Saturday, September 26, 2009

A can of whoop ass for everyone

By Mike Gibson
I had to do a double take at the tailgate prior to the game.
Somebody was wearing a blue University of Buffalo T-shirt that said: "Buffalo Football: A Can of Whoop Ass."
For a second, I didn't know if he was referring to the Pitt game or the University of Central Florida game, both whoop-ass jobs.
Then I thought, oh, he meant Buffalo was going to whoop ass.
Never mind.
Sometimes you get the can and sometimes the can gets you.
Maybe the Owls will get to whoop ass, like Buffalo did last year, after Saturday's 37-13 Temple win.
One piece of advice to my fellow Temple fans: When we get good, and we will reach the Promised Land soon, never wear a shirt like that.
It's just bad Karma.
I thought the same thing when I read the pre-game prediction board on
No one over there predicted the Owls would win. No one predicted a Buffalo win of less than 14 points.
Bad omen to get too cocky, especially against a Temple team many, including CBS Sportsline's Dennis Dodd and the New York Times, picked to detrone Buffalo in the MAC East.
You would have thought last year's Hail Mary pass would have taught them at least a little bit of respect for the Temple football program.
Whatever bad Karma pre-game, there was plenty of good Karma to go around at the post-game tailgate, thanks to what the Owls did the three hours it mattered on Saturday afternoon.
Some game balls:
The defense: When it came time to make a play, they made a play. They grew up big-time against Buffalo. From Peanut Joseph staying on his feet when he could have easily went down, to Andre Neblett staying with the ball or to Dominique Harris finally holding onto the ball, they are finding out that winners make plays. Let's hope the lesson carries to the final nine games of the season. Make that 10. Only two teams gained over 500 yards of total offense against this year's Pitt team. One was North Carolina State. The other was Buffalo. The Owls defense held one of those teams to 13 points.
Bernard Pierce: For all of Bernard Pierce's great runs, the greatest was this: A spinning run near the goal line for about seven yards. As Pierce came out of his spin, he wrapped the ball up and held onto it like it was gold. With both hands. That shows maturity beyond his teenage years. The Owls might have found the stud running back they were looking for since Todd McNair/Paul Palmer days.

James Nixon: This guy routinely ... and I mean routinely ... gets behind the defense. Nobody can cover him. That's what 4.3 speed will do for you and he doesn't labor at the speed. He does it in one easy motion with great vision. He's a weapon we should use more often.

Vaughn Charlton: This young man is finally realizing that he doesn't have to be Peyton Manning for the Owls to win eight, nine or 10 games. He just has to be Vaughn Charlton. Play within himself. Hit the short- and intermediate routes, keep those sticks moving and occasionally take a deep shot when you have the defense off-balance. Manage the game. Great clutch pass to Evan Rodriguez.
Yeah, he said it: "I have to hide in the city. I have to hide in the state. But at least I'm 1-0 in the MAC.’’ – Temple coach Al Golden.

Factoid of note: Cap Poklemba has made Lincoln Financial Field a house of horrors for MAC foes. Whipping the crowd into a frenzy over the last three years has paid off for both the former Owl kicker and the Owls. Temple is 7-2 against the MAC at LFF since 2007. Fifteen thousand active and involved fans is better than 50,000 fans who sit on their hands. There is still plenty of time to join the party, Owl fans _ unless you plan to sit on your hands. Only the party people on the dance floor, as they say.