Temple Ready To Make A Statement
The Temple Owls enter this weekend’s highly anticipated matchup vs. Penn State after an ugly loss at home against the Maryland Terrapins on September 8th. The Owls committed seven penalties for 72 yards and turned the ball over four times, including a blocked field goal, but one thing can’t go unnoticed: the resiliency the Cherry and White showed in the second half.
With its top two running backs banged up and a starting quarterback who woke up with a 100 degree fever, Temple trailed the Terps 26-3 going into the locker room at half time. The Owls came back in the second half to score 24 points in one of most exciting games in the program’s history.
Despite the second-half effort, the Owls couldn’t come away with a W, and their bowl game chances took a huge hit, but one thing is clear – after years of dreadful collegiate football in Philadelphia, the Owls have made continuous statements the last few years, and football is relevant again around here.
The Owls have made it to two bowl games in the last three years and won their first postseason game since 1979 last December against Wyoming. It was the second bowl game victory in the institution’s history.
Now, here we are in the Big East Conference for the first time since 2004. Temple was originally kicked out of the conference due to poor production on the field and the lack of fan support.
This year marks the beginning of a new era on North Broad Street, though. Temple’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, and the support of the fan base has begun to increase immensely.
During week one’s trouncing over city rival Villanova, 32,709 fans invaded Lincoln Financial Field in what was the third largest crowd to ever attend a Temple Football game at the Linc.
What most outsiders don’t realize is the disadvantage students have with making it down to the football games. A 20-30 minute subway ride stands between campus and Lincoln Financial Field, unlike other universities which have a stadium remotely close, or even on campus. But this is Philadelphia, one of the biggest sports cities in the world, and college sports have a rich tradition.
Temple may not have a rich football history, but that is changing. The Owls are finally set to make their mark on the gridiron, and the fan base is beginning to take notice.
Shifting from the Mid-American Conference to the Big East is a major transition, so instant success on the football field isn’t expected. However, with a brand new practice facility, better competition on the schedule, an opportunity to play where the Philadelphia Eagles ball out, and a brilliant second year head coach in Steve Addazio, Temple is becoming an attractive destination for high school players all across the country.
Obviously, it’s going to take some time to put bodies in the seats that have been vacant in years past, but this is a university on the rise, and that trend will continue for years to come.
Temple, as a whole, is as hungry as ever. Whether it’s the student body, the athletes, professors, or alumni, everybody is looking to make a statement.
People can say what they want. Hell, we were picked to finish last in the Big East, but patience is a virtue, and we are equipped to go against all odds and make this conference ours in the coming years.