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Temple prepares for next step in quest for new on-campus football stadium

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With time running out on the current lease at Lincoln Financial Field appearing on the horizon, Temple University continues to move forward with exploring their plans for a potential multipurpose facility that could be used to host Temple football on Temple’s campus. The school is now preparing to take the next step forward with the idea by presenting the plans to the City Planning Commission with the hope of being given the approval to continue pushing toward breaking ground on a new facility on Temple’s campus.

“We have said from the start that our first priority has been to engage with our neighbors and local leaders to determine the potential for, and impact of, this facility,” Temple president Richard Englert said in a released statement. “After more than two years of these discussions, and in light of the project’s tremendous value for Temple and North Philadelphia, I have concluded that the time is right to take this step.”

One of the biggest concerns about any on-campus football stadium is the reaction from the neighboring community that has been reluctant to embrace a football stadium being dropped right in the neighborhood.

Englert said in a released statement the university “will continue our conversations with neighbors to address concerns over the impact of the project.”

The football stadium would, in theory, be able to serve multiple purposes in addition to football and will be designed with surrounding economic opportunities in mind. Space for retail locations will be a part of the master plans to help inject some revenue into the surrounding area, and educational facilities will be included in the plans as well.

In all, the plan is currently estimated to cost roughly $130 million. Temple recently negotiated a short-term extension on their lease to use Lincoln Financial Field through 2019. If Temple is given the approval to move forward with their stadium plan, they could theoretically be able to play a true home game on their campus beginning in 2020.

Mack Brown, Frank Beamer, Ed Reed highlight College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018

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Some very familiar names highlight the most recent additions to the College Football Hall of Fame.

In conjunction with the Hall, the National Football Foundation announced Monday morning a total of 13 individuals — 10 players and three coaches — who will be inducted as part of the Class of 2018.  One of those, Michigan’s Charles Woodson, was announced as an inductee on ESPN’s NFL pregame show Sunday.

Below are the baker’s dozen inductees:

TREVOR COBB – RB, Rice (1989-92)
KERRY COLLINS – QB, Penn State (1991-94)
DAVE DICKENSON – QB, Montana (1992-95)
DANA HOWARD – LB, Illinois (1991-94)
CALVIN JOHNSON – WR, Georgia Tech (2004-06)
PAUL PALMER – RB, Temple (1983-86)
ED REED – DB, Miami [Fla.] (1998-2001)
MATT STINCHCOMB – OT, Georgia (1995-98)
AARON TAYLOR – C/OG, Nebraska (1994-97)
CHARLES WOODSON – DB, Michigan (1995-97)

FRANK BEAMER – 280-144-4 (65.9%); Murray State (1981-86), Virginia Tech (1987-2015)
MACK BROWN – 244-122-1 (66.6%); Appalachian State (1983), Tulane (1985-87), North Carolina (1988-97), Texas (1998-2013)
MEL TJEERDSMA – 242-82-4 (74.4%); Austin College [Texas] (1984-93), Northwest Missouri State (1994-2010)

“We are extremely proud to announce the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said College Football Hall of Famer and NFF chairman Archie Manning in a statement. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments.”

The newest class will be inducted Dec. 4 of this year at the annual NFF awards dinner.

Temple’s starting QB for first half of 2017 to transfer

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Logan Marchi‘s 2017 season came to a premature end, now so too has his career at Temple.

The redshirt sophomore quarterback announced on Twitter this week that he has decided to transfer from the Owls and continue his collegiate playing career elsewhere.  Marchi’s subsequently indicated to the Philadelphia Inquirer that he will likely move down to the FCS level so as to avoid having to sit out a transfer season.

While Marchi didn’t give a specific reason for the transfer in his social media missive, he did indicate to the Inquirer that a better shot at playing time triggered the decision.

Marchi started the first seven games of 2017 for the Owls before going down with a season-ending foot injury.  Frank Nutile took over and played well, guiding Temple to a 4-2 record in his starts, a record that included a bowl win.  Marchi, meanwhile, was 3-4 in his starts.

Nutile, a redshirt junior, threw 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season, averaging just over eight yards per attempt.  Marchi averaged 6.7 yards per attempt while throwing nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Temple LB William Kwenkeu earned American citizenship before playing in Gasparilla Bowl

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This week was years in the making for Temple linebacker William Kwenkeu, in more ways than one. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound linebacker posted the game of his life in the Owls 28-3 win over Florida International in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl on Thursday, recording the first two sacks of his career.

But far more important than that: a day before, Kwenkeu became an American citizen.

A native of Cameroon, Kwenkeu moved to the United States in 2012, and eventually graduated from St. Charles High School in Waldorf, Md. He earned a scholarship at Temple, where he has made an impact on special teams before an injury to fellow linebacker Shaun Bradley led to his breakthrough performance in Thursday’s game.

However, a day before the game, Kwenkeu flew to Baltimore, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, to take the U.S. citizenship test, which he passed. He will be sworn in as an American citizen this Wednesday in Philadelphia.

Which made his performance in the Gasparilla Bowl even more special than it would have been otherwise.

“It was exciting,” Kwenkeu told the Inquirer. “It was a five-year long wait and when it finally happened it, there were tears on my mom’s face, she was smiling and it was making her proud. That is what she wanted for me, the America dream happening for me, so it was a very warm moment.”

Temple mows over Florida International to win Gasparilla Bowl

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Head coaches — at least publicly — won’t complain about winning ugly when it comes to securing a victory in college football. If you gave some truth serum or a few adult beverages to Geoff Collins though, the first year head coach would have to admit that Thursday night’s game at Tropicana Field was about as ugly as it comes in the sport.

Not that it mattered in the end, as his Temple team (7-6) managed to mow down Florida International (8-5) for a 28-3 win in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.

The formula was a familiar one for the Owls: salty defense, a methodical offense and wait for a few big plays out of quarterback Frank Nutile. The signal-caller didn’t have the sharpest outing down in St. Petersburg, Fla. but was solid enough to lead his team to the win column by throwing for 254 yards and a touchdown without an interception. He scored the game’s first points as well on a keeper in the second quarter and setup the team’s second score on a big pass play down the field that tailback David Hood (76 yards rushing) eventually punched in for a touchdown.

Adonis Jennings (51 yards), Keith Kirkwood (96 yards) and Isaiah Wright (73 yards, one touchdown) were the big play threats in the passing game and balanced out things given how difficult it was to run the football. The offense did just enough to take advantage of a quality performance from the Temple defense, which recorded seven sacks, two fourth downs stops, and kept their opponent out of the end zone despite having one of the more productive units in the country coming in.

Most of those struggles for FIU can be traced back to their opening drive of the game when senior starting quarterback and Tampa native Alex McGough went down with what officials later said was a broken collarbone. That seemed to chuck the game plan right out the window for the Panthers, which never seemed to get any consistency on that side of the ball out of backup Maurice Alexander once he threw two early interceptions and was generally running around to avoid pressure on every drop back. Running backs Napoleon Maxwell and Alex Gardner failed to find much space on the ground without much of a passing threat as neither came close to hitting the century mark.

Despite the loss though, it was still a heck of a year for FIU and first year coach Butch Davis as they made just the third ever bowl appearance for the program and tied the school record for wins in a season.

Temple knows all about turnarounds themselves as the bowl victory on Thursday, just the third postseason win in program history, caps off a remarkable second half surge that included four wins in their final five games. Given how bad the Owls looked in September, that’s a nice little springboard into the offseason for Collins and his staff as they send the winningest senior class in school history off with a nice, if ugly, victory.