ESPNU will debut “40 Minutes of Hell,” the latest installment in the new SEC “Storied” documentary series on February 11 at 9 p.m. The film explores the rise, fall and re-birth of a legendary coach and a time when the state of Arkansas was at the epicenter of American culture.
In the early 1990’s, Arkansas had a lot of success. Bill Clinton, former governor, was sworn in as president of United States while the University of Arkansas became one of the top college basketball teams in the country. The man behind the Razorbacks’ success was head coach Nolan Richardson. His “40 minutes of hell” playing style turned up the pressure for an entire game aiming to eventually break down opponents. It was an approach that embodied Richardson’s personality.
Richardson grew up in El Paso, Texas, and endured segregation that he carried with him into adulthood. When Richardson became a coach after his playing days at Texas Western University, he looked for players who could execute his intense full court system. After a successful run at Tulsa, Richardson in 1985 became the first African-American head coach in the Southwest Conference when he took over the Arkansas men’s team. By the early 90s, as Arkansas moved to the Southeastern Conference, the coach had turned the Razorbacks into a powerhouse, culminating in the 1994 national championship. But what happens when the pressure becomes too great even for the one creating it?
As Richardson struggled to keep winning at the level achieved in the early-to-mid 90s, he was under scrutiny. By 2002, his anger over criticism was palpable and he was dismissed. He fired back with a wrongful termination lawsuit. In 2009, after years of division, Richardson and his players were invited back to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their championship run. The hiring of Richardson’s former assistant coach Mike Anderson has only further strengthened the once severed bond between the coach and his school as both sides work toward a path of healing.
Boyle, Pierce, Robinson named ECAC All-Stars
Three Temple football standouts – senior offensive lineman Pat Boyle, junior running back Bernard Pierce and senior defensive end Adrian Robinson were named to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Football Bowl Subdivision All-Stars. Pierce was also named the 2011 ECAC Offensive Player of the Year.
The ECAC will honor its team of 27 FBS All-Stars on February 16 at the annual ECAC Awards banquet at the Lexus Club at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Pierce, a three-time All-MAC selection, became Temple’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (53), total touchdowns (54), points scored (162), and 100-yard rushing games (nine), while setting records for rushing TDs in a game (5 at Maryland) and points scored (30 at Maryland). Last week, Pierce announced that he would forego his senior season to enter the 2012 NFL draft.
Temple’s Wyatt, McCarthy named Players of the Week
Khalif Wyatt, Temple junior guard, was named the Atlantic 10 Conference and Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Week. Wyatt, a 6-foot-4 guard, averaged 25 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.0 assists in leading the Owls to a 1-1 week. Temple upset No. 5 ranked Duke and lost to Dayton.
Temple’s Kristen McCarthy and George Washington’s Tara Booker have been named the Atlantic 10 women’s basketball Co-Players of the Week. McCarthy was also named the Big 5 Women’s Basketball Player of the Week. She averaged 18.5 points in a 2-0 week for Temple, including a 64-52 victory at Western Michigan and a come-from-behind, 56-55 win in Temple’s A-10 opener at Richmond.
Black college notes
Malik Alvin, former Simon Gratz basketball star, has been named the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Newcomer of the Week. Alvin plays basketball for Shaw University. He equaled his season high with 28 points in Shaw’s CIAA opener against Virginia State.
The Don Hansen’s Football Gazette named Tim Hume, Cheyney University defensive end, All Super Region One Defensive Player of the Year. Beyond Sports Network as a Division II second team All-American also recognized Hume this past week.
Earlier this year Hume was named the PSAC Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Gene Upshaw Award (Division II Lineman of the Year). Hume led the conference in tackles for loss with 21.5 and led the Wolves with 6.5 sacks. He also had 62 tackles.
This is a big week for major college football in Philadelphia. Temple (2-0) will face Penn State (1-1) on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Lincoln Financial Field. The kickoff is at noon. The game will be televised on ESPN.
The Nittany Lions are coming off a dismal 27-11 loss to No. 3 ranked Alabama at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa. Penn State was ranked No. 23 in the country last week. There should be a huge crowd for this game to see legendary head coach Joe Paterno. The Nittany Lions have a number of local players, most notably Curtis Drake, former West Catholic star.
