It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Bowl season is upon us. The Temple Owls take on the Wyoming Cowboys in the first game of the 2011-2012 bowl season. The Owls represent the MAC with an overall record of 8-4. The Cowboys also have an overall record of 8-4 and finished the season third in the Mountain West behind TCU and Boise State.
When Wyoming has the Ball
Wyoming finished 60th in the nation in scoring this season with an average of 27 points per game. Freshman quarterback Brett Smith is a dual threat. Smith threw for 2495 yards and 18 touchdowns while running for 645 yards and 10 touchdowns. When Smith struggled to pick up yards on the ground against Nebraska (2 yards), Utah State (-4 yards), and Boise State (37 yards), the Cowboys offense sputtered. Junior running back Alvester Alexander was solid for the Cowboys averaging 4.7 yards per carry on his way to 678 yards.
The name of Temple’s game is defense. The Owls had the third best defense in the nation this year allowing only 13.8 points per game. Temple racked up 33 sacks in their 12 games this year and will look to pressure the freshman quarterback of Wyoming. The key for Temple will be to pressure the quarterback without losing containment on the outside, giving Smith room to run..
When Temple has the Ball
It’s no secret what Temple is going to do on offense. Run, run, and then run some more. Out of 120 FBS teams, Temple had the 7th best rushing offense at 256.7 yards per game, and the 117th best passing offense at 123.3 yards per game. Junior Bernard Pierce was a beast this year with 1381 yards and 25 touchdowns. Matt Brown also got his share of carries this season and averaged 6.1 yards per carry on his way to 867 yards. Chester Stewart, Mike Gerardi, and Chris Coyer all saw time at quarterback this year. Coyer is more of a threat as a runner, but he was injured in the regular season finale against Kent State. Expect the most experienced of the group, Stewart, to get the most snaps against Wyoming.
Wyoming’s defense gave up an average of 27 points per game this season. The Cowboys had a terrible run defense this year giving up an average of 230.8 yards per game on the ground. Wyoming will have its hands full against a team like Temple that will run the ball over 40 times this game.
2011 New Mexico Bowl Betting Line
As it stands now Temple is currently favored by 6.5 points over Wyoming. I like Temple to win this game thanks to a solid defense, and their strong rushing attack facing a poor rushing defense. However, I think this will be a low scoring game, and I would put my money on Wyoming with the points.
2011 New Mexico Bowl Prediction
Temple – 24
Wyoming – 20