Penn State Week: Debunking The Myths

A good recap of Temple’s single-digit tough guy tradition.

Since Al Gore invented the internet (relax, just kidding), one of the quickest ways to get a pulse of a fan base is to visit one of these ubiquitous college football message boards.

Penn State has one of the best in its Blue White Illustrated McAndrew Board, a Wild Wild West of insults, flames and trolls but, mostly, a place to hold the hand of the Nittany Lions’ fans and look at a stopwatch to gauge their heartbeat.

If you do not take them seriously, a few minutes reading what these fans are thinking can be wildly entertaining.

marshall

Matt Rhule pointing the way to PSU.

Most of them think Penn State will steamroll Temple and that faulty logic is based on a number of unrelated thoughts floating around in their heads they accept as doctrine. One, in their collective minds, Temple is nowhere near as good as last year. Two, if Army can rush for 329 yards against Temple, so can Penn State.

Before debunking those notions, here is a pretty good sampling of the way the fans are viewing Temple’s visit to Beaver Stadium (noon, Big Ten Network) on Saturday:

AWS1022  (PSU fan)

   “ We aren’t losing to Temple and I’m not sure how anyone who watched the game today would think so. Temple is worse than last year by a lot and we’re better than we were last year. If you think Temple would beat Pitt you’re crazy and I doubt we have 5 turnovers again next week. …”

Greenpeach (Pitt fan):

“You beat Temple by at least two touchdowns. Honestly, after a horrible start, I thought your team looked poised and played very well.”

You could find about 1,000 posts over there expressing similar sentiments using different words. There are a couple of things wrong with that line of thinking.

Temple is only “worse” to people who do not know any better. The people who do, the Temple coaches and the Temple fans, feel this is a better team than the one the school fielded last year. The results of the Army game do not change that. That game is an outlier because the Temple coaches do not know how to scheme against the triple option and they never really did. Temple gave up the A gaps and fullback dives all night. (Memo to Phil Snow: 44 stack, nose guard, two tackles in the A gaps and no triple option gouges you ever again.) Unless Penn State comes out and runs the triple option, gives to a nonexistent fullback, the Owls match up very well against the Nittany Lions.


Pitt had eight plays
of 20 or more yards
against Penn State.
The week before,
the Panthers had
ZERO plays of 20
or more yards, and
that was against
Villanova.
Yes, Villanova
which is quite possibly
worse than Stony Brook.

The result of the Penn State game probably will be an affirmation of it. Here are a couple more facts to ponder: Kent State gave the Nits a game for the better part of three quarters on the road. Kent State lost to North Carolina A&T last week. Yes, A&T. At home. Pitt had eight plays of 20 or more yards against Penn State. The week before, the Panthers had ZERO plays of 20 or more yards, and that was against Villanova. Yes, Villanova  which is quite possibly worse than Stony Brook.

First off, to the casual outsider, the losses of linebacker Tyler Matakevich, tackle Matt Ioannidis, corner Tavon Young and wide receiver Robby Anderson are insurmountable. The Temple fan, the guy who pours over depth charts 365 days a year, knows better. Matakevich is not replaced by one player, but by three linebackers who have 41 starts between them. Two of them are repeat single-digit players, meaning they were among the nine toughest guys on the team last year as well. Because of the play of corners Nate Hairston and Artrel Foster, who both saw plenty of time last year, Tavon Young’s loss is replaceable. Moving the other corner, Sean Chandler, to the middle of the field has accentuated his ball skills and made the secondary better. Ioannidis is replaced by the deepest and fastest defensive line Temple has ever fielded. So much so that the defensive end who made the play of the game in a 27-10 win over Penn State a year ago, Sharif Finch, is now second team through no fault of his own but because the Owls have beasts on both ends, Haason Reddick and Praise Martin-Oguike, the latter who had an interception in the Notre Dame game.

To the know-it-alls on the opposing fan message boards, these players do not exist. On game day, they will wonder where they came from and wish they had paid closer attention to what Temple really has coming back.

In five days, they will learn the hard way.

Wednesday: 5 Keys For Beating Penn State

Friday: The Rivalry Arrives

Saturday: Game Analysis

Penn State will get a great coach in Al Golden

While a James Franklin hire will be better for Temple fans, Penn State fans should not fret over landing Al Golden.

