Early Halloween morning, Temple’s Main Campus was silent.
There was not a soul on Beury Beach or anyone sitting on the sides of the Bell Tower could be found.
It was not because of mischief night or the aftermath of a night of wild partying, rather campus was silent as students jumped on buses before dawn outside the Liacouras Center to attend the airing of the 300th episode of ESPN’s College GameDay, live at Independence Hall.
The Oct. 31 episode featured a main topic of discussion—the Temple v. Notre Dame matchup that was set to air later at 8 p.m. on primetime television. GameDay analysts Lee Corso, Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard discussed their predictions of the game which ended in a 24-20 loss for the Temple Owls that evening.
GameDay came the morning before a home-game record of 69,280 people made their way down to Lincoln Financial Field for the featured game. This was GameDay’s second time in Philadelphia and first time covering Temple football.
“I think we made a really good choice coming to Philly,” Howard told The Temple News before the game. “It’s not often that you get the chance to come here and cover the Temple Owls football so when we have those rare opportunities, it’s important that you take advantage of them.”
“I don’t think that they’re afraid of any challenges, this is a game that [Temple players] look forward to playing,” he added. “I think they may embrace the underdog role. Watching them, it seems like they’re just a gritty, resilient team and I respect them, and I like them personally.”
The special guest for this episode was Philadelphia’s own Phillie Phanatic. The Phanatic and Temple’s mascot Hooter both came up on stage at one point in the segment to be a part of the analyst’s choices for winners of the days’ games.
From Temple’s Diamond Marching Band to students dressed in costumes and cherry and white, the environment outside Independence Hall was filled with school spirit.
“The atmosphere seems that everybody is starting to generate a buzz about what Temple has accomplished so far,” Howard said.
One of the biggest traditions of College GameDay is signs attendees bring along with them to be seen behind the analysts. One sign a Temple fan held was one that read “In Gingers We Trust,” referencing Temple’s red-haired linebacker, Tyler Matakevich.
Another sign referenced popular television show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and read “The Gang Takes on ESPN College GameDay,” which ended up winning an award from Pizza Hut, a sponsor of the event.
Hundreds of other signs were held, including jokes about the show’s analysts, Brian Kelly, the head coach of Notre Dame and John Cena.
Lindsay Durkalec, a junior communication studies major, went to GameDay excited about the exposure this event would bring to Temple.
“I think it’s pretty awesome that [GameDay] came here to [Philadelphia], because football hasn’t been that big and this is something that is giving us more and more publicity,” she said.
Drummer in the Diamond Band Troy Gillespie said he had never seen a turnout like this for Temple football.
“This is my senior year, so I’ve seen the ups and downs of this program and to see this happen today is one of the most amazing things possible,” said Gillespie, a senior management and information studies major.
Temple alumni and community members also turned out in droves for the full GameDay experience.
Nick Jajko, a 2006 alumnus, came with his family. Jajko runs a podcast about Temple football and has had season tickets since 2007.
“It’s pretty great seeing everyone coming out and supporting Temple,” Jajko said. “I think college football in the city wasn’t a big thing before this.”
Karen and John Henry, parents of two Temple alumni, came out to support their children’s school.
“This is wonderful, this is absolutely wonderful—the spirit is great,” Karen Henry said.
They both added they have had some lonely times in the stands over the years when Temple football struggled to win.
“We’ve had a long, hard road with Temple football so this is the day we’ve been waiting for,” John Henry said.
Gillian McGoldrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.