Gildan New Mexico Bowl: 5 Players to Watch in Temple vs Wyoming Battle

Rick GillispieCorrespondent IIDecember 5, 2011

COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 24:  Running back running back Bernard Pierce #30 of the Temple Owls rushes the ball against the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium on September 24, 2011 in College Park, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl will kick off the college football bowl season. The Temple Owls from the MAC conference will battle the Wyoming Cowboys from the Mountain West conference. Both teams come into the game with 8-4 records.

Temple comes in on a three-game winning streak. The Owls have lost to Penn State out of conference and Toledo, Bowling Green and Ohio in conference. Temple is the seventh-best team in the country rushing the ball at 256.7 yards a game; their defense gives up only 13.8 points a game.

Wyoming comes in winners of five of their last seven. Losses to TCU and Boise State in conference go with losses to Nebraska and Utah State out of conference. The Cowboys used a balanced attack running for 185 yards a game while passing for 213.

Their are five key players to watch in this matchup:

1. Junior Bernard Pierce (Temple): Pierce has eight 100-yard rushing games this season with 1,381 yards overall to go along with 25 touchdowns.

2. Junior Matt Brown (Temple): Brown is Temple's backup running back and should see some playing time. He has five 100-yard games this season. He sits at 867 yards on the season.

3. Freshman Brett Smith (Wyoming): Smith has had a great freshman year, throwing for almost 2,500 yards and rushing for 645. Smith has accounted for 28 touchdowns for the Cowboys.

4. Junior Alvester Alexander (Wyoming): Alexander comes into the game with only 678 yards rushing; he will have to make a bigger impact to take pressure off of Smith.

5. Wyoming defense: The Cowboys can't stop the run. All the Owls do is run, so if Wyoming doesn't step up on defense and slow them down, then this game will get out of control.


I can see Temple being about a six to seven-point favorite in this game and covering. The Owls rushing attack is to much for Wyoming.

Final Score: Temple 35-Wyoming 24