While a James Franklin hire will be better for Temple fans, Penn State fans should not fret over landing Al Golden.

When his coaching career is over,  Al Golden is going to sit down in front of his laptop and type the story of his life.

Like another coach who served time at Temple University, he’s already got the title of his book:  Deserve Victory. When John Chaney coached basketball at the school, one of his favorite phrases was “Winning Is An Attitude” and that turned out to be a best-selling book about Chaney, who found his way into college basketball’s Hall of Fame.

Sometime on Monday, Al Golden is likely (though not certain) to be named head  football coach at Penn State and even though he was a Nittany Lion football captain, very few Penn State fans know a lot about Al Golden. Temple fans, of which I count myself among the few and proud, do know a lot about him because his life was an open book for his five years of transforming the football program at that school.

Golden carried a binder around with him for all of those five years and, on the front cover, were the words: Deserve Victory. In its pages, were detailed notes on how to build a winning football program,  from hiring a staff to recruiting to dealing with the fans and the media and minute details on how both spring and summer practices are organized. There was even a part in there on the importance of summer football camps.

As a Temple football fan, I got to know Al Golden during those five years and, while no man is perfect, Penn State could get no better man to lead its football program. His attention to detail is impeccable. When he walks into a recruit’s home, he usually closes the deal and he’s coached at two places where the home stadium is usually half-full. That won’t exist at Penn State.

Does he have flaws? Sure. He’s not a great game day  coach, but there are very few of those around anyway. The current Temple head coach makes him look like Albert Einstein on game day.  If Penn State announces Al Golden as its next head coach in a press conference on Monday afternoon, it will be getting a very good head coach with a lot of great chapters left to write.

Take it from a Temple fan who saw his work up close and personal for five very good years.

No anger, just disappointment


Close-but-no-cigar was typified by how close TU got to sacking McGloin on a 4th and 5 TD pass.

I thought the coaches had a great gameplan. My only question was punting on 4th and 4 late in the third quarter, down 14-3. Kick it into the end zone and you gain only 20  yards of field position. To  me, the correct call was to get a swing pass out there on the sideline near the sticks for four yards and keep the drive going. That’s the logical call and I don’t see giving up that down in exchange for 20 yards of field position. I didn’t see it when the call was made and I didn’t see it after PSU went 80 yards for a 21-3 lead. That’s being Temple Timid, not Temple TUFF.

 UNIVERSITY PARK _ After Temple’s 36-27 loss to Maryland, the predominant feeling from this corner was anger.
Anger, as in, “How can you not blitz the crap out of a true freshman QB who threw three blitz-induced picks against William and Mary?”
That loss was on the coaches.
Now, sitting here getting free wifi in McDonald’s after a 24-13 loss to Penn State, the overwhelming emotion is disappointment.
This one is on the players.
I thought the coaches had a great game plan. My only question was punting on 4th and 4 late in the third quarter, down 14-3. Kick it into the end zone and you gain only 20  yards of field position. To  me, the correct call was to get a swing pass out there on the sideline near the sticks for four yards and keep the drive going. That’s the logical call and I don’t see giving up that down in exchange for 20 yards of field position. I didn’t see it when the call was made and I didn’t see it after PSU went 80 yards for a 21-3 lead. That’s being Temple Timid, not Temple TUFF.
But the plays left on the field before that were the game-changers.
As the only Temple fan sitting in my section (thanks to a free ticket from a PSU supporter and friend) from near the top row of Beaver Stadium, I could see both Cody Booth and Jalen Fitzpatrick CLEARLY being missed on sure-fire touchdown passes.
Had the Owls hit those seemingly easy pitch and catches, the game might have been different. No bigger Chris Coyer supporter than I, but it looked like he missed the Fitzpatrick pass altogether.
On the other one, it looked as if Cody Booth stopped in the pass pattern did not go where the ball was designed to be thrown.

Owlscoop.com’s take on the game plan.

