Harris sparks Temple

Montel Harris has been a load to bring down all season for opposing defenses.

The trivia question answers are LaDainian Tomlinson with 406 and Howard Griffith with eight.

Those are the records Temple’s Montel Harris came close to either matching or surpassing Saturday when he rushed for 351 yards and scored seven touchdowns in the Owls’ 63-32 rout of Army at West Point. The kid from Jacksonville, who set all kinds of records in three years at Boston College, before being forced to redshirt last season due to an injury, then being allowed to play immediately after transferring, was simply too much for the Cadets.

In the process he rewrote the Temple record book, breaking Paul Palmer’s 1986 mark of 349, while his seven scores shattered the five posted by backs Sherman Myers (1979) and Bernard Pierce (2011) and receiver Jim Callahan (1966).

The 4-6 Owls snapped a four game losing streak by equaling the 63 points they scored in 1973.  New signal caller Clinton “Juice” Granger did little but hand the ball to Harris and his running mates, enabling Temple to amass a school record 534 yards. Granger did have a couple of distinctions of his own as his five passing attempts and three completions were the fewest ever for the Owls.

But the day belonged to Harris, who like any good back, gave most of the credit to his offensive line while moving within striking distance of the records set by Tomlinson for TCU in 1999 and Illinois’ Griffith in 1990.

“At BC my record was five,” said Harris, who now has 948 yards on 165 carries with 12 touchdowns for Temple, after compiling 3,735 yards and 27 scores on 786 for the Golden Eagles. “To beat that by two I’m speechless.

“I’m just determined. I don’t like being stopped short, especially at goal line.”

Almost certainly, Harris and the Owls will be stopped after hosting Syracuse Friday.  With a proposed 12th game at Hawaii Dec. 7 falling through last week, the best they can do is finish 5-6. Playing in the rugged Big East, that probably won’t be enough to earn them a bowl bid.


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