PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the first time since World War II, Temple will be going for its second straight win over Penn State.
The Owls broke a long losing streak against the Nittany Lions last season with a win at Lincoln Financial Field. Temple will head to Happy Valley on Saturday looking for another victory against their cross-state rivals. Owls Quarterback Phillip Walker understands what last year’s victory meant to the program.
“It meant a lot,” said Walker. “It was something that hadn’t been accomplished in long time. This is a new year for us, so we’re going to try and do it again.”
While many Temple fans are still savoring last year’s victory, Owls Coach Matt Rhule has a different philosophy. Rhule also understands the importance of the win in 2015, but with a host of games played since last year’s opener, Rhule hardly believes it will be on the minds of either team on Saturday.
“Last year’s game doesn’t have any effect on this year’s game at all,” Rhule said. “Last year was about our kids and having them learn to control what we can control, which is how we play.”
Both teams come into this contest at 1-1, but some believe this is an even bigger game for Penn State. Lions Coach James Franklin has been under fire by many of the members of the Penn State fan base, but Rhule has plenty of respect for Franklin.
“Coach Franklin is a fantastic coach and a great friend of mine,” said Rhule. “I think he’s doing a great job. I know he’ll have them ready, and it’s my job to make sure these guys are ready.”
One thing the Owls will have to be ready for is the crowd noise. The crowd was a factor the last time Temple played at Penn State when they were beaten by a score of 30-13. The players practiced with artificial crowd noise on Tuesday to help prepare for the raucous atmosphere in Happy Valley. Walker insists the players will be ready for the crowd, and says the Owls need to enjoy the big-game atmosphere.
“You think about the atmosphere and how much fun it’s going to be,” Walker said. “We’ve got to enjoy it and not think about the crowd and not think about the noise that’s going on and just go out and play.”