The Owls never won back-to-back Big East games in their previous 14-year tenure. Then, in 2004, they were unceremoniously asked to leave. So how does Temple actually have a chance to surpass that and retain a share of the conference lead with a win Saturday?
“You just go and battle every week and try to get a win,” said Steve Addazio, whose Owls (3-2 overall, 2-0 Big East) will host unbeaten and No. 19 ranked Rutgers Saturday at the Linc. Temple beat Connecticut 17-14 in overtime last week. “Our kids understand the big picture. But you don’t really sit there and say what happens if you win this game or that game. Then you start riding the roller coaster.”
Knocking off South Florida, followed by UConn, has put the Owls in the same rarified air as No. 16 Louisville and No. 21 Cincinnati — both are on their schedule in the next four weeks. No wonder Addazio’s downplaying this one. This could be their biggest crowd — excluding Penn State games — since moving to the Linc.
“I want Philadelphia to come alive,” urged Addazio, who has a number of New Jersey natives spurned by Rutgers. “We’re playing a ranked team, coming off a couple of victories. It will be an exciting day at the Linc.”
Temple will need freshman linebacker sensation Tyler Matakevich, (19 tackles vs. UConn), running back Montel Harris (142 yards rushing, touchdown), and kicker Brandon McManus (three-time Big East special teams Player of the Week) to come up big, if they expect to win.
Ready for Big East’s newest turf battle?
With Pittsburgh and West Virginia flying the coop, this weekend could provide the first glimpse of the Big East’s best rivalry: Temple vs. Rutgers.
The two are geographically close (separated by just 60 miles) and may be the most established programs left, with Syracuse and Connecticut also set to depart. Add in to the equation that Temple and Rutgers (6-0) play in two huge media markets, and step on each other’s toes for recruits, and you might have the makings of something special.
Saturday will mark the 35th meeting between Temple and Rutgers, but first since 2004. The Owls own a 9-6 record in the series when it’s played in Philadelphia; Rutgers leads the overall series,