With the exception of the UPENN logo painted in the end zones, Franklin Field belonged to Temple University last Thursday as a record 26,191 fans crowded the stands to catch the Owls take on Navy in the season opener.
“I think this crowd is better than what was expected,” said sophomore Leslie Miller. “There is a lot of school spirit. The band sounds better and the entertainment for the crowd is great. I’ll definitely come to more games this season.”
A member of the Temple board of directors said this was the largest crowd he has seen in a while and the school will focus on getting more clubs and organizations, especially fraternities and sororities, to show their support.
Questions of how the Owls will do this year and whether or not they could fill seats were partially answered at the home opener, due to their 45-26 win and record attendance.
|“It’s exciting, especially with the high expectations. I am absolutely shocked at the crowd. It’s the best I’ve seen in years,” said graduate student Brandie MacClaren.
The football team has received a lot of attention because its conference, the Big East, has voted to kick the team out at the end of the season.
Their decision, which isn’t final but seems difficult to budge, has put pressure on Temple to fill the stands with more students.
The Big East also cited competitiveness and the lack of a steady place to play as reasons for the team’s removal. Temple splits its games between Franklin Field and Veterans’ Stadium.
“We’re doing a lot of marketing for the season and try to encourage the students to support the athletic teams,” said Diamond Delegate Nici Merlini. “There is already an improvement and more students will eventually come.”
Freshman Nadia Belinda, who has been a season ticket holder for the past five years, was pleased with what she saw Thursday night.
“I love it,” she said. “The crowds have gotten a lot bigger over the years and people have high hopes on this season.”
Temple coach Bobby Wallace said fan support is vital.
“The crowd looked great and sounded great,” he said. “I appreciate the people coming out and hopefully this is something we can build on and have a bigger crowd (Saturday against Toledo).”
The students were just as enthusiastic.
“It’s exciting, especially with the high expectations,” said graduate student Brandie MacClaren. “I am absolutely shocked at the crowd. It’s the best I’ve seen in years.”
The home opener’s attendance surpassed the total season attendance of 25,635 in 1996.