"It's one game. It doesn't mean we're all set now. We'll have our ups and downs. We know going on the road is going to be very difficult. We have to get back to work to maintain a level of consistency. That's my job. You have to learn to ride through the peaks and the valleys. You have to be a responder. Because all kinds of things are going to happen to a team during a season. I just think it's all about mental toughness, the ability to stick together and count on each other. We talked about crossing the line. We don't have everything perfect. Sometimes we're better than others. But we'll never stop."
The Owls were picked to finish last. That might not happen. But how high is up? Winning six times would be an obvious accomplishment. That means they'd have to go 4-3 the rest of the way. And they still have three unbeatens left: Rutgers, Louisville and Cincinnati. They do get two of them at home. Their other remaining games are at Pitt (2-3, 0-2), at Army (1-4) and here against Syracuse (2-3, 1-0). So who knows? But a win this week would go a long way toward making it seem less implausible.
"Obviously we're very excited about the win," said Addazio, a Connecticut native whose career began in 1985 at Western Connecticut State under current UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni, whom he would also later work for at Syracuse. "We wanted to put it on the line with no guarantees. The kids learned there can be a little fruit to your labor. That can build some confidence. That's what we hope can happen for us.
"We have to be a fighting team, go after every inch we can. That's who we are. Hopefully the learning curve is on a good angle going up for us, knowing that along the way there's going to be some adversity."
And it always could be lurking around the next road trip.
Through spokesperson Ray Betzner, Temple's assistant vice president for communications, the university issued a statement about Kamal Johnson, the fourth-year junior defensive lineman who missed the USF game after being arrested for kidnapping and other related charges for an incident involving his girlfriend, another Temple student. "Considering all the circumstances," it read, "we deem it in the best interests of everyone involved that Mr. Johnson should not practice or compete with the football team until this situation is resolved. In doing so, we emphasize that we are not making a determination about his guilt or innocence - that is for the justice system. His status as a student and his scholarship status has not changed. The university will continue to monitor the situation. When the charges are resolved or if cirumstances otherwise change, the university will consider the matter further." Johnson, whose bail was set at $25,000, has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Oct. 23 . . . Montel Harris was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 133 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns against USF. Linebacker Tyler Matakevich, a true freshman getting his first start, was also named to the five-man conference honor roll for having a career-best 15 tackles.
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