Temple spirit felt city-wide for Halloween game

Temple Diamond Jems cheerleaders fire up the crowd at the Bell Tower.

Update: Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy played college football for the University of Mississippi (“Ole Miss”). His college and position were incorrectly listed.

THE STREETS of Philadelphia will experience plenty of spirit this Halloween, but not just of the spooky variety.

That spirit peaked yesterday as hundreds of Temple students, alumni and fans donned cherry and white and cheered, on Market Street between 5th and 6th, in the background of the first of many "ESPN College GameDay" broadcasts leading up to tonight's game against Notre Dame.

While Temple football is experiencing perhaps its best season ever, students yesterday planned to make this game one that goes down in history by tailgating at events all over the city.

For Temple freshman Matt Arons, that means taking the first bus to Independence Hall leaving from Temple's campus today at 4:45 a.m.

"I knew the Owls had a strong program," Arons said. "I had faith Matt Rhule would get us there."

Matt Pierantoni and Sam Destefano plan to vie for a spot closest to the pre-game show by beating the buses and setting up camp at 2 a.m.

"If you don't get here as soon as possible, you'll end up on the grass," Destefano said, pointing to Independence Mall, usually reserved for tourists and history buffs.

On Temple's main campus, an hour before a pep rally was set to take place, the bookstore swarmed with students trying to grab one of the last "GameDay" T-shirts, an item manager Jewel Griffin said they can't keep on the hangers for more than a few minutes.

When "GameDay" announced it was coming to Philadelphia Monday via Twitter, Griffin said the store called in extra orders of all apparel, especially cold-weather gear in anticipation of Halloween's colder temperatures.

"Since the win against Penn State until now, business has been booming," she said.

Brianna Juskalian, a sophomore bookstore worker, said so many students, parents and alumni frequented the store yesterday that managers had to call in some seasonal employees who primarily work at the start of the semester and near holidays.

Yesterday's pep rally at the Bell Tower, the heart of Temple's campus featured the Temple Diamond Band, all in costume. The Diamond Gems and cheerleaders jazzed up students with a DJ, free food and gift cards to the bookstore.

Ray Smeriglio, former student body president and current game announcer, said he has watched Temple football since his sister became an Owl in 2004, although he never imagined he'd be standing in front of a crowd of 70,000 people with a 7-0 season record.

Smeriglio will meet with Temple alumnus Kevin Negandhi at 7 a.m. today on the main campus for a "SportsCenter" game preview, take a bus to Independence Hall for the 9 a.m. "College GameDay" preview show, and then head to The Linc for the game.

"It's going to be a phenomenal experience," Smeriglio said. "It may be the first time Temple will have these events all over the city and thousands of people at all of them. Hopefully the excitement will last all day."