Temple Owls football

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Temple Owls football
2015 Temple Owls football team
Temple Owls logo.svg
First season 1738
Athletic director Kevin Clark
Head coach Matt Rhule
3rd year, 18–18 (.500)
Home stadium Lincoln Financial Field
Stadium capacity 68,532
Stadium surface Desso GrassMaster
Location Philadelphia, PA
Conference The American
Division East
All-time record 438–574–53 (.436)
Postseason bowl record 2–2 (.500)
Claimed national titles 0
Conference titles 1 (1967 Middle Atlantic)
Division titles 2 (2009 MAC East, 2015 American East)
Heisman winners 0
Consensus All-Americans 2
John Rienstra, 1985
Paul Palmer, 1986

Cherry and White

Fight song "Fight! Temple Fight!"
Mascot Hooter T. Owl
Marching band Temple University Diamond Marching Band
Rivals Cincinnati Bearcats
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
UCONN Huskies
ECU Pirates
Navy Midshipmen
USF Bulls
UCF Knights
Villanova Wildcats
Outfitter Under Armour[1]
Website Temple Athletics

The Temple Owls football team represents Temple University in the sport of college football. The Temple Owls compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision as a member of the American Athletic Conference (The American). They play their home games at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Owls were a football-only member of the Big East Conference from 1991 until 2004. Temple was forced out of the league due to poor attendance averages, non-competitiveness, and a lack of commitment to the football program from university officials. Temple played the 2005 and 2006 seasons as an independent before playing in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) from 2007 to 2011. In March 2012, the Owls rejoined the Big East Conference, with football membership beginning in the 2012 season and all other sports beginning conference play in 2013. That same year, the conference was renamed the American Athletic Conference after several basketball-only schools split off to form a new conference that kept the Big East name. Temple is the last original Big East football member still in the The American. Five of the eight former members play in the ACC, while the other two teams play in the Big 12 and the Big Ten.


Although Temple began playing organized football in 1894, the Owls' modern era began in 1925. That was the year that Henry J. "Heinie" Miller was hired as head coach, and for a time, the Owls were a regional power. To start the 1928 season, the Owls moved to Temple Stadium. Miller coached eight seasons and compiled a 50-15-8 record.

Pop Warner era (1934–1938)[edit]

Following Miller's departure in 1933, the Owls made a national splash with the hiring of their next coach, the legendary Glenn "Pop" Warner. Warner had spent the previous 19 years at Pittsburgh and Stanford, winning three national championships. He ended his career at Temple, going 31-18-2 in six seasons. In 1934, the Owls went 7-0-2 in the regular season and were invited to play in the inaugural Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day, 1935, where they lost to Tulane, 20-14.

George Makris era (1960–1969)[edit]

From the time Warner retired at the end of the 1938 season until 1963, the Owls experienced only 4 winning seasons. The team reached a nadir in the late 1950s, enduring a school record 21-game losing streak from the last four games of the 1957 season and through the entire 1958 and 1959 seasons. George Makris arrived as head coach to start the 1960 season and won his first game. Makris restored competitiveness to the Owl program, compiling a 10-year record of 45-44-4. Makris' tenure coincided with Temple's 10 years in the University Division of the Middle Atlantic Conference, during which they won the 1967 conference championship. In 1966, led by a Temple single game record five touchdown passes by John Waller to receiver Jim Callahan (whose first 10 receptions that year went for touchdowns, all thrown by Waller), Markis brought "the Old Shoe" back to Broad Street by defeating Bucknell University for the first time in 12 years.[2]

Wayne Hardin era (1970–1982)[edit]

After the 1969 season, the Owls became an independent again to upgrade their schedule and compete against the top teams in the East. Under new coach Wayne Hardin, who coached six years at Navy, Temple was up to the challenge. Hardin led the Owls to an 80-52-3 record over 12 years.

Temple went 9-1 in 1973 and 8-2 in 1974 and won 14 straight games at one point. Temple played regular season games in Japan's Mirage Bowl twice, losing 35-32 to Grambling in 1977 and beating Boston College 28-24 in 1978.

In 1979, the Owls had a 10-2 record and the most wins in school history. The Owls opened the season with a 38-16 win at West Virginia and later beat Rutgers (41-20) and Syracuse (49-17). Temple's only losses during the regular season were to nationally ranked Pittsburgh (10-9) and Penn State (22-7). In the game at Penn State, before a record-setting crowd, the Owls led 7-6 at the half. Following the 1979 season, the Owls defeated California 28-17 in the second Garden State Bowl. The crowd who witnessed Temple beat California (55,952) was the largest in the short history of that Bowl.