Temple has gotten off to a great start this season, defeating Villanova 42-7 and picking up an impressive 41-3 road win over Akron. Bernard Pierce, Owls running back, has been nothing short of sensational in his first two games.
In the win over the Wildcats, Pierce finished with 20 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns. In Temple’s victory over Akron, he rushed 18 times for 150 yards and three TDs. Pierce, former Glen Mills standout, is the sixth leading rusher in the country. He’s averaging 7.8 yards a carry. He has 297 rushing yards and six TDs.
He could play a major role in this contest. A year ago, Temple dropped a 22-13 decision to Penn State in Happy Valley. Pierce played extremely well against the Nittany Lions before leaving the game with an injury in the first quarter. He had already scored two touchdowns and rushed for 42 yards on 10 carries.
A victory over Penn State would be huge for Temple. It would give them bragging rights for recruiting in Philly as well as the state. It would also give them a boost nationally. In fact, Pierce could make a statement in terms of him being a Heisman Trophy candidate. The Owls haven’t beaten the Nittany Lions since 1941. That’s 70 years. Paterno has a 27-0 record against Temple.
Cheyney Athletics Hall of Fame fete
Cheyney University Athletics Hall of Fame will induct its 2011 class on October 14 at 7 p.m. The ceremony will take place at Ada S. Georges Dining Hall on Cheyney University’s campus. The induction class includes Kenneth Hamilton, James P. Kane, Harold Rogers, Edward Swain, Carol Lynn Willis and Charles “Ace” Woods. For more information on tickets for the event, call William Shields at (610) 872-2322.
Sharon Baptist wins softball title
Sharon Baptist Church defeated Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church 6-5 to win the Christian Fellowship Softball League Championship. Sharon won the championship in the best of five series 3 games to 2.
When Temple and Villanova clash tonight in the Mayor’s Cup, Steve Addazio, Owls head coach, is expecting a big game from the Wildcats in this local matchup at Lincoln Financial Field. Addazio feels the Wildcats bring a lot of experience into this contest, which will begin at 7 p.m.
“We’re playing a Villanova team that obviously, last year, was a very inexperienced team,” Addazio said. “Now, they return eight starters on offense and 10 on defense. That’s a team coming back with all their guys. They got No. 8 Norman White who is an outstanding receiver. He’s a pro talent. He’s a big guy. He can go up and catch the ball and make plays on you. He’s a real threat.
“Chris Polony is their quarterback. He’s a guy who gets them in the right place. He brings consistency to their offense. He gets the ball to Norman White and players that can make plays. Austin Medley is their running back. He really came on at the end of last year. He’s a talented guy. They got a better offensive line coming back.
“On defense, Ronnie Akins is their safety. Their nose guard Antoine Lewis and their linebacker Dillon Lucas and Devon Bridges is a linebacker who runs like heck to the ball. I’m impressed with them.”
A year ago, Temple handled Villanova very easily, 42-7. The Wildcats did struggle with a lot of youth and inexperience last year. They finished the season with a 2-9 overall record. Villanova should be one of the top teams in the CAA this season, which happens to be one of the best FCS conferences in the nation.
Temple is coming off a 9-4 overall and a 5-3 record in the MAC (second East) in Addazio’s first year. In addition, Temple defeated Wyoming, 37-15, to win the New Mexico Bowl last season.
The Owls will miss running back Bernard Pierce who is a rookie for the Baltimore Ravens. Pierce surpassed Paul Palmer to end his collegiate career as the school’s all-time scoring leader with 324 points. Pierce also had 273 carries for 1,481 yards and 27 touchdowns. Temple will have to replace him. It looks as if they will use two running backs to bolster that ground attack with Matt Brown and Montel Harris.
Harris transferred to Temple for his fifth and final season of eligibility. He received his degree in communications from Boston College. The ACC’s all-time career rusher (3,735 yards), Harris leads all returning BCS players in career rushing yards.
