Reversing Direction

Munchie Legaux

If the Temple football team wants to put itself back on the right track for a fourth straight year of bowl eligibility, it starts on Saturday against Cincinnati. It won't be easy against a Bearcat team that appears to be the No. 2 team in the Big East behind Louisville, which rolled past the Owls, 45-17, a week ago.

If the Temple football team wants to put itself back on the right track for a fourth straight year of bowl eligibility, it starts on Saturday against Cincinnati.

It won't be easy against a Bearcat team that appears to be the No. 2 team in the Big East behind Louisville, which rolled past the Owls, 45-17, a week ago.

But with the exception of a flat performance against Pittsburgh two weeks ago, coach Steve Addazio has liked the way Temple has competed. And if it can compete for the whole game Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field, Addazio believes the Owls have a chance for the upset.

Temple, which is 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the Big East, is trying to stop a three-game losing streak. If a talked-about game against Hawaii doesn't develop at the end of the season, the Owls have to run their last three games starting this week to gain a bowl bid.

"We have to stop imploding a little bit," said Addazio. "We're a handful of plays away from completely different outcomes.

"Cincinnati is in line with the Rutgers and Louisvilles, and we've proven we can exchange blows with those guys, but we have to be consistent. We're looking to see if we can string it together for three or four quarters. We hope this is the week we put together four quarters against a really good team."

The Bearcats are 6-2 overall, 2-1 in the Big East with the only conference loss to Louisville in overtime. Junior quarterback Munchie Legaux has thrown for over 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns, but can turn the ball over and was benched in the middle of last week's game against Syracuse.

Running back George Winn has rushed for 897 yards and seven touchdowns, while on defense linebacker Greg Blair has a Big East-leading 83 tackles along with four pass breakups and two interceptions.

"They play fast," said Addazio. "Munchie makes plays throwing, and he obviously makes plays running. They have outstanding runners."

Since leading Rutgers at the half three games ago, the Owls have been outscored,127-34.

"The scores (recently) are not where I'd like them. I understand it, but I don't like it," said Addazio, citing the team's youth and depth.

"Momma said there'd be days like this and there's days like this right now. But If we can fire like we did against Rutgers and Cincinnati, we'll be in this game."

And if they win the game, the Owls can still dream of a bowl bid.

"We have three games left, we win them, that's six wins, and you play in a bowl," said Addazio. "Can we do it? Yeah, we can do it, but we have to raise our level."

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