Under Hardin, the Owls were one of the more stable Eastern football powers and often defeated local rivals West Virginia, Rutgers and Syracuse. In the 1970s, Temple went 4-4 against West Virginia, 2-1 against Rutgers, 1-1 against Syracuse, 4-1-1 against Cincinnati and 2-0 against Connecticut.

Bruce Arians era (1983–1988)[edit]

When Hardin retired in 1982, the Owls hired Bruce Arians - then 30 years old - to succeed him. Arians had some success, beating Pitt three times in his six years on the job. Arians had two winning seasons, going 6-5 in 1984 when the defense was ranked 21st in the nation beating East Carolina, Pitt, and West Virginia and 6-5 1986. Unfortunately, Temple's six wins in 1986 were later forfeited because the Owls' roster included an ineligible player.

Decline (1989–2005)[edit]

Jerry Berndt, who took over for Arians in 1989, led Temple to their last winning season for almost twenty years in 1990, when the Owls went 7-4. Temple joined the Big East Conference in 1991, but had difficulty competing against teams with better facilities and bigger budgets. The Owls would not win a conference game until 1995, and would only win 16 conference games during their 14-year run in the league. Temple won as many as three league games only once (1997: 3-8, 3-4 Big East) and went winless in league play six times. Overall, they had a 14-80 record against Big East foes.

Berndt (11-33), Ron Dickerson (1993-97: 8-47) and Bobby Wallace (1998-2005: 19-71) were unable to halt the decline. Temple went 0-11 in Wallace's final year. In part due to the Owls' noncompetitiveness, poor fan support, and lack of institutional support, the Big East voted to expel the Owls at the end of the 2004 season.

Al Golden era (2006–2010)[edit]

Virginia defensive coordinator Al Golden was named head coach ahead of the 2006 season. The Owls lost their first 8 games under Golden before beating Bowling Green during their Homecoming game on October 28, snapping a 20-game losing streak, one game short of the school record. The Owls finished 1-11 in Golden's first year.

The Owls won 4 games in 2007, including three straight wins at one point in mid-season. During Golden's second season, Temple's defense was ranked 49th in the nation, as opposed to 118th in 2006.[3] The offense also improved from 118th to 113th, but it was clear that Temple's defense, despite their incredible youth, was the heart of their team. The Owls won 5 games in 2008, their most since 1990. After his fourth season, Golden's record stood at 19-29.

In 2009, the Owls went 9-4, their best record since 1979 with three of four losses being competitive including a last second loss to Villanova. The lone exception was a lopsided 31-6 loss to a Penn State team that finished 11-2 with a #8 ranking. Temple accepted a bid to play in the EagleBank Bowl, where they faced the UCLA Bruins. In the Owls' first post-season appearance since the 1979 Garden State Bowl, the Owls lost 30-21 to the Bruins.

In 2010, the Owls lost a crucial game to Ohio University which would have given them a potential MAC Championship. The week after, Temple added another loss to Miami (Ohio), and coupled with losses to Penn State and Northern Illinois, the Owls finished at 8-4 for the season but did not receive a bowl bid.

In December 2010, Golden was hired as the head coach of the University of Miami.

Steve Addazio coached the Owls from 2011-12 before becoming the Boston College head coach. During the 2011 season, the Owls reached their fourth bowl game ever after posting a 9-4 record. In a dominating win over Wyoming, the Owls secured their second bowl win in team history.

Matt Rhule era (2012 to present)[edit]

Matt Rhule, who had previously served as a Temple assistant coach from 2006-2011, was named Temple's head coach in December 2012. Rhule was previously serving as the Assistant Offensive Line Coach for the NFL's New York Giants. Rhule beat out his former colleague, University of Miami defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio for the job.[4]

In Rhule's first season as head coach, Temple struggled and won just two games. Despite the record, however, Rhule and his staff assembled the No. 2 recruiting class in the American Athletic Conference for the Class of 2014.[5]

During Rhule's second year as head coach, Temple showed considerable improvement over its previous season record. Temple defeated Vanderbilt University, 37-7, in its opening game for the program's first win over a Southeastern Conference opponent since 1938.[6] Later on in the season, Temple would defeat the No. 21 East Carolina Pirates for its first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since 1998. Overall, the 2014 Temple Owls football team finished at a bowl-eligible mark of 6-6 but did not secure a bowl bid. Rhule's contract was extended until the 2019-20 season in July, 2015.

