Lessons From The Past

It wasn't as bad a loss as Saturday's 30-29 defeat to Fordham, but it was pretty close and had many of the same elements of failure. The opening game of the 2009 season saw the Temple football team turn the ball over five times, blow a 10-point lead and fall to FCS foe Villanova on a last-second field goal. The Owls still ended a 30-year bowl drought that season.

It wasn't as bad a loss as Saturday's 30-29 defeat to Fordham, but it was pretty close and had many of the same elements of failure.

The opening game of the 2009 season saw the Temple football team turn the ball over five times, blow a 10-point lead and fall to FCS foe Villanova on a last-second field goal.

Many of the same elements were on hand Saturday when the Rams scored on a 29-yard touchdown pass with four seconds left. The pass itself reminded many of a last-second setback and similar throw and catch at Buffalo in 2008.

"At the end a kid went up and made a play. … I lived through that once at Temple," admitted head coach Matt Rhule.

Temple football fans, coaches and players have certainly endured their share of shocking defeats, and in some ways the loss to the Wildcats was more painful than Saturday's because of the neighborhood rivalry element.

The moral of the story?

After losing to Penn State the week after the crushing Villanova defeat, Temple defeated Buffalo and started a nine-game winning streak that resulted in the program's first bowl appearance in 30 years.

Rhule was the offensive coordinator on the 2009 team and knows a turnaround is possible, even with the Owls looking at a huge uphill climb after an 0-3 start.

"What happened after we lost to Villanova was this team finally took responsibility for the way they played," said Rhule. "That's what I have to do as head coach is get this team to take responsibility for the way they play."

There's differences that make a similar comeback unrealistic. Back in 2009, the Owls were in the Mid-American Conference where they could overwhelm a few teams in their league.

Now in the American Athletic Conference, the Owls could be underdogs in every conference game they play the rest of the way. But if they want to turn it around, the only way is to follow the lessons from the past.

"The only way to do it is to get back in and continue to grind," said senior H-back Chris Coyer, who was a true freshman in 2009. "There were a lot of things we could have done a lot better against (Fordham). We have to push through and play some better football.

"(We have to take ownership) and if it doesn't we'll continue to lose games. It's something we absolutely have to do."

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