Since Jalen complained to the ref about being held, I think that might have been the case on his play, too.
 Still, I think Chris could have adjusted those throws for two scores.
Adam DiMichele makes both of those throws for scores. He didn’t care about timing patterns. Of course, on the other hand, Chester Stewart throws both balls into the first row, so I guess everything is relative.
That’s easy for me to say because I wasn’t being rushed by 6-foot-5, 300-pound linemen, but those are plays a big-time team makes in a big-time setting.
Temple isn’t a big-time team. At least not yet.
 It really ticks me off that the first Temple win over Penn State will come with an asterisk, but it’s going to happen in Philadelphia on Aug. 30, 2014.
The asterisk, of course, will be Temple having 10 more scholarships than Penn State in each of the next two seasons leading up to that game.
Temple will have a talent and depth edge so pronounced that I would be surprised Penn State gives Temple the kind of game the Owls have given PSU the last three years.
 On Saturday, though, it was just another case of close, but no cigar against PSU.
 I like cigars.
Temple could have given their fans a puff of a primo Havana cigar on Saturday.
Instead, we’ll have to settle for one of those cheap 7-11 cigars in 2014 and that’s a long way away.
That’s the bad news out of Saturday.
Other bad news came from our former MAC brethren against Big 10 teams. While Temple was losing at Penn State, Central Michigan was getting it done at Iowa and lowly Eastern Michigan was throwing a scare into Michigan State.
If them, why not Temple?
 The good news is that these are fixable problems. The defense is not a SEC-level defense, but it certainly is good enough to excel in the Big East.
Here’s the offensive fix: Have Romond Deloatch, Jalen Fitzpatrick, Deon Miller and Ryan Alderman in the receiving rotation. Forget everybody else for now. Get those guys up to speed. I know Deloatch stepped out of bounds on his great catch, but that is a minor problem that’s fixable in practice for a true freshman. He fights for the ball and catches it. I like that. I know Alderman had a drop, but that was his only drop in a three-year career at Temple that I can recall. He’s a great third-and-eight option. Fitzpatrick can make explosive plays downfield and he won’t drop the ball, either.
 Get the ball “in space” to Montel Harris and Matty Brown more. Shovel passes, screens, pitchouts. Those guys are deadly in space, not so much between the tackles.
If you want to run it up the middle, give it to fullback Wyatt Benson.
I think Penn State will prove to be the best team on the Temple schedule not named Louisville and the Lions might even be better than Louisville.
 More good news came from the mighty Big East on Saturday:
South Florida lost at Ball State (in the same stadium Temple beat Ball State, 42-0, last year).
“That’s the kind of team we’d like to be in four years,” Ball State coach Dave Lembo said of Temple after that loss last year. Since then, Ball State has beaten a Big 10 team and South Florida.
Heck, Ball State is the kind of team I’d like Temple to be in two weeks, too. Temple hasn’t fallen that fast in a year, has it? I don’t think so but they’ll have to prove it to me on Oct. 6.
Also, Western Michigan beat UConn.
Again.
Yeah, that transition from the MAC is really going to be tough for the Owls.
They have the blueprint for the fixes and two weeks to do it against South Florida. If Ball State can do it, so can they. There can be no excuses next time. Get ‘er done.
Now for the long ride home for both me and them.

Penn State fans taking smug attitude again

Temple will be seen on ABC TV in all of the blue areas.

For about 20 years, I’ve had a neighbor who was a Penn State fan.
I always envied him because his football program won all the time and my football program, except for the last few years of those two decades, lost all the time.
The relationship worked this way.
He felt sorry for me.
I envied him.

Then it changed a little bit over the last few months.
I felt sorry for him over the Jerry Sandusky thing.
He envied me because Temple didn’t have to deal with all that crap.
Before all that went down, we tailgated together at last year’s Temple game, his group welcoming me even though I wore my Temple jersey.
I then extolled the virtues of my favorite player, Bernard Pierce, telling them how good he was, that he was a football player who happened to become the Pennsylvania schoolboy 100-meter track champion while messing around with that sport his senior year.
“The great thing about him,” I said, “is that he’s got moves like Barry Sanders, but he’s not afraid of contact. He runs like a fullback. He can go 70 yards on any given play.”
One of the group then said something that pissed me off.
“No, offense, but if he’s so good, why is he playing at Temple?” in a matter-of-fact way and not kiddingly.
I just shook my head. Offense taken.

