Blue White Roundtable: Alabama Week Edition
September 7, 2011 – | 1 Comment

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The Temple-Penn State Rivalry

Submitted by on September 16, 2009No Comment

Next up on the over-matched rivals tour are the Temple Owls. Penn State and Temple have faced each other 38 times dating back to 1931. And in those meetings the Owls have won a grand total of 3 games against the Nittany Lions the last coming in 1943, a 13-0 Temple victory at Beaver Field. Joe Paterno holds a perfect 25-0 record against Temple. In that span, he has faced off against 6 different Temple coaches (Wayne Hardin 8-0, Jerry Berndt 4-0, Ron Dickerson 4-0, Bobby Wallace 1-0, and current head caoch Al Golden 3-0) none of whom have sniffed success against their in-state rivals.

Here’s a run-through a true history of futility.

The pre-Paterno Years

Year Site Score Temple Coach Penn State Coach
1931 @ Temple Stadium L 12-0 Henry J Miller Bob Higgins
1932 @ Temple Stadium L 13-12 Henry J Miller Bob Higgins

The first four games of the series were all played in what was once Beury Stadium (later renamed Owl Stadium then eventually Temple Stadium). As hard as it is to imagine today, Temple was actually a regional power during this span. Owl coach Henry J Miller coached for 8 seasons compiling a 50-15-8 record. Penn State, during that same span was coached by Bob Higgins and only managed to win 1 of 4 games against the Miller coached Owls.

The series ended along with the departure Henry J Miller in 1933 which was really a shame because the Owls hired legendary coach Glenn “Pop” Warner who had just won 3 national championships with Pittsburgh and Stanford. This was truly the golden years of Temple football. It was just unfortunate the two rivals never played during this period.

1940 @ Temple Stadium W 18-0 Ray Morrison Bob Higgins
1941 @ Temple Stadium L 14-0 Ray Morrison Bob Higgins
1943 Beaver Field W 13-0 Ray Morrison Bob Higgins
1944 @ Temple Stadium W 7-6 Ray Morrison Bob Higgins
1945 Beaver Field W 27-0 Ray Morrison Bob Higgins
1946 Beaver Field W 26-0 Ray Morrison Bob Higgins
1947 @ Temple Stadium W 7-0 Ray Morrison Bob Higgins
1948 Beaver Field W 47-0 Ray Morrison Bob Higgins
1949 @ Temple Stadium W 28-7 Albert P Kawal Joe Bedenk
1950 Beaver Field T 7-7 Albert P Kawal Rip Engle
1952 Beaver Field W 26-25 Albert P Kawal Rip Engle

In fact, the two programs did not meet again for 8 years until 1940. Bob Higgins dominated the remainder of these matchups winning 7 of 8. Unfortunately the golden years of Temple football had clearly faded during this span. Since Pop Warner’s retirement in 1938 (2 seasons prior to the resumption of the series), the Owls were only able to attain 4 winning seasons until 1969. Penn State manged to win all but 2 of the match ups against its rival during their program’s demise. One of which resulted in the only tie in this series under Rip Engle in 1950.

Battle for Eastern Supremacy

1975 @ Franklin Field W 26-25 Wayne Hardin Joe Paterno
1976 @ Veterans Stadium W 31-30 Wayne Hardin Joe Paterno
1977 Beaver Stadium W 44-7 Wayne Hardin Joe Paterno
1978 @ Veterans Stadium W 10-7 Wayne Hardin Joe Paterno
1979 Beaver Stadium W 22-7 Wayne Hardin Joe Paterno
1980 @ Veterans Stadium W 50-7 Wayne Hardin Joe Paterno
1981 Beaver Stadium W 30-0 Wayne Hardin Joe Paterno
1982 Beaver Stadium W 31-14 Wayne Hardin Joe Paterno

Like Penn State, Temple became an independent in 1969 in an attempt to upgrade their schedule and compete against the top teams in the East which included powers Syracuse, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and (of course) Penn State. Temple tabbed Wayne Hardin as the man to revive the Owls into an Eastern power once again. And in 12 years, he actually lead the once fledging program to an 80-52-3 record.

Unfortunately for Hardin, Penn State made a move of its own that will eventually spell trouble for all the powers of the East. On the Penn State front, Joe Paterno was chosen by Rip Engle to take over a rising Nittany Lions program and with both teams being independent, the path was clear for the annual battles for regional supremacy which actually took place 8 times between Paterno and Hardin.

Joe Paterno was merciless to its in-state rival beating Hardin’s Owls 8 consecutive times. With the exception of the 75 and 76 games, the outcomes were never close. Even as the Owls won a record 10 games, the most in their program’s history in 1979, Paterno’s Lions still beat the Owls 22-7.

Under Hardin the Owls established themselves as one of the most consistent Eastern football powers in the 70s (4-4 against W Virginia, 2-1 against Rutgers, 1-1 against Syracuse, 4-1-1 against Cincinnati and 2-0 against UConn), but they never once beat Joe Paterno and Penn State. Then again, neither did most teams during this era.

1983 @ Veterans Stadium W 23-18 Bruce Arians Joe Paterno
1985 Beaver Stadium W 27-25 Bruce Arians Joe Paterno
1986 Beaver Stadium W 45-15 Bruce Arians Joe Paterno
1987 Beaver Stadium W 27-13 Bruce Arians Joe Paterno
1988 @ Veterans Stadium W 45-9 Bruce Arians Joe Paterno
1989 Beaver Stadium W 42-3 Jerry Berndt Joe Paterno
1990 Beaver Stadium W 48-10 Jerry Berndt Joe Paterno
1991 @ Veterans Stadium W 24-7 Jerry Berndt Joe Paterno
1992 Beaver Stadium W 49-8 Jerry Berndt Joe Paterno
1994 @ Franklin Field W 48-21 Ron Dickerson Joe Paterno
1995 Beaver Stadium W 66-14 Ron Dickerson Joe Paterno
1996 @ Giants Stadium W 41-0 Ron Dickerson Joe Paterno
1997 Beaver Stadium W 52-10 Ron Dickerson Joe Paterno
2003 Beaver Stadium W 23-10 Bobby Wallace Joe Paterno
2006 Beaver Stadium W 47-0 Al Golden Joe Paterno
2007 @ Lincoln Financial Field W 31-0 Al Golden Joe Paterno
2008 Beaver Stadium W 45-3 Al Golden Joe Paterno

The rest as they say is history. Since Hardin, Temple football has been on a steady decline until it absolutely hit rock bottom which included a 20 game losing streak that lasted until 2006. 5 different coaches, 17 games, and 5 different venues and the outcome was still the same. Penn State has dominated “rivalry” and it doesn’t seem to change any time soon. The last time the Owls had a winning season was in 1990, the same year Penn State took the owls to the wood shed to the tune of 48-10.

Alot of Temple fans are optimistic and deservedly so. Temple wins have steadily increased during Al Golden’s tenure. But it just doesn’t look good for them against Penn State. Penn State has outscored Temple 123 to 3 in the last 3 games in this series. To call this a rivalry would really be using the term loosely. But there is still hatred there. I’ve traveled to Temple in 2007 for the game at the Linc and many Owl fans really despise the Lions (can’t understand why).

Instead of anticipating an upset, getting first downs and putting points on the board should be a more realistic goal for Temple fans this season.

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