Top five Temple victories in the last 8 years

Matt Falcone got me to thinking today.
Falcone posted one of those publicity shots you see of various Owls all dressed up on his Facebook page.

Matt Falcone

Matt Falcone

I posted this under his photo:
“Made a great block that sprung James Nixon on a 103-yard kickoff return.”

“It seems like only yesterday, Mike,” Matt replied.

“One of my favorite wins of the last eight years, if not the top one,” I wrote back.

“Agreed,” Matt said.

Certainly does feel like yesterday but “yesterday” was 2009 and it was Bernard Pierce’s freshman year. Sadly, due to three knee injuries, Temple did not get to see much of Matt Falcone except in that year.

Temple needed that block from Falcone and that touchdown from Nixon to beat a very good Navy team, 28-24.

The Owls needed every one of Pierce’s 268 yards and two touchdowns, too. They needed everything.

(Navy went on to be 10-4 and hammer Missouri, 35-14, in a bowl game.)

Temple would go on to nine wins and the Eagle Bank Bowl.

As much as I loved the bowl win and how important it was to the school, the Navy win was my favorite.

Navy beat Notre Dame the next year on the road and Temple won at Navy’s house. The win immediately legitimized Temple on the national scene and the Owls remained legitimate until Steve Addazio ruined things last year. The take the media has on it was that Temple was stepping up in class and could not handle the transition.

My take was (and is) that the 2009 Temple team could handle the transition, as well as the 2010 team, etc. Daz lost offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler and did not trust Ryan Day to run a normal offense.

My top five Temple wins in the last eight years:


Adam DiMichele ended the 20-game losing streak with a flea-flicker pass.

5. Temple 28, Bowling Green 14 _ Win breaks a 20-game losing streak. Watching in the club seats with fellow Temple fans, Sal and Chris, who saw a lot of those 20-straight losses made this win great. Adam DiMichele seals it by throwing a flea-flicker pass to Travis Sheldon (after handing off to Tim Brown, who pitched it back to DiMichele).

4. Temple 38, Maryland 7 _ Temple jumped out to a 31-0 lead at halftime on the way to its first-ever win over an ACC team (although Owls beat Wake Forest when the Demon Deacons were not in the ACC) . A 38-0 lead with six minutes left could have easily become 45-0 as the Owls got a first-and-goal on the Maryland 1-inch line and the Owls took three knees after that. Maryland scores on the Owls’ third-team defense.

Bowl win

Bowl win

3. Temple 30, UConn 16 _ Justice delayed was not justice denied. Temple felt it was screwed out of a win at UConn by a Big East replay official in 2007, then lost in overtime in 2008 before beating the Big East champions by two touchdowns at Lincoln Financial Field. The big plays were Adrian Robinson stealing the ball from Jordan Todman and scoring a touchdown and Jaiquawn Jarrett delivering a bone-jarring hit of Todman that destroyed the Huskies will to win or even carry the ball against the Temple defense.

2. Temple 37, Wyoming 15 _ The Owls’ first bowl win in over 30 years was sweet as quarterback Chris Coyer earned MVP honors. Loeffler had to talk Addazio out of running out the clock just before the half and the result was a long Coyer touchdown pass to Rod Streater.

Falcone (15) joins the celebration after he pancakes every Navy player on the kickoff team.

Falcone (15) joins the celebration after he pancakes every Navy player on the kickoff team.

1. Temple 28, Navy 24 _ There was an element of justice in this one, too, as the Owls avenged a particularly bitter loss  from the year before in overtime. One of the Navy fans blew a whistle on fourth down and the Owls’ defense stopped playing thinking the whistle was the ref and the play resulted in a touchdown. The next year, the Owls had their greatest running back since Paul Palmer and Navy could do little to stop him.

The one common denominator of all these wins?  Matt Rhule was coaching the Owls in some important capacity on the sidelines. Let’s hope that’s a portent of things to come.


15 thoughts on “Top five Temple victories in the last 8 years

  1. Well, I know this one is not within the timeframe of what this ost indicates but as a former Owl football player I have to share my greatest upset win. Ready? 1998 win at 14th ranked Virginia Tech (Vick’s redshirt year).

  2. Definitely the greatest upset win. But these others were in the context of a program on the way up (even in the Bowling Green year, when it was the only win). Unfortunately, while Wallace had a lot of great players, he didn’t know how to put together a great program.

  3. 36 1/2-point underdogs the Owls were on that day, down 17-7 at halftime. Another 28-24 win (Va. Tech was forced to go for the touchdown). I was going crazy listening to Harry Donahue going crazy on the radio. Wish I had the audio so I could post it here. Another great win: 23-18 at Wisconsin in 1990. Dave Sims (now at Westwood One and Seattle Mariners play-by-play guy) handled the call.

  4. we have effectively lost three full recruiting years due to changes in coaches…., any and all wins will be great until we have a team with three consecutive solid recruiting years under helmet on the sideline…., we can only compete with ingenuity, coaching genius, and JUCOS/transfers in the interim…, and help from the new Pope?