Brown played extremely well last season. He had 916 yards and six touchdowns on 155 carries. Brown has been named to the All-Purpose Trophy Watch List. The 5-foot-5 running back handles kickoff and punt returns.
Offensively, the Owls will be led by junior quarterback Chris Coyer, who was named the Offensive MVP of the New Mexico Bowl completing 8-of-12 passes for 169 yards and rushed for 71 yards in the team’s victory. Temple also has junior signal caller Clinton “Juice” Granger from George Washington High. Granger provides the Owls with plenty of depth at quarterback.
This marks the 33rd meeting between the Owls and the Wildcats since 1908, renewing a 102-year old cross-town rivalry. The game is the last in a series of four Mayor’s Cup games. The Wildcats hold a 16-14-2 series advantage.
NOTES: Temple’s 2012 class of signees — three draftees in running back Bernard Pierce, tight end Evan Rodriguez and linebacker Tahir Whitehead and nine rookie free agents — set the school record for the largest NFL signing with 12 players.
When the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl XLVII with a 34-31 victory, it was big day for the fans of Baltimore, but also Temple, Philadelphia and Black college football.
Bernard Pierce, former Temple All-American running back, played a big role in helping the Ravens win the Super Bowl. Pierce, a Glen Mills product, had 12 carries for 33 yards on Sunday, picking up some key first downs along the way. He provided a consistent ground attack to support Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who completed 22-of-33 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns while being named the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player.
Pierce is just the ninth Owl to earn a Super Bowl ring and sixth to do it as a rookie. Eight other Temple players have earned 14 championships. All six Owls who played in the Super Bowl as rookies won championship rings.
Since 1975, 12 Temple players have made 19 appearances in 15 Super Bowls with 14 winning championship rings. Pierce is just the sixth Temple player to advance to the Super Bowl during his rookie season. The last Owl to do that as a rookie was linebacker Rian Wallace (2002-04), who won a ring with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL.
The Temple player with most Super Bowl rings in Randy Grossman (1971-73), who won four as a tight end with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Defensive lineman Dan Klecko (1999-02) earned three Super Bowl rings, two with the New England Patriots and one with the Indianapolis Colts.
Pierce, a third round pick in last spring’s NFL draft, decided to leave Temple early, giving up his final year of eligibility. He had a fine rookie year picking up 532 yards on 108 carries while scoring one touchdown.
As a junior, the 6-foot, 218-pounder, became Temple’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (53), total touchdowns (54), and points scored (324). He also set the season records for rushing TDs (27), total TDs (27), points scored (162), and 100-yard rushing games (9), while setting game records for rushing TDs (five at Maryland) and points scored (30 at Maryland).
Pierce was the only Temple player on the Super Bowl rosters for both teams. However, Jameel McClain, former George Washington star, will receive a Super Bowl ring. McClain, an All-Public League standout, played linebacker for the Ravens throughout most of the season. Unfortunately, he suffered a spinal contusion in December and missed the rest of the season.
Jahri Evans, former Frankford High star, was the last Public League player to win a Super Bowl. Evans, an offensive tackle, helped the New Orleans Saints defeat the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17 to win the 2009 Super Bowl XLIV.
For a lot of Black college football fans, Jacoby Jones really put on a show in Sunday’s Super Bowl, scoring two touchdowns. Jones, Ravens wide receiver and kick returner, had two of the game’s biggest plays. Flacco threw a 56-yard TD pass to Jones. Then, Jones opened the second half with a 108-yard kickoff return, which set an NFL postseason record.
Jones played his college football at Lane College, a historically Black college, in Jackson, Tenn. Lane College is a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The SIAC is a league of Division II HBCU schools like Morehouse, Clark Atlanta and Fort Valley State just to name a few.
Jones, a 6-foot-2, 220-pounder, was originally a third round pick of the Houston Texans in 2007. He spent four seasons with the Texans before signing with the Ravens. Jones was also named to his first Pro Bowl this year as a kick returner.
Temple has certainly hired a coach who knows a lot about the football program. Matt Rhule was named the Owls new head football coach on Monday. Rhule, who has 15 years of coaching experience on the college and pro levels, will take the reins on North Broad Street.
