read the comments below that original preview story, click here:

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.

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.

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 game’s first play 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 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.

Monday: Regular Programming

This from the AP story that night that ran in every newspaper in the country:

Best of TFF: Streak No. 3 (74)

For our vacation week, we are running a three-part series on the most-read stories in Temple Football Forever history. Here is one on Bruce Arians’ reaction to the win over Penn State published in 2015, published three days after the 27-10 win that ended a 74-year losing streak to PSU:

When Bruce Arians led the Arizona Cardinals to a late-season upset of the Seattle Seahawks two years ago, it was the final loss of the season for the Seahawks on the way to winning the Super Bowl. The question for Arians then was a natural one as someone in the press room asked him if that was his biggest win as a head coach. Arians paused for a second and said, no, his biggest win as a head coach came at Temple when the Owls broke a 39-year losing streak to Pittsburgh in the 1984 season.

So, of all the congratulatory messages pouring into third-year Temple head coach Matt Rhule after a 27-10 upset of Penn State on Saturday, the one posted by Arians on his twitter page was priceless:

Rhule had one-upped Arians in the sense that he broke a longer streak over another in-state rival in Penn State (after a 74-year drought), so the two men have been in the same shoes at the same place. No one knew more what a win over Penn State could do for the Temple program than Arians, who said the first question asked of him at his first Temple press conference was, “Why does Temple even play football?” Like the presser after the Seattle game two years ago, Arians paused before a thoughtful response: “To beat Penn State.” Arians came close twice, losing to nationally-ranked Nittany Lions’ teams, 23-18, in 1983 and 27-25 to what would become an 11-1 PSU team in 1984, but never quite got over the hump.

Now that Rhule did, Arians used both twitter and the phone to express his satisfaction with the result. Rhule took the call and said, “Yes sir, thank you sir.” to a guy who was a young coach at Temple once, too. Rhule said he did not know what else to say to the NFL coach of the year. Then Rhule went out to the parking lot at Lincoln Financial Field and presented the game ball to another former Temple coach, College Football Hall of Fame member Wayne Hardin, who came close a few times against Penn State but, like Arians, could not get over the hump.

In the fraternity of college coaches, and the circle of life, all three coaches will now share a pretty neat memory forever because only those three fully understand the magnitude of the moment.

Measuring Up to Penn State by Remote


Look at all the Cherry in the stands

Here’s one way to look at the 2019 season: It’s a chance for Temple football to measure up against Penn State. No, not on the field. At least not yet. That doesn’t come again until 2026 when, hopefully, Rod Carey has recruited enough talent to win his fifth game in seven tries against Big 10 teams (if the Owls don’t face one before that).

The measuring this year stick is in a very important area of TV ratings.

Very rarely has Temple gone up against Penn State at the same exact time on local TV, but that’s going to happen twice this season when it matters.

Screenshot 2019-06-08 at 12.15.29 AM

Forget about the Bucknell opener because the Owls’ starting time is 3 p.m. (and Penn State is 3:30) on August 31. That’s not a fair fight because the Owls are on ESPN+, which is just a step above the old MAC dial-up internet days and Penn State vs. Idaho is on the Big 10 network.

A fairer (but not “fairest”) comparison comes on Sept. 14 when the Owls host Maryland at noon on the CBS Sports Network while, at the same time, Penn State hosts Pitt on Philadelphia powerhouse No. 1 station 6abc.

Not all of the times have been announced, but there are other opportunities the two programs are on Philadelphia TV at the same time so we shall see. (Interestingly enough, the Owls and Nits have common opponents in Maryland and Buffalo this season.)

Temple has done very well against Penn State in the past, though, when the teams are on more equal footing. Temple’s 2015 home game against Notre Dame was an ABC national game and drew an 18.1 rating, which was the No. 1 rating in the history of a Philadelphia game on ABC. Temple was ranked No. 21 in the country at the time and ND ranked No. 9. By comparison, the 2007 ABC game between No. 5 PSU and No. 13 ND pulled in only an 11.5 in the Philadelphia market, also at the same 8 p.m. slot. One can only reach a conclusion that “Temple” was the X-factor in this equation on Philadelphia TV ratings since Notre Dame and Penn State have been on Philadelphia TV hundreds of times and not brought in those kinds of numbers.

