On The Record

Montel Harris re-wrote the Temple record book

The intrigue leading into Temple's football game at Army on Saturday involved how Juice Granger would do in his first start at quarterback for the Owls. It turns out the best thing Granger did in his debut was hand the ball to Montel Harris. The senior running back set Temple school records of 351 yards and seven touchdowns as the Owls rolled past the Black Knights, 63-32.

The intrigue leading into Temple's football game at Army on Saturday involved how Juice Granger would do in his first start at quarterback for the Owls.

It turns out the best thing Granger did in his debut was hand the ball to Montel Harris.

The senior running back set Temple school records of 351 yards and seven touchdowns as the Owls snapped a four-game losing streak by rolling past the Black Knights, 63-32. Temple also established a school record with 534 rushing yards and tied its best ever output of 63 points.

The Owls improved to 4-6 on the season heading into Friday's finale against Syracuse. Army dropped to 2-9.

Harris, who carried 36 times, had three 1-yard touchdown runs, a 2-yard score, a pair of 37-yard scampers and a 60-yard run. Five of the runs came on five consecutive possessions.

"It was a great performance, a great achievement, the offensive line blocked the defensive line and linebackers up well, gave me some running lanes," said Harris. "I just appreciate the O-line, it's a blessing to have a record like that.

"Towards the end when I needed like 10 more yards, they were telling me go get 10 yards and I was able to do that."

Harris nipped the previous single-game rushing total set by Temple great Paul Palmer, who had 349 against East Carolina in 1986. The seven rushing touchdowns eclipsed Bernard Pierce's five scores against Maryland a year ago.

Overall, the teams combined for a ridiculous 941 rushing yards and just 119 passing yards.

Quarterback Trent Steelman ran for 139 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries for the Black Knights, while Larry Dixon added 106 yards on nine carries and Raymond Maples ran 15 times for 94 yards.

Granger threw just four passes, completing two for 31 yards, but he added to the rushing outburst with 85 yards on nine carries.

"Obviously we went out there today and ran the heck out of the football," said Temple coach Steve Addazio. "I thought we went out there and made a statement, our guys played hard. We needed that game, we needed to play like that and we did and I'm real proud of our team.

"This win was big for us because it was a statement win, a statement that we're still fighting, and the team has a lot of fight left in it."

Kicker Brandon McManus also broke the school record for career points, set by Pierce last year. He has 330 points in his career after kicking nine extra points.

Matt Brown, who had his own career day at Michie Stadium two years, scored Temple's first two touchdowns in helping to build a 14-0 lead. But Brown, who has been banged up for most of his senior season, left with an injury after accumulating 71 yards on just four carries.

"Whenever you have a big player go down, you know you have to step it up and that's just what I was trying to do," said Harris. "The offensive line picked it up, we all knew we had to pick it up with Matt down and that's what we did."

Addazio agreed Harris took on the responsibility to carry the team once Brown was lost for the game.

"Obviously the offensive line blocked really well today. I thought we knocked them off the ball, I thought there was great holes in there. I thought he also, when there wasn't, he bulled his way and twisted his way and drove his way for those extra yards on those scores.

"He just ran really hard. He was a little tentative early, and then of course Matt (Brown) came whipping out of there and Matt went down, so Montel said ‘I'm ready to roll, I'm good, I'm good.'"

He wasn't just good. He was better for one day than any back that had come before him.

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