Moreover, Rhule, a State College, Pa. native, and former Penn State player, is familiar with Temple football. He has 14 years of collegiate coaching experience, including six years at Temple and six bowl games—two with the Owls. Rhule most recently served as the assistant offensive line coach with the New York Giants. As soon as the season is over, he’ll be at Temple on a regular basis.
But Rhule, 37, knows most of the players. He recruited several of them. And they’re excited to have him as their head coach.
“He was the coach here for six years before this,” said Chris Coyer, Temple quarterback. “He’s a coach who has been very endearing to a lot of players. A lot of the guys on the team love him. We all felt that he was the right guy for the job.”
During his previous tenure with the Owls, his role changed on several occasions. Last spring, he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator after serving as the assistant offensive coordinator and tight ends coach as well as the recruiting coordinator under Steve Addazio in 2011. Addazio recently left Temple to become the head coach at Boston College. Temple’s 2012 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference. Rhule helped to lay the foundation for the program’s transition to the Big East Conference.
Under former Temple coach Al Golden, Rhule was promoted to offensive coordinator in the spring of 2008. He also coached the Owls quarterbacks. He coached the defensive line in 2006 and served as the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
In 2011, the Owls posted a 9-4 record and played in their fourth bowl game in school history, the New Mexico Bowl, where Temple defeated Wyoming, 37-15. It was the school’s first postseason win since the 1979 Garden State Bowl. Rhule mentored two-time first-team All-MAC selection tight end Evan Rodriguez. For the second time in his tenure, the Owls set the school single-season rushing yardage record and rushing touchdowns record behind the explosive efforts of All-MAC running backs Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown.
In 2010, he led the offense to the largest margin of victory in a MAC game. Rhule helped the team post an 8-4 regular-season record. The Owls put together two consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1978-79, including their first win over a BCS team.
In 2009, Rhule’s offense helped the Owls win a single-season record nine consecutive games en route to a 9-4 overall mark and a first place tie in the MAC East. Under his tutelage, the Owls set the Temple single-season rushing yardage record.
In 2008, he started as offensive coordinator, guiding Temple to its most wins in nearly 20 years. The Owls out-scored their opponents for the season for the first time since 1990. Bruce Francis, former Owls wide receiver, set school records for career receiving touchdowns (23) and consecutive games with a reception.
Rhule came to Temple from Western Carolina, where he was an assistant for four years. The Owls new head coach will try to get the team back on the winning track. Temple finished the season with a 2-5 league mark and a 4-7 overall record.
The players are happy to have him back. Rhule is happy to be back at Temple, too. Pretty soon he’ll have a chance to hit the recruiting trail in the Philadelphia area.
“It will always start right here in our footprint and really right here within the city itself,” Rhule said. “My philosophy is going to be this. We’re going to recruit and relentlessly recruit everybody within this one hour radius.”
If Rhule can do that, he’ll be off to a good start as Temple’s head football coach.
Bernard Pierce has caught the eye of Todd McShay, ESPN NFL draft analyst, in terms of his status in the upcoming draft. Pierce, who had a great college football career at Temple, has a lot of skills that should make him a solid running back in the NFL according to McShay, the director of college football scouting for ESPN Scouts Inc.
“I like Bernard,” said McShay, who has 14 years of evaluating NFL draft prospects. “He’s not an elite talent, but I think he’s one of the overlooked or underrated players in this draft.
“When I watch his running style, he’s not Arian Foster (Houston Texans running back) but he’s got some of those same type of qualities. He has good size. He runs with good balance. He’s able to make sharp cuts. When you have that lateral agility that you look for, he has the frame and he’s big. Everything he does is balanced. I love that about him. I think that’s very important for the running back position. I think he has a good feel for the cutback lanes. He bounces well to the outside. He can come back to the inside. He’s great in the red zone. Some guys just have a knack around the goal line and short yardage. I think that’s one of his strengths.”