In 1985, Temple played at Boston College on KYW-TV 3 at noon while Penn State traveled to Maryland on Sept. 7 on WPVI-TV 6. Despite 6’s status then, as now, as the No. 1 station in the market, the Temple-BC game (a 27-25 Owl loss) drew an 11.3 to PSU’s 20-18 win over Maryland (6.9).

There can be no question Temple is the No. 1 TV school in the Philadelphia market, pretty much by a longshot, but if the Owls can beat the Nittany Lions on an obscure channel like CBS Sports, that would open a lot of Power 5 conference eyes.

Wednesday: Let’s Go to the Tape

Saturday: Archiving Temple’s Past

Wednesday (6/19): Bulking Up The Lines

Saturday: (6/22): Magazine Season

Wednesday (6/29): A partnership that worked


Biggest News From AAC Media Eve: Penn State


Temple and Houston are the only 2 teams which appeared in at least two AAC title games.

Not much news is ever made on AAC Media Day,  but at least AAC Media Eve gave us this interesting tidbit: Temple is negotiating a home-and-home with Penn State.

This is interesting for at least three reasons.

One, Penn State has never given Temple a home-and-home.

Two, I never thought we’d see PSU again after Temple beat them by two touchdowns and a field goal in 2015 and lost by a measly touchdown the next year.

Three, this confirms my last conversation during a recent tailgate with Dr. Pat Kraft, still the athletic director at Temple University.


The first Philly special

“We’re not giving anybody 2-and-1s anymore,” Dr. Kraft said.

“Even Penn State?”

“Even Penn State.”

Well, there goes the chance of ever playing Penn State again, I thought.

If Kraft is able to pull this contract off, it’s a major coup for his tenure. Heck, THE major coup for his tenure.

Little do people know another tidbit: Joe Paterno originally wanted to play this game in Philadelphia every year “as a gift to our Philadelphia alumni.”

That all changed after the 1976 renewal of the series (the first game since 1950) when the Owls out-gained the Nittany Lions from scrimmage, 371-120 yards, but lost a 26-25 tilt when the special teams could not cover a kickoff and a punt return. That game was more like a Big 5 basketball game than a college football one, with 30,000 fans waving Cherry and White pom-poms on one side of the field and 30,000 fans waving Blue and White pom-poms on the other. (“After that game, I played my starters on special teams,” head coach Wayne Hardin said a few years ago.)

The opening play from scrimmage–a 76-yard run for a touchdown by a Temple sprinter named Bobby Harris–elicited the loudest cheering I’ve ever heard at a Temple football game, including the 2015 win over PSU. You’ve got to remember that Temple was coming off a couple of years of 9-1 and 8-2 teams and a nation’s-best 14-game winning streak so the Owls had a significant fan base in Philadelphia established.

Afterward, Paterno withdrew the offer of returning to Philadelphia the next season and took the home game and renegotiated a deal that would give PSU 3-2s and 2-1s going forward.

While the ink isn’t dry yet, the news that negotiations are moving along is good news, even if the first game is 2026–two years after the Owls play Oklahoma. Right now, almost too good to be true.

Friday: Unpacking Other Media Day News

Coaches Still Slow On The Uptake


Big 10 replay officials blew this call as proven by this Glenn Tinner photo.

Sitting around with a smaller-than-usual post-game tailgating group after the Stony Brook game, my longtime friend Mark asked me a question.

“Mike, are you going to the Penn State game?”


“No? Why?”

“If they had beaten Army, I would have. My feeling is if this coaching staff can’t scheme for the teams they should beat, I have no confidence in them scheming for a team that might be on their level or a little above so I don’t want to go all the way there and then have to make the trip back all pissed off.”

“C’mon, bro,” Mark said, “How many years have you been following Temple football?”

Too many, I said.

Mark’s point was that I should accept disappointment by now. I had, and still have, a different take.

