Photo courtesy of Temple Athletics
NCAA FOOTBALL BOWLS PAGE
(Sports Network) - Bernard Pierce ran for 100 yards and two scores as the Temple Owls won their first bowl game in 32 years with a 37-15 win over the Wyoming Cowboys in the New Mexico Bowl.
The Owls last won a bowl game in 1979 when they defeated Cal, 28-17, in the Garden State Bowl.
Chris Coyer ran for 71 yards and Matt Brown added 49 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Owls (9-4), who ran over 200 yards for the eighth straight game. They finished the contest with 255 yards on the ground.
Coyer also threw for 169 yards and a score, Rod Streater hauled in a 61-yard touchdown and Evan Rodriguez caught two balls for 52 yards.
Brett Smith threw for 127 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, and ran for 65 yards for the Cowboys (8-5), who defeated Fresno State 35-28 in double overtime in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl.
Temple, which was snubbed out of a bowl bid last season after going 8-4, took control early and scored touchdowns on each of its first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead.
The Owls rolled the dice on their opening possession, going for a 4th-and-1 from their own 43-yard line. Pierce picked up the yard and Coyer found a streaking Rodriguez over the middle for a 40-yard gain down to Wyoming's 11- yard line on the very next play. Pierce plunged in from a yard out three plays later to conclude the 13-play, 90-yard opening march.
After Daniel Sullivan's 49-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right, Joe Jones took a reverse 35 yards to Wyoming's 34-yard line on the first play of Temple's ensuing possession. Pierce's second one-yard TD run capped off the nine-play, 69-yard drive.
Kee-ayre Griffin intercepted Smith's pass on Wyoming's ensuing series and returned it 30 yards to the Cowboys' 35-yard line. The turnover led to Brown's one-yard TD run to make it 21-0 with 10:21 remaining in the second quarter.
The Cowboys finally got on the scoreboard with 37 seconds left in the first half. Smith picked up 16 yards on 4th-and-3, and then hooked up with Josh Doctson for a 21-yard score on another 4th-and-3 to make it a 21-7 game.
But Temple quickly responded as Coyer hit Streater for a 61-yard TD pass on the first play of its ensuing possession for a 28-7 halftime advantage.
After a Wyoming punt, the Owls took their opening second-half possession 60 yards in 12 plays, and Brandon McManus connected from 34 yards out to make it 31-7 with 1:22 remaining in the third quarter.
McManus booted his second field goal from 37 yards out early in the fourth quarter, and Kevin Kroboth intercepted Smith's pass on Wyoming's ensuing series as Temple took over at their own 27. The turnover led to McManus' third field goal of the game, this one from 34 yards out to make it a 37-7 game with 3:22 to play.
Kody Sutton hauled in a 14-yard score for Wyoming with three seconds left, and Smith converted the two-point conversion with a quarterback keeper.