Temple Wins in Wild Comeback, but Still Isn’t Ranked

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You could watch a thousand more football games and not see another one that ended the way Temple-Massachusetts did on Saturday. The Owls, favored by 10 and looking for their first 3-0 start since 2010, gave up what appeared to be the game-winning touchdown to UMass’ Jamal Wilson with 1:20 left in the game.

But Temple’s Praise Martin-Oguike blocked the extra point and Stephaun Marshall scooped it up. About to be tackled, he lateraled it to Will Hayes (who said postgame he yelled for Marshall to throw it to him).

Hayes scored. Instead of a 24-20 deficit, Temple was down just 23-22. Now the Owls would only need a field goal to win the game instead of a touchdown. Smart thinking; a lot of people don’t even know you can run back a blocked extra point. Read more »

Temple Is Actually Almost Ranked in the Top 25 Poll

Two weeks ago, Temple pulled off one of its biggest wins in decades when it beat Penn State for the first time in 74 years. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, Joe Paterno was fourteen.

The Owls followed that up with its first win over Cincinnati since 1985. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, Jerry Sandusky still had another 14 years left as Penn State’s defensive coordinator.

Temple’s wins over Penn State (at the Linc) and Cincinnati (on the road) were led by two players: running back Jahad Thomas on offense (328 yards rushing in two games) and linebacker Tyler Matakevich on defense (20 total tackles in two games, two picks in Saturday’s win). Temple’s defense sacked Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg 10 times in their season-opening win, then forced five turnovers in the win over Cincinnati. Thomas also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score to open the second half against the Bearcats.

All of this has the Owls in a spot they haven’t been in a very, very long time: Very nearly ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. The Owls are in the top spot in the “Also Receiving Votes” column. They’re No. 26! Temple hasn’t been ranked since it finished 17th in the top-25 after going 10-2 in the 1979 season. (That year, Temple won the Garden State Bowl.) Read more »

Eight Great College Football Games to See (in Person) This Fall

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Football is under siege — from parents, doctors, academics, a Kennedy, even from Buzz Bissinger, the guy who wrote the definitive book on football, Friday Night Lights. This makes us sad. Football is a wonderful game perfectly suited to the American spirit, and we’d miss it if it went away. We love us some Eagles, but for true passion — from guys who aren’t making millions a year to take the field — you can’t beat college football. Here are eight upcoming games featuring local college teams that should offer lots of rivalry, fun and excitement, not to mention cheerleaders and marching bands. Catch as many as you can — while you can. Read more »

Kicker Commits to Penn State With Inspirational Video

A kicker committed to Penn State University by releasing an inspirational video about himself. He will fit in well at Penn State (presuming he kicks well).

Quinn Nordin is the top-rated kicker in the nation in the class of 2016 according to 247Sports.com, and received the most scholarship offers of any kicker entering college next year. Read more »

Three Reasons Temple’s $100 Million Stadium Is a Big, Bad Idea

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An on-campus football stadium at Temple University is a really bad idea.

It’s a bad idea for the university. It’s a bad idea for the North Philly neighborhood. And it’s a bad idea for you, the Pennsylvania taxpayer whose support is critical to the university.

But it’s also a bad idea whose time may have come. The Inquirer’s Frank Fitzpatrick on Sunday reported that “if some remaining financial details can be resolved, a go-ahead for a 30,000-seat, on-campus facility could come as early as this spring.”

Fitzpatrick did his reporting from Ohio, where the University of Akron built an on-campus stadium a few years ago and found, contrary to expectations, that it’s not necessarily true that if you build it, they will come. Student attendance has been anemic, at best, and the university has resorted to gimmicks like offering free tuition to try to attract a crowd to games.

“We have to find ways to keep our fan base growing,” Akron’s athletic director told Fitzpatrick.

