#21 Temple Owls host the #9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 10/31/15
Not your usual Temple Football Friday as this week the highly anticipated match-up has the # 21 Temple Owls (7-0 – 4-0) hosting the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1) for a non-conference tilt at Lincoln Financial Field, Halloween night @ 8:00. College Gameday coming to town for only the 2nd time ever (not to mention that it is my 24th wedding anniversary [Love you, Diana]) only adds to the hype. Head Coach Matt Rhule tried his best to keep the team from getting too caught up in that “I am not concerned the moment will be too big,” he said at his news conference. “Are we good enough to hang with Notre Dame? That is the concern.” Tempering some of this hype are the facts that it is a non-conference game and that Temple is a double digit underdog, so a loss would not be the worst thing for the Owls, and unless they get blown out they should stay in the top 25. Of course as a Philly Phan we know what it is like to get all worked up over a sporting event only to have our dreams doused by reality.
Temple is coming off a rallying win over East Carolina 24-14, while Notre Dame rested last week after a home win over USC 41-31.
At this point in the season I have written all we need to know about Temple’s offensive leaders P. J. Walker, Jahad Thomas, Robby Anderson and defensive stand-outs Matt Ioannidis, and Tyler Matakevich so I will focus on what to expect from the Irish side of the ball.
UMass coach Mark Whipple whose team has faced both this season had this to say about Roman Catholic product WR Will Fuller (702 yds, 32 rec, 8 tds) “You have to stop the explosive plays with Fuller. He is tremendous and is faster in person than he is on tape.” On RB C. J. Prosise (922 yds 7.1 YPC, 11 TDs) Whipple added “You have to tackle Prosise and he breaks tackles against everybody.” On defense Notre Dame is led by LB Jaylon Smith who is third among Athlon midseason awards candidates for defensive player of the year.
Though I fully expect Notre Dame to win this one, going 7-0 Temple has shown a lot of heart and have won games as favorites and underdogs, coming from ahead and behind, and if they can clean up the penalties and turnovers they should make this a competitive and fun game to watch. If they do win it will be a huge turning point in this school’s Football history.
If they win it will of course be the first 8-0 start in program history, but it will also be a host of other 1sts and long time 1sts including first win against a team from Indiana, first sweep of non-conference schedule, first time defeating ranked teams in consecutive seasons, first home win as a ranked team since 1941, first nine-game winning streak since 2009 (school record).
Some other Philly connections include current Irish football players Mike McGlinchey (Philadelphia) and Josh Adams (Warrington), in addition to Fuller. Temple offensive line coach Chris Wiesehan spent 1997-98 with the Fighting Irish as the tight ends coach.
While this is Temple’s first ranked-vs.-ranked match-up in program history, Temple Coach Rhule has been in 26 of these games, 19 as a player. Defensive line coach Elijah Robinson has participated in 19 such games, including seven as player. Defensive coordinator Phil Snow has coached in 18 ranked games, while linebackers coach Mike Siravo has seen six, five as a coach. First-year Owl coaches Glenn Thomas and Frisman Jackson have been in these games twice, as has Chris Wiesehan
October 31, 2015 Kickoff: 8:00 PM Stadium: Lincoln Finanicial Field, Philadelphia, PA (69,176)
TV ABC Chris Fowler .Play-by-Play Kirk Herbstreit.Color Analyst Heather Cox .Sidelines
Radio 97.5 The Fanatic Harry Donahue .Play-by-Play Paul Palmer.Color Analyst Harry Mayes .Sidelines
Student Radio.WHIP Zach Gelb..Play-by-Play Michael Zahn .Color Analyst CarlyMascitti.Sideline