Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Harris reflects on record performance
By Matt Fortuna
Montel Harris played plenty of video games growing up, particularly the "Madden" and the "NCAA Football" series. Like most kids, he would often pad his stats with digital players who do not feel the repercussions of their efforts during the next time out.
On Saturday, Harris rushed for 351 yards and seven touchdowns. With a football, not a joystick.
"Actually, my real-life numbers exceeded my [video game] football numbers," Harris told ESPN.com, laughing. "But I had some crazy numbers before, but never 351, seven touchdowns."
Temple's Montel Harris rushed for 351 yards and seven touchdowns against Army.
With one game left in Temple's season, Harris' five-year career will come to a close Saturday. His historic effort against Army lifted him from fifth to first on the Big East's rushing list this season, with 948 yards and 12 touchdowns. Both his rushing yards and rushing scores against the Black Knights were Big East single-game records, and the day marked his 26th career 100-yard performance, the most among active FBS players.
Not bad for a guy who didn't even practice last week because of a knee injury.
"It wasn't too much of a doubt," Harris said of playing. "It was just trying to get all the way back to 100 percent, trying to keep my legs fresh. It was just how effective I was going to be, how many reps I was going to get. But I was feeling pretty good toward the end of the week."
Then Matt Brown, who has been bothered by an ankle injury for more than a month, hurt his hamstring and had to exit after scoring two touchdowns.
"Montel had to carry the load, and he was just phenomenal," coach Steve Addazio said. "He just played with such toughness and passion for the game. I said, 'You've got to go the distance on this thing.' And he said, 'There's no question I'm going the distance.' And he had a career day, a Big East career day, a personal career day, a Temple University career day. But I think the offensive line and tight ends and fullbacks are all a big part of that."
Harris went out of his way to credit his line as well, saying that he was able to go untouched on several long touchdown runs, including a 60-yarder and two separate 37-yarders.
His total yardage was good for 15th-best in FBS history, and Addazio called it the most dominant performance he'd ever seen from a running back.
Harris, who came to Temple this summer after leaving BC because of an undisclosed violation of team rules, had a 264-yard, five-touchdown day with the Eagles in 2009.
He thought that contest would take the cake.
"I definitely never envisioned this," Harris said. "Back at Boston College when I had the five touchdowns and 200 yards, I didn't think it would get any better than that. Then coming to Temple and putting this performance together, I didn't see it coming."