ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Bernard Pierce ran for two early touchdowns and Chris Coyer threw for 169 yards and a touchdown to help Temple beat Wyoming 37-15 in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday.
The Owls (9-4) had three interceptions — tying a New Mexico Bowl record — en route to the second bowl victory in school history.
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.
“Our team played real well. We played a team game,” first-year Temple coach Steve Addazio said. “Our starting point is playing great defense. That’s the starting point of our program. We have a lot of pride in playing great defense.”
Sophomore Coyer, who also rushed for 71 yards, was selected the game’s offensive MVP.
Coyer said Temple got a little worried at the end of the first half when Wyoming freshman Brett Smith threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Josh Doctson with 28 seconds left. But Coyer responded with a 61-yard touchdown pass to Rod Streater moments later.
“We knew they had swung the momentum their way. It was a big touchdown for them,” Coyer said. “We weren’t really sure if we were going to go for it or sit on it.”
Meanwhile, Smith was held to just 127 yards by a greedy Owls defensive line that preventing the Cowboys from getting anything started.
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.
“It was disappointing,” Cowboys coach Dave Christensen said. “We knew they were going to run the football, which they did.”
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