Temple football

For first time, Temple has a Hall of Fame player

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Temple Football

For first time, Temple has a Hall of Fame player

Paul Palmer, who broke virtually every Temple University rushing record during his four years with the Owls, has been voted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the Hall announced on Monday morning.
 
Although former Temple coaches Glenn "Pop" Warner, Ray Morrison and Wayne Hardin are in the Hall, Palmer is the first former Temple player to achieve the honor. This was his seventh year on the ballot.
 
"The honor of earning admittance to the College Football Hall of Fame is overwhelming, and I can't thank the committee enough for both my nomination and selection," Palmer said. 
 
"I wouldn’t be able to accept this honor without the contributions of my teammates, coaches and the entire Temple community. With Temple football on the rise, I only hope my induction will crack the door for a number of other deserving Owls to gain entrance to the Hall of Fame down the road." 
 
Palmer, a native of Potomac, Maryland, rushed for 4,895 yards and netted 6,613 all-purpose yards while at Temple. He had 21 100-yard rushing games and six 200-yard games. In 1986, he led the nation with 1,866 rushing yards and 1,976 yards from scrimmage and broke Marcus Allen's single-season all-purpose yardage record with 2,633.
 
He finished second to Vinny Testaverde in the 1986 Heisman Trophy balloting.

When he left, he ranked sixth in NCAA Division I history in rushing yards and fourth in all-purpose yards. He’s still in the top 30 all-time on both lists.

Palmer now serves as the color analyst on Temple's radio broadcasts.

"This is really a fitting culmination to an amazing football journey," said former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, Palmer’s coach at Temple. "I’ve been around some great ones, but pound-for-pound there were none better than Paul Palmer. 
 
“He had all the athleticism and talent in the world, but what truly separated him was his heart and toughness. You can look at his amazing stats and all those records, [but] they don’t show you just how fearless he was running up the middle at his size against some of the top defenses in the country. I can’t express how thrilled I am for Paul and how proud I have always been to say I was his coach."
 
After the NCAA ruled that Palmer had signed with an agent before his senior year had ended, Palmer was stripped of his stats from his final year at Temple, and Temple had its six wins in 1986 stripped from the record books as well.
 
Palmer was the 19th pick in the 1987 draft and spent three years in the NFL. He led the NFL with two kickoff return touchdowns as a rookie in 1987 and led the AFC with 24.3 yards per kick return. He rushed for 1,053 yards and four touchdowns in three years with the Chiefs and Cowboys and caught 74 passes for 731 yards and four more touchdowns. 

He spent the summer of 1991 in Eagles training camp in West Chester.

Palmer and the rest of the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 will be formally inducted at the 61st annual NFF Awards Dinner on Dec. 4 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.

Temple caps Collins' 1st season with Gasparilla Bowl win

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USA Today Images

Temple caps Collins' 1st season with Gasparilla Bowl win

BOX SCORE

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Geoff Collins has lofty expectations for Temple.

"The future is bright," the first-year coach said after Frank Nutile threw for 254 yards and a touchdown to lead the Owls to a 28-3 victory over Florida International in the Gasparilla Bowl on Thursday night.

Nutile teamed with Isaiah Wright on 45-yard TD play in the fourth quarter and also scored on a 4-yard run to give the Owls (7-6) an early lead. He completed passes of 13 and 17 yards to escape a first-and-30 hole before throwing 39 yards to Adonis Jennings to set up another TD.

The victory was the fourth in five games for Temple, which rebounded from a 3-5 start to finish with a winning record. The Owls, American Athletic Conference champions a year ago, won a bowl game for the first time since the 2011 New Mexico Bowl.

"The ceiling is the roof," Collins said amid a celebration at Tropicana Field.

FIU (8-5) matched a school record for victories in its first year under Butch Davis, the former Miami, North Carolina and Cleveland Browns coach.

