For some Temple football players, Saturday night was the first time they celebrated an opening day win.
The last time the Owls won their first game of the season was 2015, against Penn State.
The Owls defeated Bucknell University, 56-12, at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, snapping their three-year-long streak of losing opening day games.
“It is really nice,” redshirt-junior offensive lineman Matt Hennessy said. “I didn’t even realize it until we were just now in the locker room. I mean my first game was Army and then Notre Dame and then Nova last year. So getting this win was pretty awesome.”
In 2016, Temple lost, 28-13, at home against Army. In 2017, the Owls lost, 49-16, on the road against Notre Dame University. In 2018, Temple lost, 19-17, at home against Villanova University.
Bucknell came into the game on Saturday after finishing the 2018 season with a 1-10 overall record and a 13.36 points per game average, the worst records of an opening-day opponent since the Owls’ losing streak began in 2016. Army had the next worst record of 2-10 in 2015.
The Owls averaged 34.92 points per game in 2018.
Despite having a clear advantage, the team felt pressure leading up to the Bucknell game, senior linebacker Shaun Bradley said.
“We have been losing the first game a lot,” Bradley said after practice on Aug. 27. “Bucknell, for me, would have been the biggest challenge for us. Coming out, starting strong and getting that 1-0 start.”
Coach Rod Carey doesn’t believe this year’s team will settle after an opening-day victory and believes the team will continue to play with “urgency.”
“I have no reason to believe that these guys will not be urgent when we get back out on the practice field on Wednesday,” Carey said. “I have every reason to believe that this group is a driven group.”
Carey said the Owls will prepare for every team the same, despite their record.
“Games are a series of adjustments inside the game plan and how you do with that, that’s how we’re going to attack it,” he said.
The Owls next game is against the University of Maryland (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) on Sept. 14 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Temple has an extra week of practice before this game, during which the team will enjoy the victory, but quickly pivot to preparing for the Terrapins, Carey said.
“We don’t take winning for granted,” Carey said. “We have a strict 24-hour rule and policy. We are going to enjoy it for 24 hours, and then we are gonna dig in and fix the other stuff.”