2011 Gildan New Mexico - Temple 37-UW 15

Posted Dec 17, 2011

2011-2012 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl

2011 Gildan New Mexico

Temple 37 ... Wyoming 15

- 2011-2012 CFN Bowl Central

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National Rankings
T   W
67th Total Offense 46th
15th Total Defense 98th
45th Scoring Offense 60th
3rd Scoring Defense 66th
7th Rushing Offense 32nd
26th Run Defense 115th
117th Passing Offense 73rd
19th Passing Defense 34th
24th Turnover Margin 4th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
T   W
2 Quarterbacks 4
5 RBs 3
2.5 Receivers 3
3.5 O Line 4
4.5 D Line 3
4 Linebackers 2.5
4.5 Secondary 3
4.5 Spec Teams 3
4 Coaching 4.5
Temple 37 … Wyoming 15
- CFN Thoughts on the Game

Temple: QB Chris Coyer completed 8-of-12 passes for 169 yards and a score and ran 12 times for 71 yards. … Joe Jones led the Owls with three catches for 26 yards … Bernard Pierce ran 25 times for 100 yards and two scores. … Temple converted 8-of-13 third down chances … LB Tamir Whitehead made 11 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss.

Wyoming: LB Brian Hendricks led the team with 13 tackles for loss … QB Brett Smith completed 20-of-30 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns with three picks and led the team with 65 rushing yards on 16 carries. … Dominic Rufran caught nine passes for 24 yards. … The Cowboys converted all five of their fourth down chances.

(AP) ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Temple came out swinging against Wyoming, jumping to a 21-0 lead in the first half of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on Saturday. But when Wyoming freshman Brett Smith threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Josh Doctson with 37 seconds remaining in the first half, Temple quarterback Chris Coyer feared that Wyoming found a spark.

"We knew they had swung the momentum their way. It was a big touchdown for them," Coyer said.

Then, moments later, Coyer responded with 61-yarder to Rod Streater to give the Owls a 28-7 lead.

It was never close again.

Bernard Pierce ran for two early touchdowns and Coyer threw for 169 yards and the touchdown to help Temple overwhelm Wyoming 37-15 in the New Mexico Bowl -- the first bowl game of the season.

The Owls (9-4) had three interceptions -- tying a New Mexico Bowl record -- en route to the second bowl victory in school history. The first interception came at the start of the second quarter when Temple's Kee-arye Griffin picked off Smith's pass to setting up Matt Brown's 1-yard touchdown run that gave the Owls a 21-0 lead.

The last one came late in the game to Temple's Kevin Kroboth, resulting in a field goal.

"Our starting point is playing great defense," first-year Temple coach Steve Addazio said. "That's what our program's built around. We lead a lot of statistical categories in the country, and we have a lot of pride in playing great defense."

The New Mexico Bowl was Temple's second bowl game in three years, but that 2009 game -- a 30-21 loss to UCLA in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington -- was the Owls' first bowl in 30 years. The Mid-American Conference East runner-up did not get a bowl invite last year despite going 8-4.

Coyer, who also rushed for 71 yards, was selected the game's offensive MVP.

"Getting on top early, of course, was going to be a big deal in this game," Coyer said. "We knew that they had a very explosive offense, and throughout the year that's been big for us -- to get ahead early."

Meanwhile, Smith was held to just 127 yards by a greedy Owls defensive line that prevented the Cowboys from getting anything started.

"Not his best day," Cowboys coach Dave Christensen said. "But the great news is he's got three more years and he'll work extremely hard in the offseason. He'll bounce back. He always does."

The loss dropped the Cowboys (8-5) to 6-7 in bowl games. It was a disappointed effort by Wyoming after the Cowboys won the 2009 New Mexico Bowl in double overtime, beating Fresno State 35-28.

"They just played physically better than us," Christensen said. "My hat's off to them. They're a good running team. They're a good football team."

Temple (8-4) vs. Wyoming (8-4) Dec. 17, 2 pm, ESPN

Here's The Deal … You might not cancel your holiday shopping plans for the New Mexico Bowl, but after the lack of college football games since the end of the regular season, this one should be worth the time and energy.

Temple has unofficially become the best non-BCS team over the last three years that hasn't won anything.

Al Golden did a phenomenal job in building up one of college football's most woeful programs – winning 17 games in 2009 and 2010 – and Steve Addazio stepped in and kept everything rolling with an eight-win season making it the first time since 1973 to 1975 that the Owls have had three straight winning campaigns. However, Golden never got Temple to the MAC title game and Addazio failed this year thanks to back-to-back three-point road losses to Bowling Green and Ohio.

