Temple gearing up for first Big East test

South Florida’s B.J. Daniels ranks third in the Big East in total offense. He is averaging 311 yards per game this season.

No thanks to the schedule maker, newcomer Temple finally gets to make its Big East debut and snap a two-game losing streak Saturday, when the Owls host South Florida at the Linc. Listening to Steve Addazio, they should be careful what they wish for.

“They’ve got great talent and are probably one of the top three teams in the Big East,” said Addazio of South Florida (2-3). “They’re a veteran team with a lot of explosiveness. B.J. Daniels is dynamic. He extends plays. They move him around in the pocket and he has a rocket arm. I remember he gave us fits when I was at Florida.”

Daniels ranks third in the conference, averaging 311 yards in total offense, throwing for nine touchdowns and running for three more. But his seven interceptions and some defensive breakdowns have led to the Bulls’ three-game losing streak, though they did hang with No. 4 Florida State for awhile in last week’s 38-17 loss.

Of greater concern is the fact that Temple has played just three games — two in four weeks — which makes it hard to find a rhythm.

“Right now those teams that have played 4-5 games are hitting their stride,” said Addazio, who had to resort to scrimmages to keep his team sharp. “We’re not close to that. You need those games to work the kinks out. I told our kids the other day, ‘Here we go into Big East Conference play with a chance to go 1-0.  That’s an exciting deal.’ I couldn’t be happier being in the Conference, but you’ve got to bring your  ‘A’ game. Your margin for error is much reduced.”

The Owls’ attack could be further bolstered if transfer Montel Harris, who set an ACC record with 3,735 rushing yards for Boston College, is finally over his nagging hamstring problems.


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