PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn thought his team prepared well for what was to come. He knew resurgent Temple was set to host Homecoming. He knew the Owls had a deep running game. And he knew they were in first place.
They still are … and then some.
“I saw all week there was a lot of energy, and a lot of spirit,” Quinn said. “Our guys had focus and went in and watched a lot of film. There’s not a lot to say, we have a long way to go.”
Temple made sure of it.
Pierce ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, and set four Temple records along the way, as the Owls blasted the Bulls, 34-0, on Saturday in front of 25,820 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Pierce crossed the 100-yard barrier for the fifth time this season, and set school season marks for rushing touchdowns (17), overall touchdowns (17) and points (102). He also surpassed the career mark for total touchdowns (44).
“It means a lot to me, I’m in the mix with the other great backs that came through Temple,” Pierce said. “But, at the end of the day, we still have five regular-season games left. It’s nice to know, but I really don’t let it bother me too much.”
Even Pierce’s backup joined the party. Matt Brown ran for 120 yards and a score on 12 carries as the Owls (5-2, 3-1 MAC) compiled 400 yards on the ground, and owned 39:08 time of possession, never really giving the Bulls (2-5, 1-2) an opportunity to fight back.
“That’s who we are, so we need to be able to do that. It’s our identity,” Temple first-year coach Steve Addazio said. “That’s what we want our identity to be. So, that’s real important to be able to get Bernard, Matt, and everyone involved in the run game. Obviously, I want a mix.”
Temple, which has played one more conference game than the rest of the league, remained in first place in the MAC East Division, and evened its home record at 2-2.
Buffalo has lost four of the last five games.
“We couldn’t sustain anything. We have a much better football team than what we displayed today,” Quinn said. “It’s a tough pill to swallow. We did not do our job on both sides of the ball, and special teams are another area that we didn’t do it. This is not the kind of football I want to have displayed.”
Pierce entered the game as the national leader in rushing touchdowns (15), and added to that total with scoring runs of 2 and 53 yards. Brown also scored from 58 yards out, and Ahkeem Smith added insult to injury, registering a 49-yard score.
Temple improved to 17-1 when Pierce carries the ball at least 18 times. Pierce now has 844 yards this season, and 2,933 for his career.
“They really wanted to play well today and they did,” Addazio said. “It was a great afternoon for us. Obviously, we already talked about getting ready to come back in tomorrow and get ready to roll for the next game.
“Certainly, it was a great effort.”
The Owls are now just one win away from being bowl eligible. They play their next two games in the state of Ohio — at Bowling Green and at Ohio University.
Buffalo quarterback Chazz Anderson, a transfer from Cincinnati, completed just 9-of-26 passes for 84 yards. He was intercepted once, and finished with a rating of just 54.1.
Bulls running back Branden Oliver carried the ball 21 times for just 61 yards.
“You go into every game saying we’re going to try to outplay the other team,” Temple safety Kevin Kroboth said. “The shutouts come, which is really nice. And you know we’re just going out there to try to play the best game we can.”
The Bulls have allowed 112 points in their last three games, including two losses.
“We obviously better change the outcome,” Quinn said. “We better improve and we better get back to looking at ourselves to determine what our weeks of preparation are going to be like. Are we going to be able to sulk and feel sorry for ourselves, or are we going to be able to say we are a lot better than this?”
“We didn’t even come close today. It’s completely disappointing and embarrassing.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)