Pierce, junior All-American running back, announced two months ago that he would forego his senior season with the Owls and enter the draft. In 2011, Pierce became Temple’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (53), total touchdowns (54), and points scored (324). He also set the season records for rushing TDs (27), points scored (162) and 100-yard rushing games (nine), while setting game records for rushing TDs (five at Maryland) and points scored (30 at Maryland).
He had 273 carries for 1,481 yards. The former Glen Mills star from Ardmore averaged 5.4 yards a carry. He led the Owls to a 9-4 record overall and a 5-3 mark in the conference. He had 25 carries for 100 yards and two TDs in Temple’s 37-15 win over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl. Pierce, a 6-foot-1, 218-pounder, is a three-time first-team All-MAC honoree and was named the 2009 MAC Freshman of the Year.
Pierce and 17 Temple seniors participated in the Owls annul Pro Timing Day where 31 NFL teams attended the workout. Pierce should hear his name called on the second day of the draft. The draft is slated for April 26-28 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Some draft experts have Pierce going in the fifth round. McShay feels he can go a little earlier in the draft.
“When you’re 218 and running the 4.4s and you have the production he has, to me, I think he’s worth a real hard look in the third round,” McShay said.
Matt Brown is a little man who has attracted some big time recognition. Brown, Temple’s quick-footed running back, has been named to the 2012 Paul Hornung Award Watch List. Now, in its third year, the award is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission and football legend Paul Hornung.
He is one of 49 players named to this prestigious list. He’s also one of the smallest running backs in the country at 5-foot-5, 165 pounds.
Brown, a two-time, All-MAC selection, played in all 13 Owls’ games with two starts last fall. He was the Owls’ second leading rusher with 916 yards on 155 carries while scoring six touchdowns. He was Temple’s top kickoff returner with 703 yards and a TD on 28 returns and best punt returner with 182 yards on 18 returns on the season.
“Matt is a hard worker that really likes football,” said Steve Addazio, Temple head coach. “He loves ball. He loves to compete. Those are the strengths of Matt Brown and he has the ability. He’s certainly a guy who will make his mark this year.”
Chris Coyer, Owls quarterback, knows Brown is a player who can make a lot of plays on the ground. Coyer also knows that size is not a factor in terms of the way Brown plays football.
“Matt may be a little guy, but he plays bigger than anyone I’ve ever seen,” Coyer said. “He’s one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with. When he’s on the field, he’s a tough guy who can take the load and take the hits and give a few hits. He’s just been a tremendous competitor ever since I’ve been on this team.”
Brown is impressed with the latest honor, which puts him in a special category for college football running backs. Although he’s pleased with the recognition, he plans to keep his sleeves rolled up.
“I’m just going to keep working,” Brown said. “I’m going to keep on working to get better. I just want to get better. That’s my thoughts. I just put my head down. I’m determined. I try to perfect my craft. I try to improve my weaknesses. I watch a lot of film. I just try to work on everything.
Brown played in the same backfield with Bernard Pierce, Owls brilliant running back. Pierce finished his Temple career with 653 carries for 3,570 yards and 53 rushing TDs. He caught 19 passes for 178 yards and one TD. He was selected as the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year. Pierce, former Glen Mills star, was selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
Brown will pick up a lot of Pierce’s carries. He will be the Owls major threat on the ground. Brown has some big shoes to fill. He seems to be up for the challenge providing the Owls with a great rushing attack. Brown keeps in touch with Pierce, who is currently in the Ravens training camp.
“I’ve been in contact with him a couple times,” Brown said. “We’ve met up a few times. We’ve been talking. I was asking him how he was doing out there. He was giving me feedback. I’m doing whatever I can do to get to where he is. He plays for the Ravens. That’s my hometown team. He’s in my hometown. I’m in his hometown.”
Brown, a Baltimore native, will be playing in a big hometown game for a lot of local fans in Philadelphia in a few weeks. Temple opens the season with Villanova in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup on Friday, August 31 at Lincoln Financial Field at 7 p.m.
“It’s definitely a big game,” Brown said. “It’s a cross-town rival. It’s going to be an exciting game. Every year, it’s been an exciting game.”