Rhule began the 2015 season by beating Penn State, his own alma mater, 27-10 in front of a sellout crowd of 69,176 - a record for a college football game at Lincoln Financial Field.[7] The win against Penn State was the school's first since 1941. The Owls also set an American Athletic Conference for sacks in a game by recording 10 against highly-touted NFL prospect Christian Hackenberg.[8] One of the 10 sacks came on a two-man rush against Penn State's offensive line and was featured on ESPN's "Not Top 10."[9] The Owls followed up their historic win by going on the road and knocking off American Athletic Conference preseason favorite Cincinnati 34-26. In front of a "white out" crowd, Temple's defense caused another frustrating day for a top NFL prospect in Cincinnati's QB Gunner Kiel. Kiel was intercepted four times in the second half, including a game clinching interception by Tyler Matakevich in the Owls' own end zone with 13 seconds left.[10] Jahad Thomas ran for 193 yards and a touchdown with 2 catches for a total of 17 yards. Thomas added another touchdown on a 100-yard kickoff return to begin the 2nd half.

The Owls continued their hot start with a close 25-23 win at Massachusetts. Temple gave up a touchdown with 1:20 left in the 4th quarter to fall behind 23-20. Facing an extra point that would have forced the Owls to score a touchdown in order to win, defensive lineman Martin Praise-Oguike blocked the UMass extra point, which was then recovered by cornerback Stephaun Marshall and lateraled to safety Will Hayes, who returned the conversion all the way to the end zone for 2 points. Quarterback PJ Walker then led the Owls 50-yards in a little over a minute, setting up the game winning 32-yard field goal that was made by kicker Austin Jones.[11] After a bye week, Temple traveled to Charlotte and stomped the 49ers by a score of 37-3. Robby Anderson caught 2 touchdowns and Nate L Smith recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown in the win that sent Temple to its first 4-0 start since 1974.[12]

Temple beat Tulane 49-10 in week 5, followed by a 30-16 win at home against UCF. Playing in a sold out Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium, Temple won a harrowing victory in a nationally televised game against the East Carolina Pirates, marking the program's first 7-0 start since its inception in 1894. Temple was in the national spotlight as ESPN's College GameDay took place at Temple for the first time in school history. The #21 Owls later that night took on #9 Notre Dame in primetime on ABC. The game was widely considered to be the program's biggest game since the 1935 Sugar Bowl.[13] Despite the Owl's leading 20-17 with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter, the Fighting Irish rallied with a late touchdown to beat Temple 24-20, ending Temple's unbeaten start.

Temple followed up the nationally significant game vs Notre Dame with a win vs SMU, an away loss to USF and wins in both remaining home games vs #21 Memphis & UConn. Finishing 10-2 in the regular season for only the second time in school history, the Owls clinched a berth in the inaugural AAC Championship vs the Houston Cougars.


Consensus All-Americans[edit]

Owls in pro football[edit]

Home Stadium[edit]

From 1927 until 1977, the Owls played at Temple Stadium. In 1978, they moved to Veterans Stadium. During the 1986 season, the Owls averaged an all-time high of 34,543 fans to their games at Veterans Stadium and their games, regularly televised, did well in the local Nielsen ratings. Veterans Stadium remained their home field through the 2002 season. Lincoln Financial Field has been Temple's home field since 2003, with the first home game being the inaugural college game at Lincoln Financial Field between Temple and Villanova, which drew over 30,000 fans.

The most attended Temple game, with 105,950 attendees, occurred November 11, 2006 at Beaver Stadium, home of Penn State. Temple lost that game 47-0. Nine out of the ten most attended Temple games occurred at Penn State.[14]

Temple's home stadium since 2003, Lincoln Financial Field on September 5th, 2015, the first time the Owls beat the Lions since 1941. In front of 69,174 fans, Matt Rhule's Owls beat James Franklin's Lions 27-10.

The largest attended home game was October 31, 2015, at Lincoln Financial Field, when the Owls played host to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, which had an announced attendance of 69,280, while the actual attendance was north of 70,000. Temple lost the game 24-20. The 2015 season marked the first time two Temple home games (the season-opener against Penn State and the ABC primetime game against Notre Dame) sold out at Lincoln Financial Field since the team moved there in 2003.