But that’s not the only reason to be dubious of trying something similar in North Philadelphia. Three reasons a new stadium is a bad idea:

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Penn State Makes First Bowl Since 2012; Temple Snubbed

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The Nittany Lions are Bronx bound. Penn State’s players learned yesterday the team will play Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl on December 27th. It’s the first bowl game since 2012 for the Nittany Lions, who were banned from bowls the next two seasons in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

A team needs just six wins (and a .500 or better record) to qualify for a bowl. Penn State went 6-6 this year, its first under new coach James Franklin. The Lions opened the season 4-0, but lost 6 of its final 8 games. With its Big Ten Conference bowl tie-ins, that was enough to get the Nittany Lions into a bowl.

The 6-6 record was not enough to get Temple into the a bowl game, however.

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Why Does Neil Theobald Think Football Will Save Temple?

Photography by Clint Blowers

Photography by Clint Blowers

It was a date that would live in infamy.

The news hit the scholar-athletes gathered in Temple University’s Student Pavilion on December 6th of last year like a brick to the gut: The sports teams they’d been recruited for, trained for, worked for, played for, were being eliminated — “Chop, boom, you’re gone,” read the headline in the Temple News. Seven teams went poof: men’s crew, women’s rowing, softball, baseball, men’s gymnastics, and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field. Dozens of young hearts — along with those of their coaches — were broken as the university’s new athletic director, Kevin Clark, wielded the ax in a brief, succinct speech. And everybody knew where to lay the blame. “Make no mistake: Football drove cuts” was the headline on a student-newspaper editorial. The Inquirer’s Bob Ford chimed in: “No kidding they had to cut sports to save money. They just didn’t cut the one they should have.”
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At Temple, Collateral Damage in the Fight Against College Sexual Violence

Praise Martin-Oguike

Praise Martin-Oguike

Last week, President Obama made a big splashy show of announcing the formation of a task force to fight the “epidemic” of sexual violence on college campuses. He dragged out all the leaky old statistics that activists have been tossing around for years even though they fly in the face of common sense. (Would any father let his daughter attend a school where one in five female students actually got raped?)

There’s no doubt this is a touchy topic. There’s no doubt too many women have their lives ruined by sexual assault. But in the rush to protect them from the stampede of frothing male attackers, there’s collateral damage. The tale of Praise Martin-Oguike at Temple is proof of that.

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Temple Sports Cuts Sure Seem to Be About Football

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Let’s start with Temple’s premise that the cutting of seven sports from the athletic department roster had nothing to do with football. That’s what the folks on North Broad Street are saying, and there might be some truth to that. The Owls’ program is not an example of opulence gone wild, even though it is most certainly not a profitable enterprise. There are some other issues at work, too, most notably Title IX considerations.

The argument breaks down — falls apart completely, actually — when one considers the company Temple is keeping. That’s where the influence of football and its damaging effects come into play. Because the Owls fought so hard to join the pre-implosion Big East, and because the old Big East’s current football iteration only exists in a version that appears more like a Conference USA spinoff than a major confederation, the Owls doomed their other sports (even, to an extent, the men’s basketball program) to membership in a league that doesn’t suit and actually hurts them.

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THE PLAYER: The NFL’s (Almost) First Out Player

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Dorien at the Undine Barge Club, Boathouse Row. Photo by Chris Crisman.

It’s two months before Gaybowl XIII, when the seven-on-seven National Gay Flag Football League champion will be crowned in Phoenix, and the Philadelphia Revolution is bereft of its star. In the middle of an overgrown Little League field in East Passyunk, where a mucky dune marks the 50-yard line, a bespectacled, double-knee-brace-wearing team captain drills the squad on route-running. Then, 30 minutes into the two-hour practice, he arrives: arms muscled, pecs protruding from a pink-sleeved t-shirt. He moseys toward the bleachers wearing a camo-green hat and Versace Eros cologne. He has just left Voyeur three hours ago. “I know nothing right now,” he mumbles, pulling on his cleats, grabbing his receiver’s gloves, and jumping in line for some 10-yard hitch routes.

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