Owls focus on not falling for trap

Posted: September 07, 2011

Temple will tell you that Akron - not Penn State - has its attention.

The Owls (1-0) realize they're expected to destroy the Zips (0-1) in Saturday's Mid-American Conference opener at InfoCision Stadium.

They're also aware that a victory over No. 23 Penn State, on Sept. 17 at Lincoln Financial Field, would bring national recognition to a program on the rise.

So, it's human nature to look past an Akron team Temple beat by a combined 113-23 score over the last three seasons, right?

"I couldn't care less about Penn State, right now," Temple coach Steve Addazio said Tuesday. "I can't wait to get out to practice today and get ready for Akron.

"I hope that we've done a good job of instilling that in our team."

Addazio is a realist, though. He knows that no matter what he's says about Akron being a tough opponent, some players won't listen.

"But we are going to be saying it pretty forcefully," he said. "If a guy is thinking about something other than Akron today, it is going to be a rough deal."

In Akron, the Owls face a team that lost to Ohio State, 42-0, on Saturday.

That marked the Zips' 12th setback in their last 13 games played. Akron's last winning season came in 2005 when it finished 7-6 and won the MAC championship.

Since then, the Zips have gone, 18-43.

But ...

"There's no way you can overlook this team," said Temple center John Palumbo, whose squad won the last four series meetings. "This is a really dangerous team, a program on the rise.

"We have to bring our A game to beat them."

Addazio feels Akron shouldn't get judged by its lopsided loss to No. 15 Ohio State.

"I feel like this is a trap game," the coach said."You are going on the road and playing a team in their home stadium. This is a proud football program. They are going to play their tale off in this game.

"We simply are just a new program fighting for respect right now. We haven't done anything."

Notes. Thought it's only through one game, Temple free safety Kevin Kroboth leads the nation with two interceptions. Tailback Bernard Pierce ranks fifth in scoring (18 points) and eighth in rushing (147 yards). Linebacker Tahir Whitehead is sixth in tackles for a loss (three), while quarterback Mike Gerardi is ninth in pass efficiency (201.70).

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939, kpompey@phillynews.com, or @pompeysgridlock on Twitter. Read his blog "Owls Inq," at www.philly.com/owlsinq. View the videos "Owls Insider with Steve Addazio," at www.philly.com/Owlsinsider

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