Temple Football: Four in a Row and Counting

Mike Gibson@paprepsCorrespondent IOctober 20, 2009

The year was 1985.

The top-rated series on TV was The Cosby Show.

The price of gas in some parts of the country was 69 cents a gallon.

On Oct. 19 of that year, the No. 1 song, "Take on Me," was by a Norwegian group, Ah-Ha.

On that very day, the Temple football team won its fourth straight game, a 45-16 thumping of William and Mary. That came after a 21-7 win at East Carolina, a 28-16 win at Cincinnati, and a 14-13 win over visiting Rutgers.

The Owls would not win four straight again until Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009 with a 27-13 thumping of visiting Army.

Twenty-four years without a four-game winning streak.

Until now.

That's how far Temple football has come in the four-year rebuilding process supervised by head coach Al Golden.

I was struck by something Golden said before all this winning stuff started happening four weeks ago.

"Once we start winning, it's going to continue for a long time," Golden said. "That's the way this thing is built."

It was a telling quote and an unforgettable one.

Four straight wins have now followed and this latest one probably is the most impressive.

Saturday, Temple beat an Army team that beat Vanderbilt, an SEC team, last week.
Army is very well-coached by Rich Ellerson (although you couldn't tell it at times on Saturday) and the Cadets are going to beat a lot of teams.

In fact, I would not be surprised if the Cadets beat Rutgers at beautiful Michie Stadium on Friday night because they play a style of defense that I'd like to see more teams play: blitz, blitz, and more blitz.

They put eight in the box and they come after the quarterback, hoping the reward (turnovers) outweighs any risk.

I can't see Rutgers' quarterback Tom Savage, a true freshman, thriving against that defense at all.

I like the philosophy and the scheme.

I also like the fact that the kids who play football for Temple University persevered against it.

Was it a masterpiece?


The Owls have to get better on offense. They have to get better protection for quarterback Vaughn Charlton.

They have to have somebody (whether it be Joey Jones, Lamar McPherson, Kee-ayre Griffin, or even Ahkeem Smith) step up and do a reasonable impersonation of injured superstar running back Bernard Pierce for a game or two.

They have to get a clutch player like Jason Harper more involved and team leaders like him and Steve Manieri are going to have to keep making great plays like they did on Saturday.

The Owls are coming up against a stretch of teams with quarterbacks, like Aaron Opelt of Toledo, who can make plays and put up a whole lot of points.

They are going to get into a track meet (think EMU last year) with one of these teams and the offense must be ready to win a game or two, like the defense has won these last four.

Nobody knows that more than Golden and company, so while you and I can just hope the offense comes around, that'll be the focus this week: tinkering with these great weapons, putting the gunpowder in, and fiddling with the trigger.

It's a process, Golden likes to say, and it's all about getting better every day and having fun, too.

Like former Temple coach Wayne Hardin used to say, the only way to have fun in football is to win.

Temple fans are having fun right now. It looked like the kids on the field were having fun, too.

I don't know where this road leads, but the Owls are concentrating on both enjoying the journey and getting better every step of the way.

The quality of the journey is directly correlated to the getting better part.


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