Temple Brings Both Rocky and Rudy Traits to Its Opening Game at Notre Dame

By Mike Gibson
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The odds makers who should know these sorts of things started the betting line with Temple getting 24 points at Notre Dame in a first-week non-conference college football matchup later this month. Over the past few days, the Notre Dame money started rolling in and the line went up as far as 30, with it resting on 29 currently.

It all shapes up as another first-week David vs. Goliath matchup.

Since Temple is in Philadelphia and recently completed a daylong sprinting practice up and down the steps of the city’s Art Museum that the movie Rocky made famous, you could also call this a Rocky vs. Rudy matchup. Or, judging by the story of Temple’s current head coach, Matt Rhule, call it BOTH Rocky and Rudy vs. Notre Dame (Aug 31, NBC-TV, 3:30 in the East).

Rhule came to Penn State as a walk-on player in 1994, the year after the movie “Rudy” — about a Notre Dame walk-on — was released. During his entire career playing for the late Joe Paterno, Rhule was affectionately called Rudy by the rest of the Nittany Lions’ players and won the award as the team’s best special teams’ player in 1995.

Current University of Miami head coach Al Golden turned the Owls’ program around before he left, recruiting enough talent to get them bowl-eligible in three of the last four years. As recruiting coordinator much of that time, Rhule was the man responsible for organizing that part of the process.

Rhule, the son of a legendary Pennsylvania high school coach, has brought that same kind of work ethic back after a one-year stint as an offensive assistant with the New York Giants of the NFL.

Whether both Rocky and Rudy are enough to bridge a perceived 30-point talent gap will be determined on Aug. 31 but bettors should be forewarned: Notre Dame has lost to South Florida, Navy and Connecticut since 2009 and Temple has beaten all three of those schools in the same time frame.

Rhule is determined to show the rest of the world this is not the Temple that existed prior to Al Golden’s arrival anymore and national TV could provide the best vehicle to drive that point home.

Mike Gibson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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