In 2004, West Virginia running back Kay-Jay Harris set the Big East rushing record with 337 yards against East Carolina. On Saturday, his record was broken by a Temple (4-6) running back with the same surname.
Montel Harris raced past his Mountaineer counterpart’s record, rushing for 351 yards and seven touchdowns (also a Big East record) in a win against Army.
“It was a great performance, great achievement,” Harris said. “The O-line blocked up [the] defensive line and linebackers well, gave me some running lanes.”
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While Harris’s huge day led to the win, he did not start of the game as the primary ball carrier. Matt Brown had given the Owls 71 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter before leaving the game with an injury. That’s when Harris knew it had to be his day.
“[Brown] said ‘You gotta pick it up, its all on you now,’ ” Harris said. “He’s always picking me up, encouraging me and we’re best friends on and off the field. Whenever you have a big player go down, you always try to step up to fill his shoes and that’s what I was trying to do.”
Coach Steve Addazio was impressed with the team’s performance as a whole and gushed about the performance of Harris and the Temple offensive line.
“Obviously offensive line blocked really well today,” Addazio said. “I thought we knocked them off the ball I thought there were great holes in there and I thought [Harris] 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.”
What makes the performance even more impressive is the fact that Harris, who was himself coming off an injury, barely practiced heading into the game.
“Our goal is to always run the ball well and to have a great game but I didn’t see this coming,” Harris said. “It was just a helmet to the knee, nothing really serious.”
Health concerns have plagued the Owls all season, and injuries to offensive focal points like Harris and Brown are just another hurdle Addazio’s team has had to overcome.
“Its been on of those years, man, one of those years with the injuries here but, what are you gonna do?” Addazio said.
Regardless of the records, Addazio was just happy to get the win. A performance like the Owls put on against Army will be huge for the team’s confidence moving forward, Addazio said.
“We needed that game,” said Addazio. “We needed to play like that and we did and I’m real proud of our team. “
Cincinnati (7-3, 3-2 Big East)
• Quarterback Brandon Kay tossed two interceptions and the Bearcat offense failed to rush for at least 100 yards as Cincinnati was beat by Rutgers.
• For the first time this season, Cincinnati failed to score a touchdown. The primary culprit in trying to move the ball: finishing only 3 for 11 on third downs. The Bearcats had not been held out of the end zone since playing the Scarlet Knights in 2011.
Next Game: vs. South Florida Nov. 23
Connecticut (4-6, 1-4 Big East)
• The Huskies are coming off their first Big East win as well as their best offensive performance in four weeks. After an extended bye week, coach Paul Pasqualoni hopes his team can get some much-needed rest while at the same time keeping up the momentum as they prepare for Louisville.
“We’ve got some guys a little banged up so we’ve got an open week this week [Week 13] which might be a good thing,” Pasqualoni said. “You never know as a coach, sometimes when you play a good game sometimes you like to get right back you know, to it casue you never really know in an open week exactly how [the players] are gonna respond.”
Next Game: vs. Louisville Nov. 24
No. 19 Louisville (9-1, 4-1 Big East)
• The Cardinals had an extra week to think about their first loss of the season, one that sent them tumbling down nine spots in the BCS rankings. All season coach Charlie Strong has emphasized the big picture with his team and he continues to do so as Louisville prepares for another conference matchup with Connecticut.
Next Game: vs. Connecticut Nov. 24
Pittsburgh (4-6, 1-4 Big East)
• The Panthers get a break this week as they continue their up-and-down season. Consistency has been hard to come by all year as Pitt has yet to put together more than two consecutive wins. So many time the Panthers have been close, losing three of their last four games by a combined 13 points.
“A play here or there does make a difference but you have to learn to make those plays,” coach Paul Chryst said of his team’s shortcomings in close games.
• The Panthers will need to win both remaining games in order to reserve a spot in the postseason.
Next Game: vs. Rutgers Nov. 24
No. 21 Rutgers (9-1, 5-0 Big East)
• On a day when the offense struggled, the Scarlet Knight defense returned to form, forcing two turnovers and holding an offense that averaged 31.1 points per game to only a field goal.
• While quarterback Gary Nova and leading rusher Jawan Jamison were ineffective, backup running back Savon Huggins had a career day running the football, racking up 179 yards.
Next Game: vs. Pittsburgh Nov. 24
South Florida (3-7, 1-4 Big East)
• The Bulls were ineffective against Miami (Fla.), turning the ball over three times, scoring zero touchdowns and going only 3 of 14 on third downs.
• Bobby Eveld got the start at quarterback after a two-week competition, and went 3 for 8 for 29 yards before leaving the game with a shoulder injury in the first quarter. Freshman Matt Floyd replaced him, finishing 20 for 35 for 175 yards and two interceptions.
Next Game: vs. Cincinnati Nov. 23
Syracuse (6-5, 4-2 Big East)
• The Orange became bowl eligible after winning a shootout at Missouri. Quarterback Ryan Nassib torched the Mizzou defense for 385 yards and two touchdowns, the second to win the game with 20 seconds left. Nassib is now Syracuse’s career passing yard leader with 8,845 yards.
• Receiver Alec Lemon continued his record-breaking year, wracking up a career-high 244 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Next Game: vs. Temple Nov. 23
Temple (4-6, 2-4 Big East)
• The Owl offense exploded for a school-record 63 points and 565 yards against Army as Montel Harris broke the Big East single-game rushing record. It was also within 60 yards of LaDanian Tomlinson’s FBS single-game rushing mark.
• The win snapped a four-game loosing streak and tied the Owls’ largest margin of victory this season.
Next Game: vs. Syracuse Nov. 23
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