‘Temple won’t score a touchdown. They’ll get two field goals.’
_Philly sports talk radio host

I said there were a lot of guys who played at Temple who were really good, mentioning All-American and All-Pro Joe Klecko, former Heisman Trophy runner-up Paul Palmer, Big East offensive and defensive players of the year Dan Klecko and Walter Washington, former Redskins’ Tre Johnson and Leslie Shepard, Jets’ first-round draft choice Mo Wilkerson, etc., etc..
Then the game began and it was evident Temple had just as many good players as Penn State and played with a passion and pride Penn State didn’t display except for the final drive. When it was over, most of the Penn State fans in the group showed a lot of class.
“You guys deserved to win,” one of them said.
“One of these days we will,” I replied.
I’m heading up to Penn State with the same group tomorrow. I will bring my laptop and try to find a place to file a post-game report late Saturday night.
There’s a lot of that familiar swag among Penn State fans this year, that Temple can’t possibly win. Mike Missenelli, the sports talk host in town and a Penn State alum, said today on the radio, “Temple won’t score a touchdown. They’ll get two field goals. The score will be 20-6.” I hope Missenelli gets a lot of calls from Temple fans on his show Monday.
Pretty smug attitude about a Penn State team that lost to Virginia and Ohio. Virginia got smoked by Georgia Tech, 56-20, and Ohio struggled to beat Marshall, 27-24.
I know Temple will score a touchdown and I suspect the Owls will score several.
If that happens, and the Owls win, forgive me for not feeling sorry for Penn State.

Early forecast for Saturday: Temple sunshine

While the rain won’t be coming into Philadelphia until dinner time, it should be at Penn State by kickoff.

The early forecast is for rain on Saturday during Temple’s game at Penn State.
They might as well call it Temple sunshine.
Before the season, Penn State lost its top running back, Silas Redd, to a USC transfer.
Early reports this week indicate his top two replacements, Derek Day and Bill Belton, are banged up and might not play.

Bill O’Brien answers a question about the availability of top tailbacks Derek Day and Bill Belton.

Conversely, Temple lost its top tailback, Bernard Pierce, to the NFL draft but replaced him with an arguably better version of Pierce in Montel Harris. Also, Matty Brown, not Pierce, was Temple’s No. 1 all-purpose runner last year.
Unlike two Penn State tailbacks, Harris and Brown are 100 percent healthy and ready to go Saturday (ABC-TV, Channel 6).
As good as Pierce was, not even the biggest Pierce fan (err, me) is ready to say that Pierce would have been the second-leading all-time rusher in the ACC had he played in that conference.
Harris was and would have been the all-time leader had he remained at Boston College for his senior season.
History shows rain tends to dramatically reduce scoring and teams that can run the ball and have a good field goal kicker have a major advantage.
Temple can run the ball and its field goal kicker, Brandon McManus, is a darn sight better than Penn State’s (Sam Ficken). McManus is also a great punter and field position could be especially important under adverse weather conditions.
One of the most infamous times Penn State played a home game in a pouring rain and mud at Beaver Stadium, Navy posted a big upset win, 7-6, in 1974, one year after Penn State beat Navy in Annapolis, 39-0. In the rain, maybe it is a 10-7, 6-3 game and not in a 24-21 range. The last time Temple played in a steady rain was a 12-6 overtime loss to UConn during Hurricane Hanna.
I’ve never placed a bet on a Temple game and probably never will (it hurts enough to lose straight up and covering in a loss doesn’t make me feel any better), but it’s something to consider for those so inclined.
The under looks very appealing, Still, I’ll take any Temple win over cashing in at the payout window.

Temple vs. Penn State: One day later

Joe Paterno on the practice field,
prior to the 1950 Temple game.

The last time Temple walked off the field not a loser to Penn State, an assistant coach shook the hand of Temple coach Albert P. Kawal congratulating him on a good game at then Beaver Field, a 7-7 tie.
The assistant coach was Joe Paterno, then a 23-year-old assistant to Rip Engle.
The year was 1950 and the city of Philadelphia was giddy over a team called the Phillies, who had just won a National League pennant. They were known as the Whiz Kids.
After a sleepless night of tossing and turning over the Penn State sanctions, I’ve come to a different conclusion than a day ago. I really don’t care much for Penn State, but I do care a lot about Temple.
Yesterday, I hoped that if Penn State players transfer they would consider nearby Temple as a landing spot.
Today, I hope none of them transfer and that they win the Big 10 championship.
Most of all, I hope that Temple beats them fair and square on the football field and that the win carries all of the prestige a win over PSU would have last year.
I predicted as much on Black Shoe Diaries, a Penn State blog, last week. I thought Temple would win, 17-7, based on having the entire defensive line back and some good replacement talent on the back end of the defense coached by the best coordinator in the country and a playmaking quarterback on the other side of the ball. I was called overly optimistic in the comments below the story.

