When the 2019 Temple football schedule was released, fans looked at the game scheduled for Saturday, September 28th and their eyes opened wide with excitement. In this matchup, the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets of the ACC brought former Temple head coach Geoff Collins back to Lincoln Financial Field for a matchup against his old team. The Owls prevailed in this one, winning 24 to 2.
The return of Collins and playing an ACC team is a date that is circled on Temple football and their fans’ calendars, so the fans came prepared for the special occasion. In the Cherry Crusade section behind the Temple bench and next to the marching band, fans were seen dressed in Temple gear, costumes, and body paint as usual. This game also featured signs made by the fan club, taking shots and poking fun at Geoff Collins and the Yellowjackets team.
One sign said the words “Georgia Technically Sucks.” Another showed the final score of Georgia Tech’s game against the Citadel, and embarrassing upset loss for the Yellowjackets. Other signs also poked fun at Collins’ love for Waffle House, a popular restaurant chain in the south, saying that he left a good football team for Waffle House and a bad football team.
Cherry Crusade member Lauren Jeandell said “When we found out we had this game scheduled this year, we were like we have to do something for this, it’s a huge deal.”
Collins lead the 2018 Owls to a 10-4 regular season record and a trip to the Independence Bowl against Duke. However, not long after it was announced that Temple would compete in the Independence bowl, Collins took a job offer as head coach of Georgia Tech football. After only two seasons in Philadelphia, Collins had been promoted to a Power 5 conference team in his hometown.
While understanding that this was a good move for Collins and his family, Temple fans felt a bit of resentment toward Collins for leaving before a bowl game, especially when it seemed he would coach at Temple for the long run.
Players didn’t show any hard feeling or sense of rivalry toward Collins upon his return. They were more focused on themselves and beating whoever they faced. Referring to Coach Collins, his family, and the coaching staff he took to Georgia tech with, quarterback Anthony Russo told reporters, “You know that was our family for two years so, it’s a little different playing against them but, we have nothing but all the respect in the world for them.”