Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This could only happen to Temple football

This year was supposed to be different for Temple football.

The Owls, after decades of ineptness and coming off a 4-8 season in 2007, were supposed to be a much-improved team. Whispers of contention for a title in the Mid-American Conference and a possible bowl bid were heard.

But this is Temple we're talking about. And the Owls have accomplished something this season that is hard to do -- losing 2 straight games on the last play.

On Sept. 6, Temple dropped a 12-9 decision to Connecticut in overtime. Tied at 6-6 after regulation in a game played in heavy rain from Tropical Storm Hanna, the Owls kicked a field goal on their possession, but the Huskies scored a touchdown to win the game.

Then last Saturday in a game against Buffalo, Temple seemed to claim a victory on a touchdown with 38 seconds to go that gave it a 28-24 lead. But this is Temple we're talking about.

The ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, giving Buffalo the ball at its own 40-yard-line. A defensive holding call on an incomplete pass hurt the Owls. With just 5 seconds to go and the ball on Temple's 35-yard-line, Buffalo had to heave the ball into the end zone, where surely the Owls defense would knock the ball down and prevent the winning score.


Instead of knocking the ball down, four Temple defenders watched as the Buffalo receiver made the catch in the end zone, giving the Bulls an improbable victory and sending the Owls to their second straight disheartening loss.

But the Owls are making great strides. For most of the past 2 decades, the games have been decided by the end of the first quarter. At least now they are going down to the final play.

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