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Temple wins one for the East

Bright leads Owls to 28-17 victory in Garden State Bowl

Originally published December 16, 1979.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - For nearly a month, Temple football players burned their eyes watching California game films while their ears burned over what they thought were degrading Cal comments about them. Finally, the sound and the fury boiled over yesterday as the Owls beat the Golden Bears, 28-17, in the second Garden State Bowl.

Playing with their hearts on their sleeves, the Owls ripped off a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, let the Bears from the Pac 10 make it a four-point game, and then came alive at the end to hang on and win in the gray chill of Giants Stadium.

Temple's first bowl appearance since the 1935 Sugar Bowl attracted a crowd announced at 40,207 after 55,493 tickets were sold. Each school will get approximately $225,000, up from the $166,362 shares that Rutgers and Arizona State earned for playing in the first Garden State Bowl.

The win was also a milestone for the Owls, who thus completed the first 10-win season in the school's history. More importantly, they came away from the Meadowlands thinking they had protected their own good name and that of eastern football. "Where's the Pac 10?" Ross Mongiardo, a reserve offensive lineman, laughed as he trotted into the Temple dressing room afterward. "Eastern football!" other players chanted.

"They (Cal) came in making comments in the paper. They kept adding fuel to the fire," said Mark Bright, the hard-nosed Temple fullback who won game Most Valuable Player honors for gaining 112 yards in 19 carries. "They kept saying things like, you know, how we couldn't compete with the Pac 10."

"On the bus coming over, I read an article where their coach (Roger Theder) compared us to Washington State. This was a half hour before the game."

"They came out a bit fired up, didn't they?" said Cal offensive tackle Don Hudson of the Owls. "There was some mouthing off on their side of the line at the end. We pride ourselves on being a class organization. Some of the things going on were a bit cheap."

All talk aside, Temple won this game with its ground work, led by Bright and an offensive line armed with a new blocking pattern developed after the regular season. The Owls rushed for 300 of their 381 yards total offense. Cal made just 23 yards rushing against a defense led by sophomore tackle Guy Peters, who came up with three sacks.

Still, the Bears - who finished at 6-6 - stung the Owls, as expected, wtih the arm of quarterback Rich Campbell. The 6-foot, 5-inch junior, whose line had all it could handle with Temple's three-man rush and whose running support was negligible, completed 25 of 38 passes for 241 yards and both Cal touchdowns. And he had the Bears in position to win.

Cal drove 63 yards - with Campbell and Matt Bouza hooking up on a 43-yard pass-and-run play - to get a 34-yard field goal by Mick Luckhurst with 12 minutes, 50 seconds remaining, wtih Temple sputtering after its early flash. The Owls made it to the Cal 14-yard line midway through the third quarter, but tailback Kevin Duckett slipped a yard on third-and-three and Ron Fioravanti followed that by missing his second field goal of the day, a 29-yarder that drifted to the right.

Temple scored when it had to, however, answering the Cal field goal with a 78-yard, 14-play touchdown drive that ate up 5:58. Quarterback Brian Broomell found tight end Drew Wesnak for 20 yards on third-and-five at the Cal 36, then lofted a five-yard pass to Gerald Lucear for the touchdown with 6:47 left. The split end raced by Cal's Fred Williams and caught the ball as he fell and landed on his back.

The Bears got two more chances, but only came close on them.

Campbell passed Cal into striking distance on the Bears' next possession. But he threw incomplte, aiming for Bouza (seven catches for 114 yards) in the end zone, on fourth and four at the Temple eight. The Owls' Sherman Myers then fumbled the ball away at his 19, but Peters' last sack helped shut off Campbell and Cal in the last 1:35.

"I don't know what all that stuff was, about what Temple can or can't do," Theder said later. "I don't remember saying anything ... except Temple has a good football team."

Whatever he said, or didn't say, Temple came out smoking. The Owls pushed off to a 21-0 lead, scoring on each of their first three possessions, and they should have had more before Cal made it a 21-14 game at halftime.

Working their running plays behind a different blocking system, the Owls punched out 193 yards total offense, 193 yards on the ground, in their 21-0 first quarter. "In the first quarter," Theder said, "they were pulling both guards, they coming back with the counter play. We were struggling to figure out and - after two touchdowns - we did. But it's a good scheme."

"It was a new thing," Temple center Barry Collins was saying, "We put it in because they wouldn't see it on film. We saw all 11 of their games on film, and we saw how their tackle would follow the pulling guard on every play. It workd well for us until the end of the second quarter."

Temple opened with drives of 67 and 50 yards, using just one pass to help cover those distances, and Duckett (22 carries for 92 yards) ended them with touchdown runs of eight and four yards. The next TD, coming with 34 secodns remaining in the first quarter, was a seven-yard pass from Broomell to Wiley Pitts.

The Owls should have had at least three more points a moment later, when Cal fullback Paul Jones fumbled the ball at his 27. Peters came up with the turnover, but Temple couldn't turn it into anything. The offense finally bog down, 4th and 16, and Fioravanti missed a 32-yard field goal.

On its next series, Temple faced its first punting situation, and Casey Murphy's kick was blocked by Ron HIll, giving Cal the ball at the Temple 11, After Jones lost a yard on first down, Campbell passed 12 yards to Bouza for the first Cal touchdown with 9:30 showing before the intermission.

The Temple offense went dead again, Murphy managed to get off a 43-yard punt and Cal put another seven points on the board. They knocked off 68 yards in eight plays, this time Campbell throwing to his tight end, Joe Rose, for the 14-yard touchdown play at 4:31. But Cal never sustained that bit of momentum.

"I can't say Temple played better than I expected," Cal's Hudson said, "because I expected a tough game. But those guys (Temple players) were out on the field saying, 'Look what we've done. Look what we've done' One of'em said, 'Two-thirds of the Pac 10 doesn't deserve to be in that conference.' You can't say stuff like that.

"We really wanted to win this game, sure. But it wasn't some kind of grudge match like I guess it was for them."