Al Kawal, Temple coach (1950)

If, for example, Penn State was to open this season losing to Ohio University and then follow that up with a loss to Temple a couple of weeks later, that would be viewed as the beginning of the end of Penn State football.
No big deal, PSU fans, Joe Philly fans, the nation, would say.
I want that end to come next year, not this year.
On the other hand, if Temple were to beat the eventual Big 10 champion or even a Big 10 contender ALONG with winning the Big East, that WOULD be a big deal. That’s the scenario I want.
At the top of my bucket list, I want to be alive and present when Temple beats Penn State in football.
 Penn State players knew they were in a game when they played Temple a year ago. They have the bumps and bruises to prove it. I want them to experience Temple tough (or, TUFF) again, this time with the Owls coming out on top.
I don’t want that win to be diminished in any way.
So,  for now at least, go Lions and, more importantly, go Owls.

Temple could benefit most from Penn State sanctions

Not Penn State wins anymore, but not Temple’s, either.

Forget the fact that Penn State’s seven wins over Temple  since 1998 have been “vacated.”
The Penn State sanctions announced this morning by the NCAA are staggering and there are no winners, just losers, in this case.
Still, an institution like Temple, with none of the Penn State baggage, could be a landing spot for some of these Penn State players.
The NCAA vacated all of Penn State’s wins from 1998 through 2011.
I don’t take any satisfaction in any of that. I will take my satisfaction on Sept. 22 when the Owls pick up a real win at Beaver Stadium. Nothing less.
Forget all that, though.
Temple stands to benefit in more tangible ways from Penn State’s sanctions today.
Perhaps more, or at least as much, as any other school.
Penn State players are eligible to transfer today and play at any school tomorrow.
Why not Temple?
Temple is in the same state as many of the current Penn State players.
Temple, like Penn State, plays in a BCS conference.
Temple, unlike Penn State, is located in a major media market.
Temple, unlike Penn State, is eligible to play in bowls for the next four years.
Temple, unlike Penn State, gets to use its full complement of 25 scholarships for the next four years.
Temple, unlike Penn State and even Pitt (which had four head coaches in a little over a calendar year) offers the most stability of any program in Pennsylvania.
Why not Temple, indeed?
If I were a Penn State football player or current verbal, I would be on the phone with Steve Addazio today.

We’ve come a long way, baby

Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw hugs Steve Addazio for doing something Al Golden could not do: Beat Maryland.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. _ A very wise person once said that for a good perspective, just open your eyes and take a look at what is happening around you.

All TU fans are
going in Heaven
right now

A few years ago, I wrote this story that appeared in The Philadelphia Daily News about all Temple football fans going to Heaven. Heck, I don’t know what Heaven is like but if it’s anything like Byrd Stadium was today, it must be a pretty good place.

I thought a lot about that today while watching my friend, Matt Cohen, take a shot of the scoreboard in the closing seconds of Temple’s 38-7 win at Maryland’s beautiful Byrd Stadium.
I remember when Matt, his brother, I and a handful of other Temple die-hards sat in Veterans Stadium and then Lincoln Financial Field watching some God-awful Temple teams, including Bobby Wallace squads of 0-11 and 1-11.
I remember many of those same faces tailgating in the rain before the final game of that 0-11 season, a 41-14 loss to the Fake Miami (that’s Ohio).
“You watch,” I told the handful of people left in the empty parking lot. “One day there will be a guy who leads us out of this mess.”
I saw many of those same faces in Section B at Byrd Stadium today.
They believed.

Statement by Steve Addazio:
“What you’re asking me is where is our football team at? I’ll tell you where we’re at right now. I’m really proud of this right now. I’m proud of the city we play in. We play in one of the greatest sports cities there is in America. We play in one of the best venues in the Linc in the country. We play a non-conference schedule – Maryland, Penn State, Notre Dame coming to town. We do that right now.

