The following feature story appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Sept. 30 2010, and was written by Kevin Tatum.
PHILADELPHIA - Army quarterback Trent Steelman was asked Tuesday what he remembers the most about his team's 27-13 loss to Temple last season at Lincoln Financial Field.
"Their defense was probably the hardest-hitting we saw all year," said the 6-foot, 185-pound sophomore from Bowling Green, Ky. "They were big, physical and athletic."
On Saturday, Steelman and his teammates will get to test their toughness against the Owls again. Both teams are 3-1 going into their battle on homecoming at Army's 40,000-seat Michie Stadium.
When Temple visited the Black Knights in 2008, the Owls left West Point with a 35-7 victory. Now, Army is guided by Rich Ellerson, who went 5-7 last fall in his first year as coach of the Black Knights.
"It's going to be packed," Steelman said of the homecoming crowd. "Fans realize that Temple is a good team, and it's going to be a very good atmosphere with a team like Temple coming in."
With Army coming off a 35-21 victory at Duke, and Temple recovering from a 22-13 loss at Penn State that had more than 100,000 Nittany Lions fans feeling antsy, Temple coach Al Golden said facing Army on its home field on homecoming presents special challenges of its own.
The contest is another in a series of tough opponents for Temple, which reached 3-0 with wins over defending Football Championship Subdivision champion Villanova, '09 Mid-American Conference titlist Central Michigan, and Connecticut of the Big East.
"Obviously, it's going to be an excellent environment and a lot of tradition," Golden said. "I'm expecting a sold-out crowd. When you get the Cadets, or the Midshipmen down at Navy, involved, there's a lot of energy. Coming off of last week, it's going to take every ounce of energy, and all the physical, emotional and mental investment we have in this game up there."
As the ringleader for Army's option offense, Steelman has been studied by the Owls.
He is the leading rusher with 205 yards on 57 attempts for a Black Knights team that has thrown the ball only 33 times. No fewer than 10 Army runners have been handed the ball, and the team is eighth in the nation in rushing with 274 yards per game.
But against Duke last week, Steelman struck for his only touchdown passes of the season with 34- and 31-yard scores. He also had a 1-yard run for a score. For the year, Steelman is 17 for 31 passing, with two TDs.
Army calls its offense a spread/triple option. Last season, Steelman became the first freshman quarterback at Army to start an opener since 1944. In all, he made 12 starts, a school record for a freshman.
"It's a privilege to come in and work with the guys we have on this offense," said Steelman. "We have a strong bond and it shows on the field. It takes the pressure off me. Teams have to prepare for the sum of us. But, it all starts with the offensive line and their preparation."
Steelman admitted that last year's loss to Temple still stings. The score was tied, 13-13, going into the fourth quarter. Steelman had 67 yards on 19 carries and threw a 4-yard touchdown pass.
"Last year, that was a game we felt we let get out of our hands," Steelman said. "It's going to bring a little more intensity for us this year."