NOTE: The 2012 watch list is comprised of 25 seniors, 16 juniors and eight sophomores, representing 44 universities and 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The selection committee comprised of 16 national sports journalists and former college and NFL players, will narrow the field to a small group of finalists in early December. The winner will be selected in early January from among the finalists following the bowl season.
Ramaan Ansley, former Engineering and Science star, helped Saint Augustine’s College win 43 Division II All-Atlantic Region awards from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) this week. The men’s team had the second most all-region honors (26) among NCAA Division II men’s teams and the Lady Falcons earned 17 all-region honors.
The ex-Public League standout participated in the 100 meters and was a member of the 4x100-meter relay team. Ansley runs for legendary track and field head coach George Williams, who brings the Falcons to the Penn Relays each year.
Matt Balasavage signs free agent contract with Baltimore Ravens
Matt Balasavage, Temple tight end, has signed a rookie free agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens.
Balasavage, a three-year starter for the Owls, played in 12 games in 2011 with nine starts. He received his degree in communications in May 2011. He joins NFL draftees running back Bernard Pierce (Baltimore Ravens), tight end Evan Rodriguez (Chicago Bears) and linebacker Tahir Whitehead (Detroit Lions) as well as rookie free agents offensive lineman Pat Boyle (Detroit Lions), defensive end Morkeith Brown (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), offensive lineman Derek Dennis (Miami Dolphins), linebacker Stephen Johnson (New Orleans Saints), defensive end Adrian Robinson (Pittsburgh Steelers) wide receiver Rod Streater (Oakland Raiders) and offensive lineman Wayne Tribue (Denver Broncos).
Chester Stewart signs free agent contract with Ravens
Quarterback Chester Stewart became the 12th Temple Owl to sign with an NFL team this spring, extending the school record for the largest class.
Stewart signed a rookie contract with Baltimore Ravens, joining former Owl teammate running back Bernard Pierce and Matt Balasavage on the Ravens’ roster. Stewart played in 10 games with six starts as a senior in 2011. He was named the Baltimore Sun/Next Level Player of the Week following a perfect 9-of-9 for 140 yards in the win at Maryland. Stewart earned his degree in criminal justice in December 2011.
NLBM, Rawlings pair up for “Gold Glove” Negro Leagues tribute
Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., a subsidiary of Jarden Corporation and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) have teamed to honor the Negro Leagues by bestowing commemorative Rawlings Gold Glove Awards to the league’s best defensive players of all time. The partnership includes a series of events planned to raise awareness and financial support for the NLBM, a not-for-profit organization located in Kansas City, Mo.
A panel comprised of six baseball dignitaries will select candidates for consideration for each of the nine Rawlings Gold Glove Award positions. The selection panel members include: Phil Dixon, baseball historian and author; Monte Irvin, Negro Leagues legend and National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee; Bob Kendrick, NLBM president; Joe Posnanski, senior writer for USA Today Sports Group and MLBAM; Dr. Layton Revel, Center for Negro Leagues research; James Riley, baseball historian and author.
The Negro League Rawlings Gold Glove Award team will be unveiled at the NLBM on June 28. The dynamic double play tandem of Frank White (eight Rawlings Gold Glove Awards) and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith (13 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards) will host the ceremonies.
There will be a huge football game played at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday and this game doesn’t involve the Philadelphia Eagles. It will be a big day for college football at the Linc. Temple will host Penn State at noon. The game will be televised on ESPN.
The Owls (2-0) and the Nittany Lions (1-1) will clash in what should be an interesting match-up. This game is for bragging rights in the state, which has an impact when it comes to recruiting. Temple has recruited local players such as Daquan Cooper, Brandon Chudnoff and Clinton Granger, while Penn State has grabbed Deion Barnes (Northeast) and Shawn Oakman (Penn Wood) over the last year.
Furthermore, Penn State has really dominated the series. The Nittany Lions lead the series 36-3-1. The Owls haven’t beaten the Nittany Lions since 1941. That’s 70 years. Paterno has a 27-0 against Temple. Steve Addazio, Temple’s first-year head coach, knows this is an important game. However, Addazio is trying to keep everything in perspective.