On the plus side, the three-game winning streak to close out the year showed the team could rally and was enough to earn a second bowl bid in three seasons. With a pounding rushing offense, one of the nation's most productive defensive fronts, and a scoring defense that allows fewer than 14 points per game, this is a good, sound team that pushed Penn State in a 14-10 loss and with three of the four losses coming by four points or fewer.

This is just the program's fourth bowl appearance going 1-2 with the lone win coming over Cal in the 1979 Garden State Bowl.

As stunning as Temple's turnaround was a few years ago, Wyoming's 2010 season was almost as impressive.

The Cowboys seemingly had nothing coming off a 3-9 season. It's top quarterback, Austyn Carta-Samuels, took off, there was massive turnover on both sides of the ball, and outside of the 44-0 aberration over Colorado State to close things out, there wasn't anything to suggest that this would be the program's best season since going 8-3 in 1998.

Yes, beating Weber State, Texas State, Bowling Green, UNLV, New Mexico, and Colorado State was enough to form a nice base of wins over cupcakes, but the Cowboys won on the road at San Diego State and Air Force and weren't awful in losses to TCU, Nebraska, and Boise State. There was a meltdown against Utah State, but for the most part this was a fun and exciting team that rallied behind Freshman All-America quarterback Brett Smith and managed to win three of its final four games to finish third in the Mountain West.

After going on a six-game bowl losing streak, Wyoming has won its last two, beating UCLA in the 2004 Las Vegas and Fresno State in a double-overtime thriller in the 2009 New Mexico. If the Cowboys and Owls each play up to their capabilities, this should be a very good, very competitive kickoff to the bowl season.

This is just the sixth year for the New Mexico Bowl with the Mountain West winning four of the first five. Last year, BYU thumped UTEP 52-24 in a statement game before leaving for independence, but the two previous games were among the best of the respective bowl seasons. That made up for New Mexico's 23-0 win over Nevada in 2007; one of the worst bowl games of the year.

The embattled Mountain West needs a fifth straight New Mexico Bowl win, but the MAC could use it even more. It'll be a good fight.

Why Temple Might Win: The running game is among the most productive in college football, and the Wyoming defense is one of the worst in the country against the run.

the Cowboy defensive front is big at all four spots, and the linebacking corps is active and is great at getting around the ball, but it isn't the fastest group around and it's had a nightmare of a time with any quarterback that can run. Nebraska, Utah State, and Air Force all rolled for over 300 yards, and TCU pounded away with the backs for 390 yards and four scores. Colorado State was able to run without a problem, and San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman ran for 224 yards and two scores. The only teams that didn't run well on Wyoming are the ones that couldn't run on anyone.

The Owl offensive line has been devastating and the 1-2 rushing punch of Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown should be able to go ballistic. Temple has run for 300 yards or more in four of the last seven games including a 400-yard, four score day against Buffalo and 350 yards and five touchdowns against Ball State and 335 yards and five touchdowns against Army. Wyoming doesn't have the defensive front to be able to hold the Owls to under 250.

Defensively, helped by a strong pass rush that led the MAC with 32 sacks and is able to generate consistent pressure. Wyoming's line has been good in pass protection, but the passing game isn't explosive or particularly efficient. Temple's secondary is fast and active, leading the MAC in yards allowed and second behind Kent State in pass efficiency defense. To win, Wyoming will have to run the ball, but Temple has the MAC's best run defense.

Why Wyoming Might Win: The Cowboys don't make any mistakes. Temple is a tight team when it comes to penalties and turnovers, but Wyoming is even better ranking 29th in the nation in penalties – committing just 58 on the year and losing 45.6 yards per game, while ranking fourth in the country in turnover margin. The Cowboys have come up with 31 takeaways and have given it up just 16 times. However, turnovers were a bit of an issue over the final few games of the year with five of the eight fumbles coming in the final four games and three of the eight picks coming in the final two. Even with the mistakes – including eight penalties against Colorado State – UW won three of the four games with the loss coming to Boise State.

Temple doesn't have any passing game whatsoever, throwing for fewer than 100 yards in four of the final six games of the season. The air attack might be effective when it has to be, and it doesn't turn the ball over, there's absolutely nothing for the Cowboy secondary to fear. Veteran safeties Luke Ruff and Tashaun Gipson should be able to cheat up enough to give the linebacking corps some help against the power running game, and while that didn't necessarily do the trick to stop the Air Force or Utah State running games, Temple's offense is different.

