Gridiron Report: Few happy memories at the Linc for Owls

When the Owls take the field Saturday for the final time under Bobby Wallace, don’t expect the coach to get very emotional. When he leaves at the end of the season, Wallace says, he’ll forever be a fan of Temple, where he spent eight season as head coach. But two years at Lincoln Financial Field were not enough time for him to form any affectionate memories involving the building.

In almost three seasons playing their home games at the Linc, the Owls have won two games.

“Nothing [is] different other than just trying to win the game,” Wallace said Tuesday at his weekly media luncheon. “I don’t have a lot of emotional thoughts about Lincoln Financial Field because we haven’t won there. We’ve won two games since it’s opened, so for me to have any unusual feelings, I don’t.”

The only memories that immediately came to mind for Wallace were two victories over Syracuse, once at Veterans Stadium in 2002 and one last year.

A victory over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday would mark only the Owls’ third home win as tenants of the Linc. Miami, champions of the Mid-American Conference East Division the past two years, do not appear poised to let that happen.

The Owls (0-8) remained winless last Saturday with a 37-7 loss at Clemson. The Tigers scored on all but one of their five redzone scoring opportunities and maligned Temple’s offensive line for six sacks, the most the Owls have given up this season.

The Owls’ defense also hemorrhaged 514 yards of total offense, the most the unit has given up since Week 1 at Arizona State.

The RedHawks (4-3, 3-2 in the MAC), meanwhile, survived a choppy early season and are in the midst of probably one of the easiest stretches in the country. Since dropping three of their first five games, the RedHawks are coming off wins over Akron (3-4) and Eastern Michigan (3-5), and next week they host Buffalo (0-7).

That’s not the resume of a team that will be overly sympathetic to the Owls’ situation. But then again, Wallace didn’t seem to think there was any reason for sympathy.

“I’ll have a more unusual feeling about coaching my last game at Temple, because I have more feelings for Temple than I do the stadium,” Wallace said. “There’s nothing wrong with the stadium, it’s just that we haven’t had any great moments there besides beating Syracuse, really.”

Still, with a prime opportunity against Western Michigan wasted, Miami may present the Owls’ latest best chance to avoid a winless 2005 campaign.

After losing to Ohio State, 34-14, to open the season, Miami played six teams with combined records of 18-25. Maybe the RedHawks could be lulled into a comfort zone and be caught unaware?

Maybe not. Miami coach Shane Montgomery said the RedHawks’ senior leadership kept the team afloat even after an 0-2 start.

“I think our confidence is back to where we’re playing some pretty good football right now,” Montgomery said. “With the experience the seniors have, I think they’ve helped keep the positive attitude around here that we needed.” #

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