Saturday, December 17, 2011
Instant analysis: Temple 37, Wyoming 15
By Matt Fortuna
Bowl season kicked off with Temple capping one of the best seasons in school history in a 37-15 win Saturday over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, N.M. Here's how it went down:
Turning point: Chris Coyer hit Rod Streater for a 61-yard touchdown pass to give Temple a 28-7 lead with 19 seconds left in the first half. The play came just 18 seconds after Brett Smith and Josh Doctson hooked up for a 21-yard score to get Wyoming on the board and perhaps give the Cowboys some momentum heading into the second half. No dice, as the Owls immediately responded. As a consolation, Wyoming did get possibly the most entertaining extra point of the season, as Daniel Sullivan's kick hit both uprights before falling through for the Cowboys' seventh point of the game.
Stat of the game: Temple rushed for 255 yards and did not turn the ball over. That was key for the Owls, who entered the game with the nation's No. 7 rushing attack. Wyoming, meanwhile, did little to improve its 115th-ranked rush defense, which entered the game giving up more than 230 yards on the ground per game.
Player of the game: In what may have been his final collegiate game, Bernard Pierce rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. The junior carried it 10 times on Temple's first two series, which both finished with him in the end zone. Coyer deserves plenty of credit as well, as he completed 8 of 12 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown while adding 70 rushing yards on just 12 carries.
What it means: The winningest senior class in Temple history notched the program's second-ever bowl win and the Owls' first in 32 years since they won the Garden State Bowl in 1979. Coach Steve Addazio received a Gatorade shower for his team's performance. The Owls finished the season with nine wins, including the last four in a row. Temple is -- at the moment, at least -- the most stable college football program in the state of Pennsylvania, and the Owls have tons of momentum heading into Year 2 of the Addazio era.