While thousands of “Black Friday” shoppers jam their way into the stores the morning after Thanksgiving, record-setting back Montel Harris and Temple will take the field at the Linc for the final time to face Syracuse.
Or is it? While the odds are stacked against Steve Addazio’s Owls (4-6), there remains the slim possibility a victory over the Orange (6-5), coupled with a number of other circumstances, could vault Temple into the Bowl picture. Even with a losing record.
At least that’s what Harris (351 yards, seven touchdowns vs. Army last week) is pinning his hopes on.
“Not much needs be said,” said Harris, who needs 58 yards to reach 1,000 in limited playing time. “We know if we win the game we still have a chance to make it to a Bowl game. That was our goal at the beginning of the year. Knowing our goal is still there for us the last game is big for us, we know it’s not going to be easy.”
Forgetting the fact that other than UCLA last year — granted a special waiver to be Bowl eligible despite a 6-7 record — there’s no precedent on the Owls’ side. Led by NFL bound quarterback Ryan Nassib, Temple faces a challenge beating a Syracuse team that handed then-No. 9 ranked Louisville its only loss, 45-26.
Harris, who rushed for 3,735 yards and 27 touchdowns at Boston College, before transferring to Temple for medical reasons, just wishes he and Matt Brown had been healthy at the same time. Brown has been slowed by a nagging ankle sprain.
“It’s been real frustrating we’ve been injured at different times,” said Harris. “It would’ve been hard defending both of us at the same time. But it never happened.”
A victory would allow Temple to keep practicing until the bids are announced next week. There are 35 Bowl games scheduled and 63 teams have qualified for 70 spots. In 2010, the Owls (8-4) were the only team with a winning record denied. “It’s a chance to extend our season,” said Addazio, once a Syracuse assistant. “That’s our message to the kids.”