by Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
A season salvaged by a 32-second, 70-yard scoring drive.
A run of six straight victories, including a dominant five-game stretch at the moment in which the average score is 34-11.
A second consecutive American Athletic Conference East Division title, which brings along with it a 2-for-2 on appearances in the circuit's championship game.
Don't forget another guaranteed bowl invite following one a year ago, marking a program first.
A quarterback who has surpassed 10,000 career passing yards. A pair of running backs who have cleared 800 yards on the ground this season and combined for 25 touchdowns. A former walk-on who has performed at a first-team All-America level at defensive end, and another who has tapped into color commentator Mack Brown's bromantic nature to become the most ballyhooed fullback in the country.
No doubt, these are pretty heady times along North Broad ...
So much so, it might be time to stand up and take notice. Again.
Yo, Philly, we got it. That attachment to adopted son Penn State is strong, especially with the Nittany Lions back to being relevant on the football field this fall instead of off.
But you don't have to search quite so far to feel that connective pride. Temple University has you covered. Again. Not just with Phillip Walker, Jahad Thomas, Ryquell Armstead, Haason Reddick and Nick Sharga, but just about anyone who suits up for the Cherry & White these days.
Indeed, if any outfit would seem to be perfect, upilifting representation of a “your town, your team,” the Owls are it.
Blue collar. Tough. Been through hard times. Serious hard times ... and, now, times are pretty darn good. The hard work performed under head coach Matt Rhule's direction has paid off.
The noteworthy accomplishments – and players – listed above only begin to tell the story. Thing is, while most checked out once last season's Cinderella in shoulder pads story faded to black with a nice, but no cigar outing against Notre Dame on Halloween night that triggered a 3-4 finish following a storybook 7-0 start, the real substance kicked in this fall.
Hey, any dog can have its day. Just rise up from the ashes and enjoy a meteoric stint of success, one that disappears as fast as it arrives.
But to follow up what they did last season with what they've done this season, well, simply put, the 9-3 Owls have outdone themselves.
They're better than last year – better on offense, better on defense – and that was evident before Rhule even uttered such sentiment in the week leading up to Saturday night's division-clinching, 37-10 victory against East Carolina.
Put it this way, following that miraculous, last-second win at Central Florida on October 15, Temple has been an absolute joy to watch. Imagine that total-team-effort trouncing of Memphis last fall ... every week.
Opposition hasn't mattered. Even against the most talented team in the conference, South Florida, the Owls were remarkably in control.
This is not your Temple of yesteryear, or any year, including the last one.
Looking sluggish, especially on defense, against ECU right out of the chute? Previously, that would've been major cause for concern, regardless of who they played. Now, no way. After falling behind 7-0, the Owls rattled off the next 30 points, and 37 of the final 40.
Now comes No. 25 Navy, and considering the Midshipmen's vaunted option attack, prevailing there would be really heady stuff. Perhaps enough to get the recognition and respect Rhule's squad deserves.
Not to mention it potentially could serve as a springboard to a program-record 11 wins in a season and even better down the road.