Media coverage[edit]

Eight Temple games were broadcast over Philadelphia television in 2005, the most in school history at the time. At one point, Owls football games aired on 12 stations from as far north as Sayre, Pennsylvania to as far south as Baltimore. After that, games aired on only one station, WPHT 1210 (AM) in Philadelphia. Harry Donahue handled the play-by-play with former Temple Owl Steve Joachim doing the color. WHAT 1340 AM airs games in Spanish. Past play-by-play broadcasters have included Dave Sims, who currently covers college football and basketball for ESPN; Ron Menchine, the former Navy play-by-play announcer and Howie Herman, currently a sports columnist in Massachusetts.

Since rejoining the Big East Conference in 2012, and remaining in the conference when it became the American Athletic Conference, every Temple game has appeared on television.[15] Radio-wise, the games are broadcast on WPEN 97.5 The Fanatic. Harry Donahue continues to handle the play-by-play while former Heisman Trophy runner-up and Temple running back Paul Palmer handles the color commentary. Harry Mayes is the sideline reporter.[16]

Temple football is covered by a number of outlets, including the student newspaper, The Temple News, traditional newspapers such as The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News and online outlets such as CSN Philadelphia and OwlScoop.com. On October 31, 2015, ESPN College GameDay came to Philadelphia for the first time since 2002, and the first time for the Temple Owls.

Temple also has a large following on social media. In addition to its official accounts, temple fans, students & alums have started several successful Twitter outlets - including @CherryCrusade, @acresofcherries, @Owlscoop_com and @TempleOwlNation - to spread cheer. Mostly used to boost school pride & organize fans, these non-official accounts have hundreds of engagements per week, suggesting a very strong social brand for the university and its fan base.

Bowl Games[edit]

Season Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PA Coach Notes
1934 January 1, 1935 Sugar Bowl L Tulane 14 20 Pop Warner notes
1979 December 15, 1979 Garden State Bowl W California 28 17 Wayne Hardin notes
2009 December 29, 2009 EagleBank Bowl L UCLA 21 30 Al Golden notes
2011 December 17, 2011 New Mexico Bowl W Wyoming 37 15 Steve Addazio notes
Total 4 bowl games 2–2 110 82

In the Polls[edit]

In the 1979 season, Temple finished 10-2 and ranked #17 in both the Coaches and AP poll.

During the 2015 season, the Owls were ranked for six out of twelve weeks in the AP & Coaches polls. Those weeks were the university's first national rankings since 1979.

In 2015, Temple was ranked in the College Football Playoff rankings, marking the first time any Pennsylvania collegiate team was ranked by the College Football Playoff selection committee. The Owls were ranked #22 in consecutive weeks during which their record was 7-1 & 8-1.

College Football Hall of Fame[edit]

Future non-conference opponents[edit]

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
vs Army vs UMass vs Army at Rutgers vs Rutgers at Rutgers vs Rutgers
at Penn State at Army at Maryland vs Maryland vs Idaho
vs Charlotte at Notre Dame
vs Stony Brook



  1. ^ "Temple, Under Armour sing 10 year, $30m deal". Philadelphia Daily News. 2015-08-31. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  2. ^ "Temple Finally Beats Bucknell-And How!!". Reading Eagle. October 9, 1966. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "wNCAA Football Statistics". Yahoo! Sports. 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  4. ^ http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8752459/temple-owls-hire-new-york-giants-offensive-line-coach-matt-rhule
  5. ^ https://sports.yahoo.com/footballrecruiting/football/recruiting/teamrank/2014/AAC/all
  6. ^ http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=400547640
  7. ^ "Temple beats Penn State for first time in 74 years". Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  8. ^ "Lucas, Matakevich, Proctor Take Weekly Football Honors". www.theamerican.org. Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  9. ^ "Christian Hackenberg Got Sacked By Two-Man Temple Rush". The Big Lead. Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  10. ^ "Temple vs. Cincinnati - Game Recap - September 12, 2015 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  11. ^ "Temple uses blocked extra point, late field goal to beat UMass". Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  12. ^ "Temple vs. Charlotte - Game Recap - October 2, 2015 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  13. ^ http://collegefootball.ap.org/article/rhule-leads-no-21-temple-biggest-game-program-history
  14. ^ "weekly release" (PDF). Temple Athletics. 2007-11-05. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  15. ^ http://owlsports.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=160&path=football
  16. ^ http://www.greatermedia.com/greater-media-philadelphias-97-5-the-fanatic-named-radio-home-for-temple-football/
  17. ^ "Temple Owls Football Schedules and Future Schedules". fbschedules.com. Retrieved 2014-08-24. 

External links[edit]