“We had 57,000 fans for our game against Penn State, over 40,000 Temple fans, last week and 12,000 Temple students. Two weeks before, against a I-AA opponent Villanova, we had over 30,000 fans to their 2,000 – 8,500 Temple students – and the atmosphere at Lincoln Financial was electric.

“Temple, now, guys and gals, has got 12,000 students going to 15,000. Everybody talks about back days, I don’t know why. Back days it was a commuter school. We have a $10 million football facility going on at our place and we’re a proud academic institution, one of the higher ranked ones in the country. If you’re asking me where’s our program, we’re doing it right now. We have attendance. Our TV numbers were higher than they were in Big Ten.

“I’m not a guy that’s much for B.S. I’m a guy based on facts and what is. What is is we’re a hard-playing team, we took a BCS win today. We went nose-to-nose with a BCS team last week. We have a great home-field crowd right now and Philadelphia has passion for college football like it never has before and we’re in the fourth-largest media market in the country, so what that means is not my concern.”

It was not a baseless belief.
“It happened before,” I said back then, telling them there was once a savior named Wayne Hardin. “It can happen again.”
That new savior was Al Golden.
His good looks, dogged personality and impeccable organizational skills led Temple out of these hedgerows. He was able to charm moms into sending their talented sons to play at Temple.
Now Steve Addazio and his SEC staff is leading a General Patton-like charge to bigger and better things.

 Golden wasn’t perfect.
He was a micromanger who did not trust his coordinators to formulate a winning game plan because his coordinators were, quite frankly, buddies from his college days.
Addazio hired two of the best coordinators out there, Chuck Heater for the defense and Scot Loeffler for the offense, and is letting those guys do their job.
That’s the way a good CEO runs any organization. Hire the best possible people for upper-level management positions and let them do their jobs.


Chuck Heater was defensive coordinator at 12-0 Utah. His work as defensive coordinator at Florida was so impressive that, last year, no less an authority than Urban Meyer said: “I call Chuck Heater Mother Theresa because he’s worked wonders with our defense.”

Scot Loeffler was quarterback coach at Michigan when Tom Brady was there and quarterback coach of Tim Tebow at Florida.
Both those guys know their stuff.
It has shown so far.


Photo by Matt Cohen



Heater plays an attacking-style defense, believing, as I always have, the best pass defense is putting a quarterback on his backside. Maryland’s talented quarterback, Danny O’Brien, did not have room to breathe, let alone look for receivers.

Loeffler establishes the run behind one of the great running backs in college football and plays off his skills by keeping the defense honest with play-action waggle passes to an All-MAC first-team tight end and an occasional shot down the field, again off play-action.
This is a team that will not be outcoached.
The results, then, should not be surprising.
 

Temple is two minutes away from being 4-0 with wins over an upper-tier Big 10 team and a solid ACC team. If you don’t think Maryland is solid, the Terrapins beat The Real Miami, 32-24. The Real Miami beat Ohio State, 24-6.
That’s solid.
So is Temple.
The Owls have what I believe is the best running back in the United States in Bernard Pierce. All Bernard did was carry the ball 32 times for 149 yards and a school-record five touchdowns. Bernard leads the nation in touchdowns.
I wrote before the season that 20 touchdowns and 2,000 yards are attainable goals for BP and he has made me look good so far.
Temple did something today it never has before: Both beat Maryland and beat an ACC team.
From the perspective of looking at this team and their fans, it’s just a starting point.

Penn State fans and over-reaction

Proof positive that Temple fans outnumbered PSU fans on Saturday.

There must be a severe disconnect between Penn State fans and Penn State players.
To read the reaction on web sites like “Blue White Illustrated” and “Black Shoe Diaries” beating Temple “only by 14-10” was pretty darn close to the Apocalypse coming to State College.
Almost no one gave Temple any credit for being a good team.
Almost everyone says this means Penn State is no good.
Twenty-five years of building a ram shack house that was once the Temple program destroyed the brand name and it is going to take more than two years of winning for a home makeover.
Still, if you watch college football these days, teams that don’t have “brand names” are beating teams with brand names.

Photos by friend of TFF, Tony Alessi

Someday, maybe Saturday at Maryland, that will happen for Temple.
It could possibly be Temple’s last chance this year. If Temple doesn’t beat Maryland and run the table, even if it wins the MAC, it is likely to be in a bowl game with another “brand less” team, say Troy. An 11-1 mark is probably enough to break Temple out of MAC bowl hell and into some kind of Heavenly bowl. An 11-1 record with Maryland winning the ACC and Penn State winning the Big 10 and that bowl becomes even more attractive.

