Second That Emotion

The Temple football team routed Maryland, 38-7, two Saturdays ago for its biggest win in over a decade. Then it appeared flat in a 36-13 home loss to Toledo. Two weeks ago, the Buffalo Bills upset the New England Patriots on the final play. Last week, they lost in similar fashion at Cincinnati. Emotion plays a huge role in sports. It's hard to quantify, but it's there and it's a factor.

The Temple football team routed Maryland, 38-7, two Saturdays ago for its biggest win in over a decade. Then it appeared flat in a 36-13 home loss to Toledo.

Two weeks ago, the Buffalo Bills upset the New England Patriots on the final play. Last week, they lost in similar fashion at Cincinnati.

Emotion plays a huge role in sports. It's hard to quantify, but it's there and it's a factor.

No matter how much players insist before a game they'll have the same focus as the previous week, they don't always. Coming off an emotional high, trap games, they're all real.

"We're going to find out if we get that chip back on our shoulder, if we have our edge," said Temple coach Steve Addazio two days after watching his Owls' listless performance against the Rockets.

"This is going to be one up-tempo rough week at Temple. I hope by the end of the week we have a (ticked)-off football team on every front, because that's who we are. We departed from who we are, and that's not going to happen again. I didn't like our energy, I didn't like our demeanor. There won't be any kumbayas this week, I can tell you that."

The Owls had an attitude against Maryland. They played inspired after a tough loss to Penn State and said they were motivated by being booed and not being given their proper area of the field to warm up. Whatever the inspiration, it showed from the opening play.

Against Toledo, the Owls started to rally back after a slow start but once the Rockets scored late in the first half to take a nine-point lead into the break, Temple never responded.

"I was trying to get guys fired up on sideline and I didn't see that demeanor on everybody, it was kind of flat," said senior center John Palumbo. "Guys got down when we got down. To have a big win like we did against Maryland, you worry about guys getting big heads and taking teams lightly. We knew Toledo would be one of our toughest games of the year, and I don't know if we got that message across."

Addazio is a guy who gets out of bed as if he's already taken three cups of coffee intravenously, so he wasn't ready to buy the premise a letdown during a 12-week regular season is inevitable.

"I think you have to (keep your intensity) and I think what happens, it usually surfaces when you have adversity early, that's when that thing shows up," said Addazio. "You have to be tough and locked in with great leadership and get back over the top. That's going to happen during the season. We didn't handle that well.

"We had a lot of distractions, nickel-and-dime stuff, an indication of a team not locked in. We did not play the same level of football we played the previous four games. Coincidentally, something changed. That's part of the development of a program. All things are learning experiences. You have a problem, we've got to fix it. If for some reason we didn't grab that attention last week, we're going to get it now."

Senior defensive end Adrian Robinson agreed there was something lacking in the Owls' preparation last week.

"We will get this fixed, I know that for certain," he said. "(Practice) wasn't as crisp. I'm ready to move on. As a captain and leader, I will make sure everything is crisp.

"We didn't come out and play the way we usually play. We didn't do what we needed to do and that's why they beat us. We didn't come out the way we needed to come out and that's why we got beat."

While Addazio will be interested to see who competes hard in practice this week, he said it is up to him to turn the tide.

"Ultimately it should always be on me, I'm the head coach here," said Addazio. "It's my responsibility to get this team ready to play at a high level."

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