Making Walker a
dropback passer
is trying to fit
a square peg into
a round hole.
The sooner the
coaches realize that,
the better the chances
for future success.
They have a unique
weapon and they should
use him as such.

I wanted one year, just one, that Temple beat all of the teams it was supposed to beat and maybe reached up and beat one or two teams it was not supposed to beat with a solid if not brilliant coaching game plan.

I have not seen that year since the 13 years Wayne Hardin coached the team, but I had my hopes. After a 34-27 loss to Penn State on Saturday, my belief has not changed about this staff being a little slow on the uptake about basic football principles. Before the first game of the season, we outlined here the standard operating procedure to shut down a triple option—44 stack, nose guard over the center, tackles in the A gap, eight in the box and force them to pass. If a triple option team beats you passing, you walk over and shake their hand afterward. If they beat you running the ball because your linebackers played 4-5 yards off it, you walk over to your defensive coordinator and use that same hand to slap him in the head four or five times.

This is all simple shit that even a good high school coaching staff knows. We even outlined in this post how to play Army BEFORE the game and, of course, the slow-on-the-uptake staff had to do things their way.

As we all know now, the Owls left the A gaps open, and played their linebackers 4-5 yards off the ball and they were predictably gouged by the fullback. Afterward, the kids got blamed and the coaches got a pass in the post-game press conferences conducted by, surprise, the coaches.

Slow on the uptake also could be the phrase to describe use of the Owls’ personnel.  Earlier this week, we wrote a post on our five keys to beat Penn State and the No. 1 key was “Roll That Pocket.” Phillip Walker is a much more dangerous threat to defenses when he rolls in the pocket and becomes a threat to run the ball as well as pass it. Linebackers and safeties have to come up to stop the run and Temple receivers, covered when Walker drops back in the pocket, suddenly are running free through the secondary when he is on the move. Yet new offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas insists on making Walker a Matt Ryan, dropping him in the pocket more often than not. Maybe that’s because Thomas coached Ryan with the Atlanta Falcons. You cannot turn Russell Wilson into Tom Brady, nor can you turn Phil or P.J. Walker into a Matt Ryan. Walker completed 25 of 34 passes for 286 yards, but had very limited success when he was forced to drop back. When he took that step to the outside, receivers got separation like the Red Sea parted.

Making Walker a dropback passer is trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. The sooner the coaches realize that, the better the chances for future success. They have a unique weapon and they should use him as such.

Walker sees the field a lot better and has a lot more success when the Temple coaches move the pocket for him, a fact that they should have known long before yesterday. The learning curve for this staff is too long and winding and leads to too many dead ends. The process needs to speed up if this team is going to have meaningful success the rest of the way.

Until then, my blood pressure will not allow road trips.

Monday: Recalibrated Expectations

Only One Thing Needs To Be Done

No respect for the Owls by the scruffy guy and the young guy.

A real rivalry is like a delicious cake in that it needs a few basic ingredients to be meet the minimum taste standards.

Geography, animosity (at least with the fan bases, but it would also help with the coaching staffs) and arrogance from one or the other parties makes for a good college football rivalry.  This used to be a rivalry in the 1930s and 1940s. Even an old headline in a newspaper (see inset) acknowledged that.


Note “rivals” in headline

Years of Temple futility followed and ended the rivalry and fostered a decades-long lack of respect for the Owls. All of those ingredients are there for Temple and Penn State except one: Respect. The PSU fan base and even their own “experts” are predicting a beating of Temple similar to what PSU did to a very poor Kent State team.

If they think another version of Kent State is coming to town, they will be in for a huge surprise on Saturday (noon, Big 10 Network). Temple is in another stratosphere than Kent State.

Only one thing needs to be done to get that respect and the Owls know what it is: Win at Penn State and win for the second year in a row.

You would think the Owls would have earned at least that with a 27-10 win last year, but instead all they have received is a lot of excuses. “If James Franklin had coached a better game” or “if Saquon Barkley got the ball more” the Nittany Lions would have won. From my seat at Lincoln Financial Field, Franklin had nothing to do with his offensive line getting boatraced by the Owls’ defensive line.  Barkley’s one carry was for minus-1 yard. After that, maybe an objective observer can see why Franklin did not have a whole lot of confidence in giving the ball to Barkley again.

