Montel Harris Leads Temple To First Big East Win Since 2004
Temple won its first Big East game in eight years on Saturday. Head coach Steve Addazio said it was his most emotional victory since coming to the Owls. He can thank Montel Harris for that success.
For the first time this year, the running back looked like the star he was at Boston College, rushing 24 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns. A sore hamstring limited Harris’ effectiveness in the team’s first three games, but he put on his best performance in an Owls uniform on Saturday. “I didn’t get a chance to show Temple fans how well I could play, so I was just glad I was able to come out today and run the ball well and get a win,” he said after the game,
Temple ran on 71 percent of its plays, and needed big games from Harris and his fellow back, Matt Brown, who rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries before leaving early in the fourth quarter with an injury. Harris, finally healthy, took the majority of the carries and responded to the workload. It was his 23rd career 100-yard rushing game, which ranks first among active college football players. The Jacksonville native racked up 22 of those 100-yard games at Boston College where he was the main back for three years. The BC coaching staff dismissed him in May after repeated violations of team rules.
Despite Harris’ heroics, the game wasn’t over until Temple blocked a South Florida field goal with a little more than a minute remaining. On the next play, the Owls’ running back took off down the right side of the field, a 35-yard scamper that put the game out of reach.
“It was a great team effort. The O-line was blocking [and] opened up some holes. [I] was able to run hard and get yards. We’re not a team that will roll over. We’re gonna come here and play, and our goal is too get to the Orange Bowl,” Harris said afterwards.
If Harris stays healthy all season, I expect Temple to be near the top in its first season back in the Big East. The team is very young, but Harris brings senior leadership that the Owls need from their best offensive player. He is a proven talent and replaces Baltimore Ravens draft pick Bernard Pierce.