Partly due to the mobility of Brett Smith, the UW offensive line has been terrific in pass protection allowing just 11 sacks on the year. Even though he's a freshman, Smith doesn't make poor decisions and he's great at getting the ball out of his hands in a hurry. He should be able to neutralize the Temple pass rush with quick hitters and taking off when needed.

What To Watch Out For: Banged up and a bit beaten, Temple junior Bernard Pierce is all but certain to take off for the NFL after an ultra-productive career as the workhorse in the program's turnaround. His breakout 1,361-yard, 16 touchdown freshman season was bettered by his junior campaign, running for 1,381 yards and 25 scores despite missing the Miami game after suffering an apparent concussion. He returned to run for 157 yards and three scores against Army and 189 yards and three touchdowns against Kent State, and he'll be fed the ball early and often against the Cowboys. Held to 53 yards and a touchdown on a gimpy ankle in the bowl loss to UCLA a few years ago, but he'll be fed the ball about 30 times against UW.

There might not have been a more valuable player in the Mountain West than Brett Smith, the true freshman who stepped into a rough spot and succeeded from Day One. The 6-3, 195-pounder from Oregon has the build of a pure passer, but he's a terrific runner who took off for 645 yards and ten scores on the year, to go along with 2,495 passing yards, 18 scores, and just eight picks. Oregon State wanted him, but the Cowboys got him. Now he's the face of the franchise for next three years.

Temple senior defensive end Adrian Robinson earned First Team All-MAC honors and was the 2009 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, was a bit of a disappointment last year, but rebounded to earn First Team honors again making six sacks and 47 tackles . At 6-2 and 250 pounds he's built to be a hybrid pass rusher on the outside. Extremely quick off the edge, it's over if he gets a step on a tackle. A decent NFL prospect, he could use a showcase game to up his stock and prove he can be used as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

What Will Happen: Wyoming has defied logic all season long, and it's about to do it again.

Temple will run for 300 yards and will control the game and the clock, but Smith will keep the chains moving, the offense will have enough balance to get by, and the defense will come up with the one stop late it has to have. Wyoming might look bad at times, but it'll win the turnover battle, it'll get a nice day out of punter Austin McCoy, and it'll come up with its seventh bowl win on a late Daniel Sullivan field goal.

CFN Prediction:
Wyoming 24 … Temple 23
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Temple -6.5   O/U: 47.5

Best Bowl Moments

Best Cowboy Bowl Moment:
The Cowboys did beat Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl two years ago, one of two bowl victories for the program since a 1966 Sun Bowl defeat of Florida State. That other victory, however, will likely endure for a longer period of time in the public memory. It came in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl over UCLA, 24-21. A heavy underdog, the Cowboys got a Corey Bramlet to John Wadkowski touchdown pass with 57 seconds left to snap a six-game postseason losing streak.

Best Owl Bowl Moment:
Throughout the long history of Temple football, there have been just a few bowl appearances, losing the inaugural Sugar Bowl to Tulane in 1935 and defeating Cal, 28-17, in the 1979 Garden State Bowl. Running back Kevin Duckett was one of the catalysts of that 1979 team, which finished 10-2 and generated some brief excitement around Philadelphia under coach Wayne Hardin, one of the more underrated coaches in college football history.

New Mexico Bowl History
2010 BYU 52, UTEP 24
2009 Wyoming 35, Fresno State 28 2OT
2008 Col St 40, Fresno St 35
2007 New Mexico 23, Nevada 0
2006 SJSU 20, New Mexico 12
Confidence Picks
Fiu Rich Matt Russ Barrett Terry Phil Clucko PICK
WY (10) TU* (4) WY (1) TU (27) TU (29) WY(26) TU*(31) TU (30) TU (14)

E-mail Pete Fiutak
#CFBnews & #ColFootballNews

Wyoming can't stop the run and Temple is one of the best in the nation on the ground, but the Cowboys have won even when they've allowed a bazillion yards.

By Richard Cirminiello 
This game will be an outstanding reward for rookie QB Brett Smith and the rest of a deserving bunch of Cowboys.

By Matt Zemek
This is a Wyoming home game, and while Temple will surely be motivated after missing out on a bowl last season despite an 8-4 mark, the Pokes will be fired up as well.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
Temple always seems to surprise you when you least expect it. Owls roll.

By Russ Mitchell
Isn't this a paint company? Oh, that's Glidden. Whatever.

By Terry Johnson
Expect a very physical contest between Wyoming and Temple. Both teams can run the ball, ranking 32nd and 8th , respectively, in rushing yards per game.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
An underrated Temple team who might still be the best team in the MAC going against an underrated Wyoming team. It won't get a lot of press, but a good matchup regardless.

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