No, the place wasn't electric as it had been for Notre Dame or Penn State. Lincoln Financial Field wasn't even as full as last week for Memphis. However, Owls diehards saw something Saturday night at the Linc that nobody ever had before, in whatever place Temple has called home.

Temple's winning 10 football games, a regular-season Owls first, is the equivalent of what? Men landing on Mars? Should Matt Damon star in the film version of Temple's story? Is that really hyperbole? If you'd thought about it, wouldn't you have expected a Mars landing first?

If Saturday's game against Connecticut was supposed to be a battle of heavyweight defenses - and UConn came in with the worthy statistics - the Owls 'D' won by a technical knockout. Officially, it was scored 27-3. Here's a more telling stat: Through three quarters, UConn had 65 total yards, just barely 2 yards per play.

As achievements go, you could argue that winning the American Athletic Conference East Division, and reaching next Saturday's AAC title game, is almost (but not quite) equal to a college hoops team reaching the Sweet 16.

Against Houston, the Owls will try to do the once-unfathomable, win a conference title and finish its regular season in the top 25, considerable additional icing to this already-memorable season.

How many times in their history have the Owls won 10 times? Once, in 1979, and Temple got the 10th in the Garden State Bowl. So this was the first time winning 10 in the regular season (playing one more game), and Temple will have two more chances - in the title game and a bowl game - to be the first in school history to win 11.

How did it happen? There's no single answer. Winning football teams obviously can't have many holes that can be exploited. This one doesn't. This team has running backs with both speed and tenacity, a quarterback who rises to the occasion, a defensive line that imposes its will, defensive backs who play without fear, special teams that understand how little things add up to big things.

All that isn't even getting to an Owls linebacker, Tyler Matakevich, who finds his way to the ball as well as any player in the country.

"Let me go sing," Matakevich told a Temple staffer who stopped briefly in the postgame celebration, as his teammates gathered in front of the student section singing the alma mater. Matakevich ran over and put his arm around the shoulder of quarterback P.J. Walker.

"What a time to be an Owl, J.C.," kickoff specialist Tyler Mayes said to fellow senior John Christopher, walking up the tunnel from the field.

There is a subplot that comes with this success. Will Owls coach Matt Rhule stay? Footballscoop.com, a regular industry source of news, reported during the game that Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades was planning to meet with Toledo head coach Matt Campbell Saturday night and with Rhule on Sunday.

Rhule said in general that he wasn't going to speak on the topic, and basically repeated that when he was asked specifically whether he was meeting with Missouri. Several sources said Temple is working on a package intended to keep him in town.

In front of a crowd that was announced as 28,236 but seemed closer to 18,000, Temple's defense dominated the first half, putting up its first first-half shutout of the season. Up by 10-0 at the break, the Owls kicked off to start the second half, and their defense got out there and picked right up: loss of 1, gain of 1, near interception, punt.

UConn didn't touch the ball again for seven minutes. After a Temple field goal, the Huskies went no gain, incompletion, loss of 3.

If there was a chance the Huskies were going to make a game of it, grabbing an interception on the next Temple series, about to start a series in Owls territory - no, a flag was thrown: defensive holding by the safety who made the interception. (They'll have to find a few more camera angles to see where the holding was.)

Temple certainly didn't look interested in beating itself. That's not Temple, not this season. The Owls had no turnovers in the first half. When that interception was reversed, the Owls hustled downfield and got into the end zone six plays later, going ahead by 20-0 - one TD catch got overturned, but Temple scored with another on the next play.

How to explain the whole thing? Maybe the football gods have simply decided this city can handle only one team at a time that looks as if it knows what it's doing. Thursday's Eagles-Lions game looked exactly like an old Owls game in their toughest times. This team here Saturday night, on the other hand, looked well-oiled.

If it interests you, Matt Damon, you're welcome to use any of the above as a script. Standard fees apply.

@jensenoffcampus