“We’re going to approach it the same way we approach every week,” Addazio said. “I can’t sit here and tell you that it’s not more giddy-up in your step. That’s the competitor in everybody. We understand Penn State is coming here. It’s a storied program. We’re here at 10th and Diamond. We want to have an opportunity to take our crack.”
A year ago, Temple took a good shot at Penn State in Beaver Stadium. The Owls fell to the Nittany Lions, 22-13, in Happy Valley. It was a really close game. The game seemed to turn after the Owls’ star running back Bernard Pierce was injured in the first quarter. Pierce had already scored two touchdowns and rushed for 42 yards on 10 attempts.
The former Glen Mills standout has been sensational in the Owls’ first two victories. In the win over Villanova, he finished with 20 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns. In Temple’s 41-3 victory over Akron, he had 18 carries for 150 yards and three TDs. He is the sixth leading rusher in the nation. He averages 7.8 yards a carry. Pierce has 297 rushing yards and six TDs. He could play a big role in how well Temple does against Penn State.
“I think Bernard has had a great winter, great spring, great preseason and has done well the first two games,” Addazio said. “It’s another week and an opportunity. It’s going to be a little faster and a little bigger and the game is going to be a little more supped up. That’s just the way it is. He’s going to rise to that and have a great game.”
The Nittany Lions are coming off a disappointing 27-11 loss to No. 2 ranked Alabama. Penn State opened the season with a lopsided 41-7 victory over Indiana State. The Nittany Lions would like to pick up a win against their in-state rival. Addazio expects Penn State to be well prepared for this contest.
“There’s going to be emotion,” Addazio said. “It’s classic in these kinds of games. My job is to make sure that we play with great passion, great energy and great emotion. That’s the standard you play with and not just try to go too far on that and make sure we execute at a high level. We understand it’s going to be a four-quarter game. We got to get this thing down to the fourth quarter. It’s going to be a lot of peaks and valleys in this game. That’s the way it is.”
The Temple Owls were well represented in the NFL draft last week. Bernard Pierce, Temple’s All-American running back, was selected in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens. Pierce, former Glen Mills standout from Ardmore, was the 84th pick overall in the draft.
He is the 62nd Temple football player chosen in the NFL draft since 1937. Pierce is the first Temple player to be picked by the Ravens (since 1996) in school history and the fourth Owl to be selected by a Baltimore NFL team, joining Colts’ selections defensive back Anthony Young (1985), running back Mark Bright (1980) and quarterback Steve Joachim (1975).
As a junior, Pierce became the Owls’ all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (53), total touchdowns (54), and points scored (324). He also set the season records for rushing TDs (27), total TDs (27), points scored (162), and 100-yard rushing games (9), while setting game records for rushing TDs in a game (five at Maryland) and points scored (30 at Maryland). He was also named ECAC Offensive Player of the Year and the 2009 MAC Freshman of the Year.
The Chicago Bears selected Temple tight end Evan Rodriguez with the 16th pick of the fourth round (111th pick overall), while the Detroit Lions chose linebacker Tahir Whitehead with the third pick of the fifth round (138th overall) of the draft. That brings the total to three players drafted from Temple.
Rodriguez, who played in the East–West Shrine Game, is a two-time first-team All-MAC selection. He played in all 13 games with 12 starts at tight end. He led the Owls with 479 yards and two touchdowns on 35 receptions.
Whitehead was a second-team All-MAC selection, and the defensive MVP of the New Mexico Bowl. He finished third in team tackling with 70 tackles, a team-best 13.5 tackles-for-loss of 66 yards, five sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Seven Temple players have signed rookie free agent contracts with NFL teams, bringing the Owls total NFL signees to 10, tying the largest class in school history. The players who have reportedly signed: Pat Boyle, offensive lineman, Detroit Lions; Morkeith Brown, defensive end, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Derek Dennis, offensive lineman, Miami Dolphins; Stephen Johnson, linebacker, New Orleans Saints; Adrian Robinson, defensive end, Pittsburgh Steelers; Rod Streater, wide receiver, Oakland Raiders and Wayne Tribue, offensive lineman, Denver Broncos.