"Nobody's ever happy about losing a game," Davis said. "But what these kids accomplished this year, nobody thought was even remotely possible."

The Panthers played most of the night without quarterback Alex McGough, who left in the opening quarter with what Davis said was a fractured collarbone. Maurice Alexander replaced him, but had limited success throwing the ball and was intercepted twice.

Nutile finished 17 of 27 passing with no interceptions and was named game MVP. He threw 13 yards to Keith Kirkwood and 17 yards to Isaiah Wright on consecutive plays before Jennings' long reception moved the Owls into position to go up 14-3 on David Hood's 1-yard TD run.

Wright's TD reception made it 21-3 midway through the fourth quarter. Ryquell Armstead also scored on a 5-yard run for Temple.

"It means a lot. ... We've been through a lot," Nutile said. "Our team's mindset was to go out there and leave it all on the field."

Forced into action
Alexander completed 16 of 33 passes for 162 yards for FIU. The Panthers were unable to run the ball consistently to take pressure off the backup quarterback, finishing with 88 yards on the ground and avoiding a shutout with Jose Borregales' 27-yard field goal in the third quarter.

What a rush
Temple's defense set a Gasparilla Bowl record with seven sacks. LB William Kwenkeu led the way with two. The Owls also forced three turnovers, including a fumble that Freddie Booth-Lloyd recovered to set up Armstead's late TD.

The takeaway
Temple: Collins inherited a program that won the American Athletic Conference in 2016, the Owls' first league crown since 1967. After a slow start that saw them lose five of eight, the Owls returned from a bye week to win three of four to become bowl eligible. This year's senior class won 33 games over four seasons, an Owls record.

FIU: The Panthers hope to raise their profile under Davis, and matching the school record for wins and appearing in a bowl for the first time is a start. The Panthers finished second in Conference USA's East Division and placed 12 players on the league's all-conference team.

Up next
Temple: The Owls made significant strides in first-year offensive coordinator David Patenaude's system after Nutile, a redshirt junior moved into the starting lineup in October. Starting receivers Kirkwood and Jennings are seniors, however Wright, a sophomore, led the Owls with 46 receptions for 668 yards with four TDs and will provide some continuity at the position.

FIU: Key changes on offense. McGough, the Panthers' career leader in TD passes and No. 2 in career completions and passing yards, is a senior. Alexander appeared in seven games during the regular season, however the sophomore only attempted six passes. Leading receiver Thomas Owens (59 receptions, 887 yards, 6 TDs in nine games) is also a senior.

No. 9 Penn State headed to Fiesta Bowl; Temple to play in Gasparilla Bowl

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No. 9 Penn State headed to Fiesta Bowl; Temple to play in Gasparilla Bowl

For Temple, there was some suspense. For No. 9 Penn State, the only question was who they would play.

Both the Nittany Lions and Owls are officially bowl bound. Penn State learned Sunday that it will take on No. 12 Washington in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 30 at 4 p.m. in Glendale, Arizona. Temple will play Florida International in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.

Penn State, in the hunt for the College Football Playoffs for most of the season, lost two straight heartbreakers, 39-38 to No. 5 Ohio State on Oct. 28, and 27-24 to No. 18 Michigan State on Nov. 4. The Nittany Lions won their last three games, capped off by a 66-3 drubbing of Maryland last Saturday.

Junior running back Saquon Barkley, once a top Heisman Trophy contender and the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, leads the Penn State offense. He has rushed for 1,134 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

Their opponents had their playoff hopes derailed by a 13-7 upset to Arizona State on Oct 14. Washington and Penn State last played in the 1983 Aloha Bowl, which the Nittany Lions won, 13-10. 

Temple sealed Bowl eligibility with a 45-22 win in its regular-season finale against Tulsa. The 6-6 Owls will face the 8-4 Florida International Panthers, who play in Conference USA. 

For the first time in school history, Temple will play in a bowl game for a third straight year.