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Column: For Temple’s seniors, mission accomplished

Before a sparse and soggy crowd at Lincoln Financial Field on Tuesday night the Temple Owls honored their 17 seniors. For the first time since the Class of 1979, this group of Owls will leave the program with a non-losing record and clearly this group has gone where nobody ever thought they would in South Philadelphia.

Why would anyone want to come to Temple? Why go to a program that is synonymous with losing? Didn’t these kids realize that the Owls were just a couple years removed from being kicked out of the Big East?

Nobody would have blamed them for not going to Temple. Not even Bill Cosby or the late Pop Warner. In fact, not even Pop Warner would have had much success with the Owls sixty years after he least coached them.

This is a program that has seen 35 seasons end with a losing record dating back to 1938. From 1992 to 2006 the Owls won 29 games, the same amount of wins the Class of 2010 entered Tuesday night’s game with Ohio owned. This class of seniors will also be the first class in Temple football history to play in a postseason bowl game two consecutive years. Also consider that no other player in Temple football history played in two postseason games, and you start to really understand just how far this Owls program has come.

That is why it was a disappointment to see this bunch of players play their final home game in a Temple uniform in a steady down pour and lose to Ohio, 31-23, in the biggest conference game of the year. Just like a season before, Temple’s quest for a MAC East division championship was pounded in to oblivion by the Ohio Bobcats.

Hats off to you Temple seniors. We don’t know how your season will end, but you will leave in high regard on your campus.

First Game – August 31, 2007: Navy 30, Temple 19
[Boxscore]

This was also Al Golden’s first game as the head coach of the Owls. Navy gave them all a rude welcoming by out-gaining the Owls on offense 441-283. Navy rushed for 363 yards on the ground, which is typical of their style of play. After going down 14-0 after one quarter the Owls rallied to cut the lead to 14-10 Navy tacked on ten more points before halftime.

The Owls lost their next four games after the season opening loss to the Midshipmen.

First Win – October 6, 2007: Temple 16, Northern Illinois 15
[Boxscore]

The losing streak ended in the sixth game of the season and it came in dramatic fashion. Trailing 15-13 halfway through the fourth quarter against Northern Illinois the Owls needed a field goal in the final nine seconds of the game to clinch the first victory the Class of 2010 experienced.

Temple’s first road win for the Class of 2010 came the following week at Akron.

November 21, 2009: Temple 47, Kent State 13
[Boxscore]

Why is this game so important? With a win against Kent State the Owls extended their winning streak to nine games and officially gave the Class fo 2010 a winning record during their collegiate careers. The happy times would come to an end though as the Owls lost their final regular season game at Ohio to drop the Class of 2010 back to .500 and a loss to UCLA in the EagleBank Bowl dropped them back to a losing record.

November 6, 2010: Temple 28, Kent State 10
[Boxscore]

Similar to their 2009 game against Kent State, a win this season against Kent State clinched a non-losing record for the Class of 2010 no matter what happens the rest of the 2010 season. A MAC championship game appearance and bowl appearance could end in losses and the Class of 2010 would still not have a losing record.

Of course, the Owls have other plans for their final three games.

Temple Class of 2010 By Season

  • 2007: 4-8
  • 2008: 5-7
  • 2009: 9-4
  • 2010: 8-3*

* As of November 16, 2010.

About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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