WHEN THEN-TEMPLE athletic director Bill Bradshaw hired former Penn Stater Al Golden to be the school's new football coach a little over a decade ago, the Owls were coming off an 0-11 season that had been preceded by 2-9 and 1-11. Bradshaw's words that day were prophetic: "If (Golden's) getting hired by another program in four or five years, then we've got the right guy."
THE NEXT chapter of Andy Talley's journey is officially underway. So naturally, two days after Villanova lost in the second round of the FCS playoffs at South Dakota State to bring the curtain down on a historic 32-year Main Line coaching career, he was lunching at his favorite Italian restaurant.
AN ERA finally came to a close after 32 seasons Saturday in, of all places, Brookings, S.D. Andy Talley coached his first game at Villanova in 1985, a 27-7 win over Iona in what would become a 5-0 season. He'd been given the job a year earlier, when nothing was in place other than a vision. The program had last competed in 1980. He brought the sport back at what was then called the Division I-AA level. He leaves a legacy that might never be duplicated.
OH, THE places the FCS playoffs have taken Andy Talley. They almost read like a road map of America. In 1989, in just the program's fifth season back after it resurfaced at what was then the Division I-AA level, the Wildcats were sent to Statesboro to play top-ranked Georgia Southern, the eventual national champion. It was their first postseason appearance since the 1962 Liberty Bowl in South Philly.
IT WAS LATE September 1994. Temple's football team was 2-1 under second-year coach Ron Dickerson, who had gone 1-10 in his first season. It was the Owls' best start since 1987, when they were 3-1 in Bruce Arians' fifth and next-to-last season before losing their final seven. The '94 team wouldn't win another game, either.
SO, WHAT were you doing in 1967? That was three years before Wayne Hardin became Temple's football coach and the program moved up to Division I-A. And eight years before current coach Matt Rhule came into this world. Those Owls, under George Makris, finished 7-2, winning the Middle Atlan
AT THE END of last season, Villanova basically was down to just about no available running backs, because of a rash of injuries. It's not a good situation to be in. And it was a very real extenuating factor in the Wildcats' just missing a playoff berth.
FOOTBALL PLAYERS come to Penn to try to win Ivy League championships. That's been the DNA. But when you lose the last four games as a freshman to finish 4-6, then go 2-8 as a sophomore and start your junior year 1-3 with a new coach, well, maybe some doubts creep into the picture.
THIS IS HOW close Dion Dawkins came to not coming to North Broad Street. Four years ago, he was already committed to Cincinnati as a defensive lineman, his position at Rahway (N.J.) High. Matt Rhule had just gotten the Temple coaching job. One of his assistants, Allen McGridge, knew Dawkins' uncle.
ON A SATURDAY in which five of the 11 teams ranked ahead of it lost, Penn State was trailing by 10 points at Indiana - a team it had beaten 19 of 20 - late in the third quarter. Then the Nittany Lions (8-2, 6-1 Big Ten) began playing like the team it has become over the last month. More than 18 minutes later, they'd scored 31 of the last 38 points to get a 45-31 win.
THIS IS the last regular-season home game of Andy Talley's 32-year Main Line career. It could turn out to be the last time he coaches at Villanova Stadium. That's pretty much up to his Wildcats, who are ranked ninth in FCS. On Saturday afternoon they will host No. 6 James Madison in a matchup that contains those ever-popular postseason ramifications.
PENN DIDN'T just get beat last week at Princeton. It got harpooned, 28-0. "We were looking to be outright (Ivy League) champions," said fifth-year senior wide receiver Cameron Countryman, who was on one of those in 2012 and part of a shared-title team last season. "That was our goal, and we were in perfect positi
THE JAY WRIGHT era at Villanova has been defined by two Kodak moments. One got the Wildcats to a Final Four, the second won them a national title. And it was the same play, run slightly differently each time because of what the defense was dictating.
PENN STATE has picked a great time to get on a roll. For the first time since 2011 the Nittany Lions (7-2, 5-1), who moved up eight spots to 12th in the Associated Press poll, have won five straight Big Ten games. On Saturday night they beat Iowa (5-4, 3-3) at home, 41-14.
PENN WILL PLAY its two most important games the next two weeks. On Saturday afternoon the Quakers (5-2, 4-0 Ivy League) are at Princeton (5-2, 3-1). And on the night of Nov. 11 they host Harvard (6-1, 4-0), the 23rd-ranked team in FCS, which won at Princeton two weeks ago in overtime.