In my lifetime, Temple has only had three real rivalries—Delaware, Rutgers and Villanova—and, while Penn State always met the geographic requirement, the other rivalries always had it over anything Penn State-Temple. There was a real dislike between the coaching staffs at Delaware and Temple when Tubby Raymond coached one team and Wayne Hardin the other. Temple was where Delaware was when Hardin was hired. Hardin took the Owls to the “big time” and Raymond always resented it. That made for a good rivalry.

Rutgers always thought it was better than Temple, but it never proved it on the field over the long haul as the series is basically even. The Rutgers’ fan base is New York arrogant and, after Temple beat Rutgers four-straight times, it was Rutgers who was retained by the Big East and not Temple and that made for a lot of resentment. That was a great rivalry.

Villanova kept Temple out of the Big East and Temple resented it and, when Steve Addazio beat Villanova, 42-7, and 42-10, in back-to-back years, that was extra satisfying for Temple.

Since this is the last meeting between Penn State and Temple and the Penn State fan base seems to have learned little from the beating they received last year, the only thing to cement this as a rivalry in the minds of a lot of people is for Temple to go out by winning two in a row.

That would be extra sweet Karma on a day that the Penn State community broadcasts its tone-deafness by honoring Joe Paterno. Beating Penn State up there would earn the Owls a measure of respect that even 27 unanswered points a year ago has not yielded. Maybe, just maybe, that is the only ingredient  needed now for a real rivalry.

The Owls know what needs to be done and they need to do it.

Saturday: Game Analysis

5 Keys For Beating Penn State


Saturday would be a good time for the Owls to start playing like the  AAC champion The Sporting News predicted this summer.

After a shocking loss to Army that was more the result of a bad coaching scheme than physicality, Temple coach Matt Rhule conducted a ping-pong tournament at the Edberg-Olson Football Complex. The ping-pong diplomacy was just another bonding session for the Owls and, judging from the outcome of the Stony Brook game, the team that plays ping-pong together, wins together. So maybe playing table tennis this week is not a bad idea.


“I want you to roll out and find receivers running free.”

Here are five other things they need to do:

  1. Making McSOREly

When Temple defensive coordinator Phil Snow last visited Happy Valley, he came up with a defensive scheme almost as bad as the Army one against then Lions’ quarterback Christian Hackenberg and that was to rush three and drop back eight. Snow forgot one thing. Hackenberg did not then and does not now like to get hit and, by giving Hackenberg extra time in the pocket, he was able to pick out receivers at will. Snow did not make the same mistake a second time last year and, except for one three-man rush (that resulted in a Nate D. Smith sack), he kept the pressure on all day and the Owls had an NCAA-high 10 sacks. They don’t need 10, but if they get five against rookie quarterback Trace McSorley, they will win. Game film shows he almost always fakes on the read-option before passing, so having two blitzers, one assigned for McSorley, the other going to the running back, would mess up the timing.


Sharif … may be running with the 2s, but always makes big plays.

  1. Stopping Barkley

Last year, Penn State fans said the reason Temple won was because James Franklin gave Saquon Barkley only one carry. What they forget is that it was for minus-1 yard. The Owls are going to have to close up the A gaps and nose guard Averee Robinson is going to have to handle the Penn State center, which he is more than capable of doing. If the Owls have the same kind of success against Barkley that they did a year ago, he will have minus-25 yards. All they have to do to win, though, is the same job they did against Notre Dame standout C.J. Prosise, holding him to 25 yards on 14 carries.  Six of Prosise’s runs went for zero yards against many of the same players Barkley will face on Saturday. Is Barkley good? Yes. Is he better than Prosise? Probably not.


Expect the Owls to pull out all the stops.

