Cherry and White Day All About Beating Penn State

While researching a story about Stan Hochman, I came across this story I wrote in 1986 for a chain of newspapers. Still chasing the dream almost 30 years later.

While researching a story about Stan Hochman, I came across this story I wrote in 1986 for a chain of newspapers. Still chasing the dream almost 30 years later. 

Having watched Cherry and White Day games at Temple Stadium (both when it was standing and after it was demolished), Lincoln Financial Field (once), Geasey Field (several times) and now at the E-O, the meaning this year as never been more clear.

Beat Penn State.

While ostensibly the reason for spring practice is to get ready for the season as a whole, the focus can be on this one game this time because it is the opening one.

That’s not to say the Owls can’t have a great season if they lose to Penn State, but they would be changing life-long perceptions by winning this game. Ever since sports talk radio began a generation ago, talk show hosts in Philadelphia laughingly dismissed the notion that Temple could ever beat Penn State.

Last year, a Penn State talker, Mike Missanelli, openly asked, “Is this the year Temple finally beats Penn State?” His producer, Jon Marks, a Temple grad said, “no, that’s never going to happen.” Missanelli said, “Yeah, I was just messing with you.”

That’s the kind of perception both Penn Staters and Philadelphians have about this game. It’s the kind of perception they always have had.

It will always be that way until Temple decides to put Christian Hackenberg on his ass as many times as it put three Vanderbilt quarterbacks on their ass a year ago.

It can happen, but until it does, the Owls will be still chasing that dream.

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21 thoughts on “Cherry and White Day All About Beating Penn State

  1. As I’ve said before I think the time to beat Penn State in the most meaningful way was 2-3 years ago. A win then would have made asking $$ for a stadium much easier than it is now, and filled the seats with students at a faster rate than it is now.

    Hard to justify ~$300m to a buy a stadium for a team that hasn’t had a major milestone in it’s program (yes, yes ECU I get it) for a while and certainly not under it’s new HC. Beating Penn State is a declaration to the entire FBS community that Temple is a contender and overturns old conceptions. It also reinforces that the board made the right decision (barely) to keep the program alive.

    As always I hope for the win against Penn State. I think we can do it. I think the kids want to do it. It’s been too close for too long.

    (Before people get cranky about the milestone comment, yes, a win against Penn State is a major milestone in proving that we are a contender. As would be if we beat several top teams. As would be if we went to a bowl and won again.)

    • If Addazio hadn’t reeled in the offense, TU would have won that game. Tu’s first drive was a thing of beauty. Between keeping Pierce on the sidelines and changing QBs Addazio really screwed up.

      • Mike Gerardi had the lead at halftime simply managing the game. Then he got pulled by Daz for Stewart. Then, when he got put back in, he felt he had to go from a game-manager to a game-winner. All he had to do was stay the course and take the Owls home for a soft landing.

  2. hope it happens in my lifetime…, best game was at the Vet when Hardin decided to go for two instead of kicking the game tying extra point…, think we missed the window of opportunity during the PSU suspension years, Rhule had his golden chance to close the gap in talent and did not take advantage. Franklin is one of the top 10 recruiting coaches in the nation…, a win, if it does come, will be post Rhule/Franklin. the disparity in talent will increase dramatically during Franklin’s tenure.

    Quite a shame, AG and DAZ made significant progress (just look at the number of Sunday players they sent to the NFL) in closing the talent gap with PSU. Don’t see half as many Sunday players during Rhule’s tenure.

    • I remember the end of the game when Hardin made that call. The pass interference on Penn State on the two point conversion in the end zone that was not called. No one will ever know if the pass would have been caught, but we should have had the chance to try it again.

      • definitely pass interference. we were mugged in the end zone but the refs decided Penn State needed the win more. gutsy and correct call by Hardin.

    • What progress did Daz make? His ladt year, he handed the ball to Harris 75% of the plays. Daz was every bit as bad a game day coach as Rhule. PSU game proved that. His whole 2nd year proved it as well.

  3. Can’t disagree with any of the comments, but while beating PSU would be great and a boost in several ways to Temple’s program, it’s not the be-all and end-all to Temple having good seasons and some bowl games – like Ben S said, other big wins (like ECU) and in bowl games will help the program too. And this isn’t to say I would very much like to see the Owls beat Penn State, but for obvious reasons I keep that wish in perspective. And by the way, this year could be another decent chance. Most of Franklin’s recruits will be freshmen and IF Rhule makes some good changes, maybe, just maybe…

    • actually it is a be-all-end-all because of the way the program is perceived to be in the 5-county Philadelphia area. we can beat ecu until we’re blue in the face but none of those wins would have the impact on the region as a win over a good team Penn State team will. It can’t be “they just won because Penn State was down” … 2011 was our best chance.

  4. Errant throw by Gregory on the 2 point play because of a blitzer off the left side. To see the hi-lite film just google Penn State Temple 1976. Note the guy on the field when TU scored the last time.

  5. Here it is. Nothing like color television pre-hdtv days.

    • poor Wes (RIP). That missed FG was his worst kick ever at Temple. Brandon would have nailed it. 33-31 Temple.

      • The Geise brothers were playing against one another Joe for TU (#96) and Steve for PSU. By the way. Gregory was in on the sneak and had there been replay the cal would have been reversed.

  6. Did we ever figure out who the fan was rushing the field? Love the Temple uniforms that day and the fans holding up the Temple letters.

  7. Gregory and the fake draw long pass remains to this day one of my all-time favorite Temple plays.., who is the last time you saw a Temple team complete a long pass off a fake draw?

    • the wraparound draw is an awesome play as is the shovel pass and the jump pass to the te. None of them are “trick plays” but sound plays designed to beat an overly aggressive defense and staples of the Hardin Era.

  8. Hated being a defender on the wrap around draw. Inevitably, you overran the play as a defensive end and it always went for good yardage because the linebackers had dropped off in pass coverage. It could only work though if the center was successful in getting the nose guard to one side or the other. If he remained on the center’s head the play failed.

    • all part of the smorgasboard offense, a little veer, a little pro set, a little triple option. don’t know how Hardin put all of those things in and the kids (now 60-70) executed them so well. I never saw an empty backfield then, though.

  9. I see what you mean by saying a win over PSU would make a difference regionally. But saying it needs to be over a “good” PSU team may be asking too much. The difference in the programs historically is just too great and PSU has built a dynasty in the mid-Atlantic states that is almost impossible to overcome like in recruiting – heck even after the Sandusky debacle kids still chose the Lions. It may help Temple for a few recruits here and there, but they’ll never approach truly competing for players with them. Maybe my expectations are too low, but just having regular winning seasons and bowl games would satisfy me after all these years of failure and beating the ECUs mixed in is part of that. And by the way, I was just down in Tallahassee and read in the paper that they’re making a pretty big deal over getting a 3-star O-lineman, so maybe Temple’s recruiting is pretty good after all. But I guess within a star level there are differences between the top 3-star and lower 3-star players. And maybe this is silly, but I’m already looking forward to next season just to see how the Owls will do – just can’t help it.

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