Huey Long’s Only Temple Football Game

Huey Long trying to get a booth review before the invention of television.

Huey Long trying to get a booth review before the invention of television.

Most people remember Huey Long as the only dictator in the history of the United States.

Technically, though, he was a U.S. Senator from the state of Louisiana in the early-to-mid-30s. In a real sense, though, he was “coach” of the LSU football team that lost to Tulane, 14-13, in the last regular-season game of the 1934 season. (He had a puppet Governor installed and puppet head coach, but Long was on the sidelines, made the important decisions and often got into heated arguments with the refs.) Had the Tigers scored two more points, Long’s team would have gone up against one of the legendary college coaches of all time, Temple’s Pop Warner, in the 1934 Sugar Bowl.

Tulane beat Huey Long's LSU team to earn a shot at Temple.

Tulane beat Huey Long’s LSU team to earn a shot at Temple.

That near brush with Long has to rank as one of the strange circumstances surrounding Temple football history. As it was, Tulane, not LSU, was the southern representative in the 1934 Sugar Bowl and Long never had a chance to match wits with Warner. He was in the stands, though, at the Sugar Bowl, rooting for Tulane according to newspaper accounts of the day. The temperature for that game was in the mid-50s, a day after it reached 78 degrees in New Orleans.

Four months after Tulane’s 20-14 win, Long was assassinated. He was 42 and planning to challenge Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the Presidency. An Oscar-winning Best Picture, All the King’s Men, was made on his life in 1949 and it won the Best Actor Award for Broderick Crawford, who played Long.

10-4? (That’s a Highway Patrol reference.)

Now, the Owls and Tulane and even LSU have come full circle for the 2015 game. The Owls are a 15-point favorite and Sports Illustrated (in the form of Stewart Mandel) this week has projected them as the Group of 5 representatives in the Peach Bowl against LSU.

Leonard Fournette has no shot in the open field against No. 8.

Leonard Fournette has no shot in the open field against No. 8.

Pretty heady stuff for the Temple fans who will flock to Lincoln Financial Field for the most festive and optimistic Homecoming in, err, Temple Football Forever.  It points up how things can change in college football in such a short time because it was only two years ago that the Owls came into Homecoming 0-6 and came out 1-6 after beating Army.

Now they are about as near to the top of the college football world as the 1934 Owls were. Somewhere, Huey Long is looking down and taking it all in, probably ambivalently.

Or, maybe in his case, looking up.

Tomorrow: Some Informed Speculation on HC Attendance

Saturday: Game Day Preview With Updated Depth Charts

Sunday: Complete Game Analysis

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6 thoughts on “Huey Long’s Only Temple Football Game

  1. Mike, liked the historical slant on the article

    • thanks, jd, did not want to do the same Temple-Tulane Sugar Bowl thing I did last year, so while doing some research on possible offbeat angles, I found that Huey Long was the “real” coach of LSU, and his coaching probably had something to do with Tulane winning in Baton Rouge. That’s like Bob Casey or Gov. Wolf coaching PSU against Temple (although they might have had a better result than Franklin this year).

    • While ESPN acknowledges us, they can’t even get our schedule correct. They have us closing the season with Cincinnati. Deja vu all over again. And they give us less than 100% of beating Cincinnati.

      • that’s the second time this year they confused us with Uconn; the first time was before the game with Cincy, when they had us playing Uconn. Ugh. … and then the daily news writes a nice story on Nate L. Smith only to ruin it by publishing a photo of Nate D, Smith. Ugh.

  2. Maryland is going to fire Randy Edsall, and Rutgers Football is in chaos, Temple should clean-up the NJ and Maryland recruiting background now

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