  1. Moving Jahad Around

Jahad Thomas might start on Saturday at running back after missing the first two games with a thumb injury. Moving Thomas around like a shell in a shell game is key to utilizing him. He should get a few carries, but splitting him out into the slot when, say, Jager Gardner is in the game and hitting him with a deep ball would give the Owls two breakaway threats in the game at once, not one. Also, Thomas is a terrific runner in space so getting him the ball on screens, traditional or bubble, creates that space for him. Jahad got hurt again in practice Tuesday; if he can’t go, I would put Jager Gardner in as the lead back. Always felt Jager had the higher upside over Ryquell Armstead, who is more steady but less spectacular. Use Marshall Ellick as the edge playmaker.

  1. Dynamo Nicky

On a 17-yard run against Stony Brook where he knocked over four defenders, Nick Sharga reminded the old time Temple fans of former Owl and Cleveland Brown running back Henry Hynoski who was known as Dynamo Hyno at Temple. He reminded current Owl fans of why he wears a single digit as one of the nine toughest guys on the team. Call Sharga Dynamo Nicky until the press comes up with a better name. Pitt fullback George Aston hurt the Nittany Lions with a couple of touchdown runs up the middle against the soft underbelly of that defense. Sharga is also capable of exploiting that fatty tissue and he’s better than Aston.


Owls will have to fly to the ball again.

  1. Rolling The Pocket

Phillip Walker is better when he’s on the run because that’s where he creates major headaches for defenses. When offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas has rolled the pocket for Walker, opposing linebackers and safeties come up to stop the threat of a run and Walker deftly tosses the ball over their heads as Temple receivers run free through the secondary. If the linebackers stay back, Walker can use his athleticism and speed to gain big yards on the run. By keeping him in the pocket in the first game, Glenn Thomas was doing Army a favor. When he’s in the pocket, he can’t see downfield and his passes are often deflected by linemen or, worse, he’s sacked. It’s time to unleash Walker by moving the pocket.

Tomorrow: Watch Parties

Friday: The Rivalry Arrives

Omission of Owls by Top 25 Voter Illustrates Flaw in System

The lamest excuse in the history of mankind was made earlier this week by an ESPN Top 25 college football pollster helped illustrate the flaws in a system ripe for human error: “I forgot.”

The pollster, Travis Haney, was one of two voters who had 5-1 Penn State ranked above 5-0 Temple, even though the Owls not only handed the Nittany Lions their only loss of the season, but chose to have mercy by running out the clock in 27-10 win deep in PSU territory. The Owls scored the game’s final 27 points and had so much momentum going they could have added another score for 34-10 but chose to take three knees. Haney had Penn State ranked No. 25 and Temple unranked.

Even the PSU fans admitted as much afterward:


If you can’t read this, click anywhere on the blue. To return to this page (after that), hit the “back” button on your browser.

That prompted this exchange on twitter:

Haney deserves as much credit as blame. He could have made up a more palatable excuse, but went with honestly. The other pollster, former Miami coach Butch Davis, was reached out to and did not respond. I would not be surprised if he forgot as well. He had Penn State ranked No. 23 and Temple unranked.

The problem with this example is that it probably happens all of the time and not just with the two men voting in an ESPN poll and it is an inherent flaw in a system that relies on human memory. When the committee gets together to pick the playoff teams, things like polls do have an impact—even if it is a psychological one. In this example, Temple was the most affected team but it could really happen to anyone else in any other poll. In the AP poll, Owls sit right now at No. 26, tops among “others receiving votes” and, based on Haney’s admission, they have to wonder if someone else who “forgot” them cost them a spot in the top 25 this week. The difference between 26th and 25th is enormous, because it means getting on the scoreboard crawl that runs across the bottom of TV screens for every game or getting ignored.

In a multi-million dollar business, or anything else really, the “I forgot” excuse should not fly.

PSU vs. Temple: The Final Words

While the defense might have beaten PSU, I have a feeling Robby Anderson and the offense will have a big hand in beating Cincy on Saturday.

While the defense might have beaten PSU, I have a feeling Robby Anderson and the offense will have a big hand in beating Cincy on Saturday. Welcome back, Robby.  (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Amazing how in 24 hours Penn State went from terrific to terrible, but judging from the reaction in the middle of the Commonwealth, that’s exactly what happened.

For the 24 hours leading up to the game with Temple, this was supposed to be a special season in State College:

This according to SB Nation.