An 11-1 mark is probably enough to break Temple out of MAC bowl hell and into some kind of Heavenly bowl

Penn State fans are over-reacting, just like UConn fans over-reacted after losing to Temple last year.
All you read on the Uconn message boards were “we won’t win another game” and “I can’t believe we lost to Temple” yet UConn went on to beat Pitt and West Virginia and win the Big East after that.
In a story about Kevin Kroboth by Brad Wilson in the Easton Express-Times on Sunday one of the comments below said: “Temple is much improved, but shows Penn Sate is going downhill.”

Temple football fact:
Owls are 15-0 when Bernard Pierce
gets 16 or more carries


That kind of thought process is really disrespectful to Temple’s kids.
Penn State’s kids know better. “We beat a great football team,” Rob Bolden said. Mike Mauti, who is a great player, said: “To come back and beat a team this good and we knew they were good coming in is a sign of what team we can be.” (Ironically, Mike Mauti is Rich Mauti’s kid and Rich Mauti beat Temple with a punt return in the final minute of PSU’s 26-25 win at Temple in 1975.)
When you are out there knocking heads, you know a lot more about the program you are playing and the kids on the other side of the ball that some fan on a message board.
Al Golden recruited well and got a lot of three- and four-star recruits. His good looks and dogged personality opened a lot of doors for Temple that previously had been closed. That kind of talent showed enough to stay with PSU.
PSU will be fine, as UConn was fine after running into Temple.
PSU is going to beat Eastern Michigan, 44-7, or thereabouts. You can write that score down now. It won’t be anywhere near 14-10.
Temple will be fine if it can somehow rebound from this psychological devastation and get a signature win at Maryland this Saturday.
Maybe both PSU and Temple fans will feel a lot better at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
For the sake of the two best college football teams in Pennsylvania, I hope so.

PSU: Temple’s biggest game ever

The field is ready and the nation will be watching the Owls on Saturday.

Let’s face it.
No matter what happens this year, Penn State is probably going to go to some nice, warm-weather, bowl game.

“We had over 30,000 some Temple fans for our game against Villanova, including 10,000 students. I don’t know how many Temple fans we will have Saturday, but it certainly won’t be any less than that.’
_ Steve Addazio

The best Temple can hope for, even if it jumps over the two or three teams ranked ahead of it (Toledo, Northern Illinois and maybe Ohio) and wins the MAC is Detroit.
Or Boise.
Or, in the best-case scenario, Mobile, Ala.
That’s life in the MAC these days.
On Saturday, Temple plays Penn State in the national (not regional) game on ESPN.
The Owls will be playing in their own hometown in front of roughly a split crowd (which is an improvement on all other Penn State games of my lifetime, with the exception of the 1975 game at Franklin Field).
“We had over 30-thousand some Temple fans for our game against Villanova, including 10,000 students,” Temple head coach Steve Addazio said. “I don’t know how many Temple fans we will have Saturday, but it certainly won’t be any less than that.”
Temple won’t be in a better bowl game this season unless it beats Penn State, Maryland and Toledo in a row and then finishes the season by running the table.
The bowl game in Washington D.C. in a half-empty and freezing RFK was nice, but it is not this.
A win over a 6-5 Cal team in the Garden State Bowl was nice, but it was not this.
Seventy-thousand people and a national TV audience is a chance for this program to make its mark nationally.
Maybe its only chance.
This time, a win is well within the realm of reality.
Temple beat UConn by two touchdowns last year and UConn found itself in the Fiesta Bowl.
Two years ago, without a quarterback, Temple handed a 10-2 Navy team a 28-24 loss on the road. That Navy team beat Missouri, 35-14, in its bowl game.
So it’s not as if this program hasn’t done some impressive things in the last two years.
Temple won eight games last year and nine games the year before and just about every Temple fan will tell you that this team is better than those two teams.
This is a chance for the Owls to show it on the biggest stage and in front of the most people who will ever watch them play.
A lot of kids play football their whole lives and never get a chance like this. These Owls are only a few hours away from getting their shot.