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Temple coach to face his mentor as Owls meet UConn

STORRS, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni remembers when he and Temple's Steve Addazio would paint the lines on the football field before a game and wash the players' uniforms after it.

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That was in the mid-1980s, when Pasqualoni was the head coach at Western Connecticut and hired Addazio to his first assistant coaching job.

``His guys always played hard,'' Pasqualoni said. ``You didn't have to worry about his position not knowing what to do or not playing hard or not acting the right way. He took great pride in that and you could see that certainly at every stop he's made. It was clear the Steve was going to be a very good coach.''

Addazio, a Connecticut native who also worked for Pasqualoni at Syracuse and coached his former high school team in Cheshire, will meet his mentor on the field for the first time as a head coach Saturday when he brings the Owls (2-2, 1-0 Big East) into East Hartford to face the Huskies (3-3, 0-1).

``Much of the way I approach things came from Coach Pasqualoni,'' Addazio said this week. ``Obviously we are two different people, but fundamentally there are some real core beliefs in there that I learned and adapted from him.''

It is homecoming week at UConn, but Addazio said he's not spending a lot of time reminiscing. Temple is coming off a big win over South Florida in its first game since returning to the Big East. A win at UConn would give the Owls their first road win of the season and its first ever back-to-back wins in conference play.

``I don't care who we're playing, I don't care where we are playing,'' Addazio said. ``I want to win a football game. I want our program to be 2-0 in the Big East. That's what I want, and I can't see anything but that right now.''

Connecticut is looking to stay above .500 and get its offense untracked after a disappointing 19-3 loss at Rutgers. The Huskies are ranked sixth in the nation in total defense, giving up just over 82 yards per game on the ground and 166 through the air. But they're putting up just under 20 points a game, and are ranked 110th in the nation in offense.

Tailback Lyle McCombs said the entire offense is embarrassed by that.

``We have such a great defense who fights and claws and gives us opportunities to win and we're just not capitalizing,'' he said. ``It's frustrating, but we just have to keep pushing through it, stay positive, so we can hold up our end of this.''

The Huskies also need to hold onto the football. UConn ranks 110th in the nation in turnover margin, while Temple ranks 10th.

``I can't play afraid or anything like that,'' said UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer, who threw four interceptions at Rutgers and has 10 on the season. ``But I also have to, when we're down in games, not force things.''

McCombs is expected to start Saturday after sitting out a quarter against Rutgers following a fight with his girlfriend that led to an on-campus arrest on a breach of peace charge. He also spent part of this week with a soft cast on a sprained left wrist suffered in the Rutgers loss.

Temple's top rusher, Matt Brown, suffered an ankle injury last week, but is also expected to play. Boston College transfer Montel Harris, coming off a hamstring injury, picked up the rushing load against South Florida, running for 133 yards in the win.

The Owls also had some legal problems off the field and will be without defensive tackle Kamal Johnson who was suspended and faces charges including kidnapping after a Sept. 27 incident involving his girlfriend. The school said Johnson will not practice or play while the charges are pending.

Temple owns an 8-4 record against UConn and beat the Huskies the last time the two programs met in 2010 in Philadelphia.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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