Wyoming Football 2011: 5 Things Cowboys Fans Should Know About Temple
In 2009, Dave Christensen made his debut as head coach of Wyoming. That season, he led the Cowboys to a 7-6 record and a New Mexico Bowl victory over Pat Hill's Fresno State squad.
After experiencing a tumultuous 2010 season that saw the Pokes go 3-9, Christensen has led the Cowboys back to the postseason and back to the New Mexico Bowl.
This year's opponent? That would be the Temple Owls from the Mid-American Conference.
For those Cowboys fans who want to know what to expect or just want to quote random facts to the family when watching the game on December 17th, here's five things you should know.
Temple Is Under New Leadership
In 2004, the Owls were in the Big East. But, due to a multitude of reasons, Temple got booted from the conference. Al Golden was hired as head coach at the end of the 2005 season, and Golden led Temple to a 1-11 record his first year. The next year, Temple joined the Mid-American Conference and Golden then went 4-8 and 5-7. In 2009, Golden led the Owls to a 9-4 record and a berth in the EagleBank Bowl (the Owls would lose to UCLA). The next year, Golden led Temple to an 8-4 season, yet for some reason were left out of the postseason. Golden was then hired to replace Randy Shannon as head coach in Miami.
Enter Steve Addazio. Addazio was Florida's offensive coordinator in 2009-2010. Then, when Urban Meyer announced his resignation from Florida, Addazio was let go and Temple hired him. Addazio has maintained the consistency of the program created by Golden and has led Temple to an 8-4 record.
Temple Is a Running Team
Perhaps Temple's greatest asset is their ability to pound the rock. The Owls currently rank seventh in the nationals, rushing the ball with almost 257 yards a game. And the guy putting up a majority of those yards?
His name is Bernard Pierce. Cowboys fans better get ready to hear his name early and often. Pierce has 1,381 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground this season. He is one of the better backs in the nation, though he often gets overlooked due to the league in which he plays.
Not to be overlooked is Pierce's backup, Matt Brown, who has added 867 yards and five touchdowns rushing to the effort.
Temple's run game is definitely one of the strengths of their team, which is a good thing because...
Temple Is Not a Great Passing Team
Their passing game is far from dominant. In a year where we have seen offensive production through the air by the likes of Houston, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma, Temple's aerial numbers bring to mind those of a terrible high school team.
The Owls passing attack is ranked 117th out of 120 teams only averaging about 123 yards a game.
In fact, Temple only has ten passing touchdowns all year. The Owls' total passing yards haven't even topped 1,500 yet this season.
However, that's not to say Temple doesn't have the ability to pass. Their receiver Evan Rodriguez has accounted for nearly a third of all of the Owls' receiving yards and also has two touchdowns.
Temple Plays Good Defense
While the Owls don't have the greatest passing attack, their defense is another story.
Temple is third in the country in scoring defense, behind only LSU and Alabama. Their defense has two shutouts this season and will keep the Owls in almost any game they play.
The Owls' defense has allowed only 1,471 total yards and 11 touchdowns.
However, Cowboys fans should take all these numbers with a grain of salt for two reasons: One, the Owls play in the MAC, not really one of the greatest football conferences, and two, the Owls are primarily a rushing team, meaning they run off large chunks of clock. It's hard to score when your offense isn't on the field.
Temple Shared a Common Opponent with Wyoming
Wyoming and Temple actually shared a common opponent this season: the Bowling Green Falcons.
Wyoming went to Bowling Green and came out with a 28-27 victory. The Falcons turned the ball over six times in that game and the Cowboys had to block a PAT to stop a Bowling Green comeback.
Temple went into Bowling Green looking for a third straight victory and left with a loss. The game was close as Bowling Green wound up winning on a field goal, 13-10.