BY ROCK HOFFMAN
COLLEGE FOOTBALL EDITOR
Will history repeat itself today, as new Temple football coach Rod Carey goes for his first win as Owls mentor?
If the Owls do top Bucknell at Lincoln Financial Field, Carey will join College Football Hall of Fame coach Wayne Hardin as Temple coaches who got their first victory as the head football coach on North Broad Street by beating the Bison.
Before coming to Temple, both men had previous head coaching experience. Hardin was 38-22-2 in six seasons at Navy. Twice he guided the Midshipmen to bowl games and coached a pair of Heisman Trophy winners (Joe Bellino in 1960 and Roger Staubach in 1963). He won a school-record 80 games in 13 seasons at Temple and led them to the University’s first-ever bowl win and ranking in the final polls (both in 1979). He was inducted in to the hall of fame in 2013.
Carey won 52 games in six full seasons at Northern Illinois after being elevated to head coach before the 2013 Orange Bowl. Of his six teams, five played in bowls.
The Owls and Bison played every year from 1927 until 1970, Bucknell leads the all-time series 20-16-8 and it became such a big rivalry that it became a trophy game; the teams battled for “The Old Shoe,” a bronze football shoe that winner held until the next meeting.
Today’s game is the first game the schools have played since 1970 (“The Old Shoe” isn’t on the line).
On that September 19th afternoon 49 years ago, Hardin led his team onto the field at Christy Mathewson–Memorial Stadium in Lewisburg, PA with an 0-1 record after having opened the season with a 21-0 loss to Akron.
The Owls started slowly, the team didn’t move the ball with Frank DiMaggio at quarterback so Hardin inserted Terry Sealise, who was able to move the Owls to the Bison six-yard line where future NFL kicker Nick Mike-Mayer booted a 22-yard field goal to tie the score at 3. Dave Boyer had given the Bison the lead in the first quarter with a 30-yard field goal.
DiMaggio returned at the start of the second half and used a 39-yard completion to split end Bob Thornton to set up the game’s only touchdown. Two plays after the pass to Thornton, DiMaggio found his fullback, Joe Mesko, flaring out of the backfield. Mesko took the pass and rumbled 34 yards for the score.
Twice in the second half, the Owls defense had to make stops with their backs to the wall. Drives that saw the Bison with first downs at the Temple five-yard line and at the 11 resulted in zero points. The first time the Owls stopped a fake field goal while on the second one they got a sack on a fourth down play.
Afterward, Hardin said he was, “emotional.”
Today, how will Rod Carey feel?
Email Rock Hoffman at Rock@footballstories.com