Philadelphia Flyers coach Roger Neilsen should give pep talks to the Miami Hurricanes more often.
Neilsen, who coached the NHL's Florida Panthers before heading north, showed up in No. 24 Miami's locker room before Saturday's game against Temple, offering stirring motivational words and showing a video chock-full of hard checks.
The result was obvious on the field, where the Hurricanes racked up 415 yards and forced the Owls' young, inexperienced offense to fumble six times in a 42-7 Miami romp.
"Excuse my ignorance about hockey, but with all the checking and body-slamming, my kids were 'ooing' and 'aahing' like it was a Dick Butkus highlight," Miami coach Butch Davis said about of the video.
Miami's Edgerrin James racked up enough big plays by the end of the game for his own highlight reel. He rushed for 137 yards and three scores and wasn't even needed after the third quarter with Miami up 35-0.
James Jackson added two touchdowns as Miami (6-2, 4-1 Big East) overcame its own rocky start and a subpar performance by quarterback Scott Covington.
"The coaches had us prepared for Temple," James said. "I got off to a bad start and had some bad reads, but then things started to click."
Miami led 28-0 by halftime and kept the sparse Veterans Stadium crowd quiet throughout the game.
| Edgerrin James (5) and the Hurricanes ran away from Temple Saturday. (AP) |
ThOwls offense struggled from the start behind two freshman quarterbacks. Mac DeVito, who led Temple (2-8, 2-4) last week from a 20-point deficit to a 34-33 victory over Pittsburgh, fumbled three times in the first 14 minutes Saturday.
"It wasn't Miami -- we beat ourselves in the first half," said DeVito, who alternated with Devin Scott throughout the game.
Covington was just 9-OF-19 for 119 yards and two interceptions. But it was Miami's running game which took advantage of Temple's turnovers and broken plays.
"Our defense did the finest job all year in forcing turnovers," Davis said. "We did what we wanted to do."
DeVito's second fumble of the day -- on a keeper up the middle -- led to Miami's first score when James ran 20 yards untouched into the end zone.
"We stepped our game up today," James said. "We know what we have to do to get results."
Temple botched a fake punt on its next possession, when punter Dave Nicholl's pass sailed over the outstretched hands of wide-open Fulton Fryer.
The Hurricanes struck less than a minute later, when Jackson sidestepped through the middle of the Owls' defense for a 20-yard TD run.
Temple coach Bobby Wallace said he called for the fake punt because of Miami's penchant for blocking kicks. The Hurricanes have blocked five this year and 29 during Davis' four years as coach.
"We probably overcoached ourselves ," Wallace said. "We worked on it all week and felt confident it would work, but we were worried about getting a punt blocked."
James added a 12-yard score in the second quarter, then capped a 10-play, 79-yard drive in the third quarter with a 5-yard scoring run to give Miami a 35-0 lead.
Temple's lone touchdown came late in the fourth quarter, when Jerry Butler made a shoestring catch of Scott's 13-yard pass in the end zone. The play ended a 14-play, 99-yard drive.
Miami's Najeh Davenport fumbled the opening kickoff at the 18 and Davenport recovered at the Miami 2. Temple forced the Hurricanes to punt three plays later from the 3.
The owls forced miami to punt on the next possession after Covington faced a heavy rush, nearly getting sacked twice.
The Hurricanes scored touchdowns on six of their next nine possessions. Backup quarterback Kenny Kelly got into the act in the fourth quarter, finding Franks for a 22-yard TD pass.
Even Temple's punting game struggled. On consecutive attempts, Nicholl shanked punts of 11 and 13 yards, then had a kick blocked by Miami's Nick Ward.
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