Temple LB Jarred Alwan recalls first game vs. Notre Dame as true freshman

The Temple linebacker, now a junior, started his first game as a true freshman for the Owls in South Bend

In June 2013, Jarred Alwan graduated from Camden Catholic High School.

Three months later, he was starting at middle linebacker for the Temple University football team in South Bend against nationally-ranked Notre Dame.

Looking back, Alwan feels he held his own that day, but  2 1/2 years later, a bigger, faster, more experienced player is looking forward to taking on another nationally-ranked Fighting Irish squad when the 21st-ranked Owls host No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

"It was tough for me, coming in from from high school straight to Notre Dame was a big jump. It hit me like a whirlwind," said Alwan, who finished with two tackles that day. "I think I did pretty well for a freshman. I can't say I made a big impact, but I did pretty well."

Alwan said watching tape of that game this week showed how far he's come but more importantly how far the Owls have come since the 28-6 loss that opened a 2-10 season in Matt Rhule's first year as head coach.

"It's a big difference," said Alwan, who is second on the team with 40 total tackles this season. "Not just me but as far as the whole team goes. The whole team matured.

"Our team has really gotten mature from freshman year until now. Everybody has bought into the process. Somebody falls, we pick them back up. We're like a family now."

While certainly the Owls hoped to go to Notre Dame and pull the upset two years ago, there is a stronger belief they can do so when the Irish come to town this week. After losing a lot of close games in Rhule's first two seasons, they have been a fourth-quarter team this year.

"We're a lot more confident, (fellow linebacker) Tyler (Matakevich) knows what I'm going to do on every play, it's the thing that happens when you play together so long," said Alwan. "In the past we lost a lot of close games and now we're coming out with the win. (Notre Dame) isn't just another team, but we're just trying to get another win."

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