This according to SB Nation.

These are the results of a preseason poll in the Centre Daily Times.

These are the results of a preseason poll in the Centre Daily Times.


Now, all of a sudden, according to Penn State fans, the same Christian Hackenberg who was so good putting up 31 points against Boston College in his previous game now stinks, as does the same offensive line he was in front of that day. The same PSU team coached by a great coach in James Franklin is now coached by a bum named James Franklin. The same guy who caught 82 balls last year in the Big 10 cannot get any separation this season.

Nowhere in the post-game analysis up there is the sense that Temple could be better than anyone expected. No one even remotely thought that Temple’s corners, Sean Chandler and Tavon Young, were more than up to the challenge or that playing the 11 returning starters from the overall No. 4 scoring defense in the country might have had something to do with 10 points.

No one factored into the result that Temple might have been supremely motivated, having a full year to stew and game plan over a sub par performance last Nov. 14.

Usually, in scenarios such as these, the truth lies somewhere in between but not in this case. What we have is a lot of people saying “Temple sucks” and the “reasons we lost to them” range anywhere from the Owls doing a Deflategate to a Spygate. (Yeah, we think that thread is ridiculous, too.)

Guess what? Nothing changed in a little over three hours of football on Saturday.

I’ll stick my neck out right now and say that Penn State will win 10 games this year, just like many of those preseason prognosticators wrote and that will be affirmation of Temple’s goodness, not Penn State’s deficiencies. Even if Temple loses to Cincinnati on Saturday, the Owls will still have a good season as well. Maybe just as good if not better. What we had on Saturday is a classic case of overreaction, like many of the MAC posts (I’m talking about you, Akron fans) who said, “I can’t believe we lost to Temple.” They got used to it. Penn State will, too. For today’s denial to turn into tomorrow’s acceptance, both the Owls and the Lions will have to have good seasons. One result on Saturday does not change that reality.

Post-Mortem: The only negative thing about this day was remembering a bunch of great Temple fans who never lived to see it. I’m talking about Steve Bumm, who came up and introduced himself to me outside what could loosely be called men’s room at Franklin Field in the Dark Ages. Like many fellow Temple fans I’ve met in similar circumstances we became good friends. Steve ran the “City of Palms” High School Basketball Christmas Tournament in Florida for many years before he died at age 51.


Or Shane Artim, who never missed a home game. Or Dan Glammer, who tried to make all of the away games as well. Both of those good men died at the tender age of 46. When their friend, Jay Solnick, celebrated birthday number 47 a few years ago, I told him he was now here to stay because if you could stand Temple football as it existed then past 46, you’ve crossed the proverbial Rubicon. There was Dave Edwards, better known as NJ Schmitty, who brought his own unique sense of gallows humor to the last years of Bobby Wallace and the first couple of Al Golden. Maybe he just kept a few people sane with that perspective. People always knew he was there with the giant white Temple ‘][‘ above the Chevy Conversion van. That van and that ‘][‘ will make a return on Oct. 10, his brother  told me on Saturday. Sadly, Schmitty will not but we know this Susquehanna University grad would have loved beating Penn State.

Wes Sornisky says something to Wayne Hardin after a 17-17 tie at Cincinnati.

Wes Sornisky says something to Wayne Hardin after a 17-17 tie at Cincinnati.

There are many,many more, but we’ll just end with former kicker Wes Sornisky, who died in a fire at the far-too-young age of 64 last Dec. 18. Wes was singularly responsible for bringing all of the old players back and plopping them down in the Jetro Lot. They kept coming back and the involvement of the football alumni, once nearly nonexistent, went up exponentially every year. He deserves a lot of the credit for it. The saddest thing is that Wes is buried in a Potter’s Field with no headstone in Delaware, but I have a feeling that, given some time, that sad circumstance will be rectified. When I got a little melancholy on Saturday about that, people told me not to worry because they were watching from Heaven.

I cannot say for sure, but I think it was better to be there live than to watch from Heaven. No. 1 on my bucket list is now crossed off.

Tomorrow: We’re On To Cincinnati