Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 5:32 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
TEMPLE WON. The Owls jumped out a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter and never looked back, relying on their constricting defense and bruising rushing attack to wear down Wyoming for a 37-15 victory in the New Mexico Bowl.
HOW TEMPLE WON: Temple established the tone on the very first drive of the game. Running back Bernard Pierce carried the ball eight times on a 13 play touchdown drive that totaled 90 yards and lasted nearly half of the opening quarter. Pierce continued to be the focal point of the Owls offense, rushing 25 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Temple's defense also lived up to their national ranking, holding Wyoming to 267 yards of total offense (most of that late in the game) and picking off MWC Freshman of the Year Brett Smith three times.
WHEN TEMPLE WON: With time winding down in the second quarter, Smith led Wyoming on an impressive touchdown drive to cut Temple's lead to 21-7 with just 37 seconds left before halftime. The Cowboys were set to receive the opening kickoff in the third quarter, and momentum appeared to be swinging back in their direction. But the Owls delivered a swift and punishing answer as wide receiver Rod Streater slipped behind the secondary for a 61 yard catch-and-run touchdown. Wyoming entered halftime deflated, and the Cowboys never regained control of the game.
WHAT TEMPLE WON: After three crushing four-point losses, Temple delivered one last time on the big stage to cap a strong first season for head coach Steve Addazio. The Owls 9-win season matches their best finish since joining the MAC, a credit to Addazio's staff for keeping this talented bunch on track after Al Golden's departure. It was also the second bowl win in program history, the first since 1979.
WHAT WYOMING LOST: Dave Christensen did agree in principle to a contract extension before the game, so Saturday's loss wasn't ALL bad for the Cowboys. It was a rough performance for Brett Smith, who will likely try to use this game as motivation as he returns to lead Wyoming next season.
BOWL GRADE: C-minus. It was football, and we were happy to be watching. But the sleepy second half and Brett Smith's inability to create the big play eliminated much of the intrigue in this matchup. Props to the Owls for the W, but this one won't make anyone's Top 10 list at the end of the postseason.
THAT WAS CRAZY: The ESPN cameras caught a Wyoming fan wearing very little but a barrel. Thanks to help from Adam Kramer, of Kegs 'N Eggs, we discovered the backstory behind this passionate Cowboys fan.
How many experts picked the Owls to take care of business on Saturday? Check out the entire slate of selections at the Expert's Bowl Picks.
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Tags: Bernard Pierce, Bowl Game Quick Hits, Bowl Games, Bowl Picks, Bowl Predictions, Bowl Projections, Bowl Schedule, Brett Smith, Chip Patterson, Chris Coyer, Dave Christensen, MAC, MWC, New Mexico Bowl, New Mexico Bowl Results, New Mexico Bowl Scores, New Mexico Bowl Summary, Non-BCS, Quick Hits, Rod Streater, Steve Addazio, Temple, Wyoming