Excluding the end result, fans couldn’t have asked for better conditions last Saturday for the football team’s home opener at Lincoln Financial Field.
The sun was beaming, and the wind at a standstill and fresh Kentucky bluegrass covering the field lent the notion that fans were in for a real treat once Temple and Villanova took the field.
But that wasn’t the case for Temple fans after the Owls lost to ‘Nova, 23-20, in double overtime.
The game provided the typical ooh’s and aah’s as well as some chants and roars for the home team.
The contest was close the entire evening but it didn’t stop fans from busting out their wallets and sampling some of what the Linc had to offer.
After halftime the main concourse was the scene of a melee. Students with painted faces ponied up for $6 beers, kids chowed down on $3.50 hotdogs and a crowd mixed with Temple and ‘Nova students loafed in the standing area near the corner of the end zone, making it look more like a social gathering than a college football game.
“This place, the amenities are fantastic,” said former Temple football player and pro football Hall of Famer Joe Klecko, who arrived at the Linc at noon for the tailgating party. “The fans are really going to be spoiled here.”
If not on the turf, then at least by the new stadium, as was the case Saturday.
The game reeled in 30,090 fans, a nice figure the athletics department would like to keep in tow. Last season Temple averaged 19,077 fans to its home games, which were split between Franklin Field and Veterans Stadium.
As a whole, it was a day of coming together as students of the past, present and future were on hand to check out the team’s new stomping grounds for the next 15 years.
“I’m pumped,” sophomore Jared Frymoyer said. “I just wanted to check out the stadium. The view and the seats are great. It’s definitely getting more fans to support the team. I didn’t go to any games last year.”
But the new season and new stadium gives fans more reasons to check out this year’s squad. Vince Ceniccola, a 1980 Temple grad, was watching the game with his son and friend. Ceniccola hopes the stadium will help with recruiting, but for now he’s just happy to be away from the corroded Vet.
“It’s natural grass and has a much more open feeling than the Vet and has kind of a throwback feeling,” he said. “I think eventually the novelty will wear off, but Temple should be able to capitalize off it and maybe kick it up a notch.”
If not, some fans are just happy not having to travel around town to follow the Owls.
“It’s not the Vet, it’s not Penn’s stadium,” sophomore Jeremy Ailsinger said. “Now we have a place to call our own. And I really like the JumboTron.”
Chris Silva can be reached at email@example.com.