  5. I would put last years win over USF in the top 5 for what it meant to the program. USF did not live up to its preseason hype, but our 1st game back in the Big East was a win. Also, by far Daz’s best coaching job all year. No lie, actual passing in the 1st half!

  6. Daz’s first class was ranked No. 54 in the nation and No. 1 in the MAC, so I hope we get some players out of it. He and Heater recruited Jim Cooper Jr. and we really needed a kicker. We have a punter in Paul Layton who, like McManus, is going to change field position. I think we have talent on defense and actual pass rushers, which I’m excited about. I hope we don’t miss Heater but I think we will.

  7. As far as the USF win, but win at the time, no so big win in retrospect.

  8. I read today ND at Temple was moved from 2014 to 2015. I know its only one year, but thats a real bummer IMO. I hear they added at Vanderbilt to replace the game.

  9. Mike, I really do not understand your love affair with Heater, I was never too impressed with the defense most of all his individual group (DB’s). Most of the big plays were as a result of good reads by Tyler or Nate

  10. Heater=back-to-back shutouts in 2011; Snow=hasn’t had a shutout since 1996; Nick Rapone=6 shutouts as a DC between 2007 and now. I like DCs who give me a realistic shot at as many shutouts as possible. (Plus, Heater shut out Uconn in the second half last year with freshmen and sophomores.)

  11. Greatest Temple helmet ever, looking over that photo bottom right.

  12. I typically only attend one, maybe two Temple games per year (in part because I live right outside of Washington, DC), but I was at games 4, 3, and 1 on the list above and all 3 games were awesome. I’d probably rank the 2010 UConn win slightly ahead of the 2009 Navy win (though the demolition of Maryland and seeing Terrapin fans look at me with bewilderment and then leave at halftime was the most fun win of the 3 games), but considering how bad the 2008 Navy loss was (I was at that game too), I can see why getting payback against the Midshipmen ranks #1.

    I haven’t decided which Temple game I’ll attend this year, but I’m strongly leaning towards the 10/5 Louisville game. Is there any chance that any of the Owls’ Saturday home games could be late afternoon or night games? (I also follow Penn and Villanova and would love to attend a college football doubleheader when Temple and Penn and/or Villanova are at home on the same day. I’ve done the doubleheader thing with Temple and Penn a couple times and Lehigh and Lafayette a couple times in the past.)

  13. Chip,
    first person I ever heard of besides me who followed BOTH Villanova and Penn through the years.
    Temple people hate me for this, but I was a BIG fan of Penn when it had Don Clune (Cardinal O’Hara) and Billy Creeden (Bishop Egan) and Villanova when it had Drew Gordon (Bishop McDevitt) and Mike Siani.
    The Mike Siani Nova team took three knees to end a 13-13 tie with Temple in 1971. I became a big Temple fan at that moment.

    • Hey Mike,

      Thanks for the response. Oh yeah, I root for all the Philly teams in Division I college football and basketball, as well as Lehigh and Lafayette in my native Lehigh Valley. (I didn’t go to any of those schools; my undergraduate degree is from a Division III school and my graduate degree is from a Division II school.) In college football, because Temple plays in Division I-A and those other schools play in Division I-AA, the Owls are my favorite team. (Back when I was growing up in the 1980s, Penn State was my favorite team, but I lost a lot of interest when they joined the Midwest-focused Big Ten. I could go on and on about the negative repercussions about THAT for ALL the old eastern independents including PSU and especially Temple, and how the small, private schools in the Big East basketball conference totally screwed up eastern Division I-A football, but I digress.)

      I admittedly couldn’t get fully into Temple football through most of the 1990s and the early 2000s; it’s tough to genuinely root for a team that is bad and rarely competitive. I wanted to, but the Temple teams of that era didn’t give me enough reason/reward to do so. But the Owls’ increased competitiveness under Al Golden got me more interested. To mention two Temple games I’ve attended, they certainly improved dramatically from their 2006 loss at Penn State (47-0 if I remember correctly; I was wearing a Temple hat and T-shirt and some Penn State fans looked at me strangely) to their bitter 2008 loss at Navy (which as brutal as it was, showed the Owls could compete with a good team on the road). I’d love to see the Owls go undefeated, or win the AAC, but you know what? If they can field, at a minimum, a competitive team, one that is pretty good every 2-3 years, and one that in its down years may have a losing record but is competitive in most games, I’ll remain very interested. That’s a lot better than what Temple achieved for most of the 1990s and early 2000s.

      By the way, I’ve read your blog periodically, especially during the season, for probably the last 4-5 years. You’re probably a little too optimistic sometimes, but the sports media (not so much in Philadelphia in my opinion, but outside of Philadelphia) likes to bash on Temple football, so you help balance things out. Keep up the good work, and LET’S GO OWLS!

  14. I guess I’m the Fox News of Temple football, then. Geez. I hope not. People generally think I’m not optimistic enough when I tell them 7-5 this year. I hope they are right and my baseline is too far low.

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