Friday, October 28, 2011

Brown's punch recalls NCAA champ Klecko

Classic coach Hardin quote at the 1:19 mark.

If a day without Temple football is a day without sunshine, we'd have cloudy days about 353 days a year and no sunshine at least six days a week during the football season.
Still, today's cloudy and rainy (and later, snowy) weather is a metaphor for how I'm feeling without Temple football on a Saturday in the fall.
It's pretty gloomy, made all the more dull by the fact that I have to sit on the egg the Owls laid in Bowling Green last week for nine long days.
If I'm feeling this way, I can't even imagine how hard it is for the kids who have to strap on the helmets at the E-O.
Steve Caputo's father was fond of yelling out "THAT'S TEMPLE FOOTBALL RIGHT THERE"  in his booming voice a few rows behind me when someone made a big play over the last couple of years.
When you let a team hang on the ropes
 for this long, a lucky punch can beat you.
Photo courtesy of Toledo Blade.
Sadly, I don't know what that was last week but that wasn't Temple football right there.
Not even close.
There were moments, though, and Matty Brown's punch (legal, of course) was one of the rare highlights of the day to me.
Heck, it might have been the highlight of the season if I didn't have to associate it with a loss.
Brown combined a straight arm with a simultaneous punch of a BGSU defensive back and picked up an additional 12 yards during a long run that set up Bernard Pierce's touchdown.
I haven't seen a Temple player punch like that since Joe Klecko.
Many of you know who Joe Klecko was, a great All-American tackle at TU in the 1970s who later became the most famous member of the New York Jets' sack exchange.
Not many of you, though, know that Klecko was the two-time NCAA heavyweight boxing champion in 1974 and 1975.
Yes, back then the NCAA offered boxing on a club level and Klecko took it up as something to do between the end of football season and spring practice.
He messed around and became NCAA champion. The fights were three rounds and Klecko had to wear head gear, but he knocked out everyone in a "field of 64" tournament on the way to the title. Klecko was unbeaten in the postseason, with his only two losses coming to a boxer named Bruce Blair during the regular season as he made the transition from football legs to boxing legs. His collegiate record was 25-2.
The NCAA no longer offers the sport, even on a club level.
I've got to believe, after seeing what I saw last Saturday, if the NCAA brings it back we've got a lightweight champion on our hands in the 5-7, 150-pound Brown.
I hope the entire team takes Brown's fighting spirit back to Ohio on Wednesday night and comes away with a TKO.
After waiting this long to get back into the ring, they should be mad enough to throw their weight around. For guidance, all they have to do is look at the way Brown tosses his.
(Home team in CAPS; favorite with
points in parenthesis)
Central Michigan (8) 30, AKRON 14 _ I can't believe a team that beat Northern Illinois is 2-6. Akron has no such impressive win.
WESTERN MICHIGAN (11 1/2) 24, Ball State 10 _ Number is a little high, but Western has beaten Bowling Green, 45-21, and lost to Illinois, 23-20. Loss last week to Eastern Michigan was a head-scratcher.
Bowling Green (4) 21, KENT STATE 13 _ I can't believe this number is so low. Kent State's 400 fans aren't going to make enough noise to keep this any closer than a touchdown.
Buffalo 14, MIAMI of Ohio (5) 10 _ Upset special. Buffalo is trending upward. Miami only beat Kent State, 9-3, and then lost to Toledo, 49-28.
Rutgers is getting seven points against visiting West Virginia and should cover that; Louisville is giving three points to visiting Syracuse and should cover that; visiting Western Kentucky is getting six points at Louisiana-Monroe even though the Hilltoppers have won three straight so I like Western to come away with the upset there and cover.
Season (SU) 43-24; Season (ATS): 24-33.