My wife and are Temple grads and we, like our brethren of alumni, have witnessed a Temple program stumble mummy-like in the World of The Walking Dead for decades.
Which why the Owls’ resurrection from the crypt this season has been such a Magical Mystery Tour of Wonder.
All of which brought us to Halloween night at the Linc with Temple hosting Notre Dame, the most iconic college football program in all the land as well as the Vatican.
At least the Fighting Irish didn’t bring along Touchdown Jesus but I wish they would have left Touchdown DeShone back home in South Bend as well.
The two programs had inhabited different dimensions forever and a day. Until Saturday night, when the unbeaten Owls and the Irish no longer took snaps in parallel universes. They finally occupied the same universe of being ranked in the Top 25.
That witch’s brew of redemption and passion concocted a bubbling cauldron of a game. Only time would tell whether the Owls would find that cauldron’s contents to be elixir or poison.
Sadly and dare I say even tragically, the answer was poison.
Two defensive miscues, one by a player and one by the coaching staff, doomed Temple to a 24-20 loss in a Thriller exciting enough to unearth Michael Jackson and Vincent Price from their graves.
The aforementioned Touchdown DeShone, known as first-year Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer to national college football audiences, aided and abetted by Temple gaffes, was the difference-maker before a raucous and mostly costumed throng of 69,280 strong.
Kizer scored Notre Dame’s second touchdown on a pulsating 79-yard run on a dive play, where he pulled the ball back at the last second and sped to the outside. He was gone in a whoosh, all because an Owl misread a zone read right and played the dime instead of cornerback, leaving Kizer unmolested.
Then in the game’s waning minutes, Temple needed one more valiant defensive stand. But the coaching staff opted to discard the aggressive man pass coverage that had served the Owls so well and went into a prevent zone defense.
Defensive coaches for some maddening reason resort to prevent defenses when it has been amply demonstrated time and time again that prevent defenses only prevent the defensive team, not the offensive team, from winning.
Predictably and inevitably, Kizer matriculated the Irish down the field before delivering the coup de grace that stabbed every Temple fan in the heart — the game-winning 17-yard scoring pass to Will Fuller with 2:09 left.
It was a rather ghastly climax for a fairytale suddenly turned horror story.