Owls face Mountaineers, nation’s second leading rusher

Now the attention shifts from stopping the two headed monster of Virginia Tech’s Suggs and Jones to stopping the nations number two runner in West Virginia’s Avon Cobourne. The West Virginia Mountaineers (5-3, 2-2) led

Now the attention shifts from stopping the two headed monster of Virginia Tech’s Suggs and Jones to stopping the nations number two runner in West Virginia’s Avon Cobourne.

The West Virginia Mountaineers (5-3, 2-2) led by second-year head coach and 1986 WVU graduate Rich Rodriguez, are coming to the Vet this Saturday following a moral victory last week in a 40-23 loss to number one Miami.

Cobourne rushed for 175 yards and a score.

For the year Cobourne, a Cherry Hill, NJ native, has rushed for 1,177 yards on 212 carries, and has ran for 10 touchdowns.

This has capped off an amazing career for the senior who has rushed for a West Virginia record 4,361 yards, and a Big East record of 25 100-yard games.

The Owls 21st nationally and third-ranked Big East rushing defense that gives up 108.9 yards per game, will have their collective hands full with the nations and Big East number one rushing offense and running back that runs for an amazing 305.8 yards per game.

“We go from the team that leads the nation in rushing defense, to the team that leads the nation in rushing offense,” fifth-year Temple coach Bobby Wallace said.

“They have an outstanding and athletic quarterback (Rasheed Marshall) who had a great game last week.

“Of course they also have Avon Cobourne, who is coming back home, basically, to Philadelphia. I know he’ll be excited about having family and friends here. He’s one of the great running backs. The Big East is loaded with tailbacks this year, and he leads them all. We have are hands full.”

This matchup will put spread offense verses spread offense and big runner verses big runner in Temple’s senior running back Tarnardo Sharps.

Sharps is coming off a hard fought game where he ran for only 38 yards on 17 attempts, his worst output of the season.

Sharps led the charge in a 17-14 win last season at Morgantown, carrying the ball 22 times for 172 yards.

The thrilling win snapped a 10-game losing-streak to the Mountaineers.

Turnovers will play a huge part if Temple wants to build a streak against WVU.

This year the Owls have turned the ball over 20 times including three interceptions last week by quarterback Mike McGann.

All three interceptions McGann threw where in Virginia Tech territory including a back breaker at the 5-yard line.

West Virginia has forced 21 turnovers, and has a +9 turnover margin.

Only Virginia Tech’s +13 is better in the Big East.

The Owls turnover margin is –2, with McGann throwing 14 interceptions.

The Owls offense will have to protect the ball better and take advantage of turnovers the defense causes, something they didn’t do last week.

“From a mental standpoint our kids believe they can play with anyone in the country, ” Wallace said.

“They have proven that this year. The whole seasons boils down to this month of November, and they teams we will be playing will also be positioning themselves for a bowl game, and I don’t see us as any different.”

The November will begin this weekend, with four remaining Big East contests the Owls need to win, or they can kiss their bowl hopes goodbye.

Game Notes: Proceeding Temple big game against Big East foe West Virginia will be a game that will be a contest for the ages, as the Philadelphia Police department and the Philadelphia Fire Fighters will face off in a touch football game on the Vet’s turf.

The contest will not only be a chance for the community to thank these individuals, but portions of the proceeds will benefit the Hero Scholarship fund.

This scholarship was built for the families of fallen or disabled police or firemen and to help send their children to college.

The “Battle of the Badge” game will showcase an eight-on-eight scrimmage covering 80-yards of the football field.

Both the Fire Fighters and Police are looking forward to finally reach out the community and feel honored to demonstrate it with Temple Athletics.

“Temple Athletics are proud to be a part of what we hope will be a brand new tradition,” Associate Athletic Director Don Haskin said.

“There’s nothing more Philadelphia than cops, fire fighters and Temple University. We’re looking forward to a great game and a great crowd.”

Matt Sitkoff can be reached at Phil14367@aol.com.

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