Originally published December 16, 1979.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Off the field, they live like brothers. On it, they play like them.
Yesterday at Giants Stadium was no exception.
"I love these guys," said right tackle Phil Prohaska of his Temple roomates, center Barry Collins, right guard Chris Stinger, and running back Mark Bright, after the Owls dismanted California, 28-17, in the second Garden State Bowl.
"Mark is like a brother to me," Prohaska added. "It's easy to bust my butt for him."
As it has all season for the 10-2 Owls, the offensive line was the heart of the offense, grinding out 381 total yards against the Pac 10 Golden Bears, who boasted the third best defense in the conference.
Bright picked up 115 of those yards - all of them on the ground - to win Most Valuable Player honors.
"I can't say enough about our line," Bright said. "They're all super ball-players. They start the whole thing off."
Temple started it off with a bank in the first quarter, with 193 yards of offense and 21 points as the Owls stunned the Bears, 21-0.
"We ran right at 'em," Bright explained. "That was our game plan from the beginning. I felt as a team, they weren't as tough as we were. That was obvious, I thought. We sort of outhit 'em, Physically, we were a little tougher. Mentally, I don't think they were prepared for the cold weather."
Running their counter trap, pulling both guards, the Owls picked apart Cal's 5-2 Eagle defense almost at will until the Golden Bears adjusted in the second quarter.
"They didn't hit," said Collins. "They weren't a physical team, They were more of a finesse team. We figured if we went right at 'em, we felt we could run on 'em."
The running worked. Cal defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham conceded, "In 10 years of coaching I've never seen anybody do that to the Eagle (defense)."
Temple coach Wayne Hardin, who admitted for the first time all season that he was pleased with one of his team's wins, was surprised at how well his offensive line performed too.
"Sometimes I'm surprised we even show up," he laughed. "Our line has been doing a heck of a job all year, and so has Bright. It's quite a combination. We didn't do that well against Penn State (a 22-7 loss), so we decided to get back to basics. Cal is a fast-pursuing club and we took advantage of that with our counter plays and traps."
All the East Coast vs. West Coast buildup wasn't lost on Bright or his roomates.
"As a team, we had something to prove," Collins said. "I heard some comments. I heard a reporter ask a Cal player if it was tough to get up for Temple. It tore me apart. I went crazy inside. I know the Pac-10 is a good conference.
"We're an independent, but we play tough opponents, too. I think we proved today that Penn State isn't the only football team in the East. That seems to be what the West Coast teams think."
"Frankly, I thought Cal would be a little tougher, Prohaska said. "They weren't really physical. The were sort of waiting. I don't know what they were waiting for. We just did what we've done all year. We knew what they would do. There was no way their defense was any way near Penn State or Pitt."
With the school's firs bowl victory ever, the Owls can relax now. Bright will take a month off before he starts thinkg about the possibilities of pro ball. (Fifteen NFL teams had scouts at the game, and Bright was one of the players most discussed.)
Until then, he and his brothers - his offensive line brothers - will continue to enjoy their off-campus life.
"We just all ove each other. We're a family," Prohaska explained. "Our mothers even take turns care sending us care packages. I think it's my turn this week."