2011 Bowl Games: Wyoming and Temple to Meet in Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Anthony RainwaterCorrespondent IDecember 5, 2011

Duel threat Brett Smith looks to lead Wyoming to their 3rd bowl win in 7 years
Duel threat Brett Smith looks to lead Wyoming to their 3rd bowl win in 7 yearsOtto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

The bowl season is almost under way, and it all starts with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, NM Dec. 17 at noon MT. 

The teams facing off in this matchup are the Wyoming Cowboys out of the Mountain West Conference and Temple University out of the Mid-American Conference. 

Both teams come into the game with 8-4 records, with Wyoming having a 5-2 record in conference and Temple with a 5-3 record in conference. 

This will be Wyoming's third bowl game in the last seven years—they won the previous two. 

This will be Temple's fourth bowl game in school history.  They lost their previous bowl game back in 2009 to UCLA.  Their last bowl before that was back in 1979.

This should be a great matchup showcasing two above-average football programs.  Let's take a deeper look at both these teams.


Wyoming Cowboys Offense

When we look at the Wyoming offense, one name stands out—Brett Smith.  The true freshman QB has been a savior to an offense that no one had any faith in. 

He's terrific in both passing and rushing the ball.  He keeps the opposing defenses always guessing.

At RB, Wyoming has a pretty decent one-two punch with Alvester Alexander and Brandon Miller.  Together with Smith, they're fourth in the MWC in rushing. 

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 13:  Alvester Alexander #32 of the Wyoming Cowboys takes a handoff from quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels #5 during their game against the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium November 13, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 42-16.  (Photo
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The WRs are a young group that are slowly finding their niche in the system.  The offensive line has some senior leadership and can play very well at times.


Temple Owls Offense

The Temple offense is centered around stud RB Bernard Pierce, who is first in the MAC in rushing and scoring.  The Temple rushing attack is first in the MAC and seventh in the country.

But Pierce didn't do it alone, as they have their own one-two punch with junior Matt Brown. 

The QB position has had its struggles, and their leading receiver is TE Evan Rodriguez.  But the offensive line is solid and has shown it can move people around.


Wyoming Cowboys Defense

The Wyoming Cowboys have had their struggles this year against the run.  In fact, they rank near last in stopping the run. 

They're better in pass defense but not by much, as they fall in the middle of the pack in Div. I football.  However, they do have some great senior leadership on defense.

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 26: Head Coach Dave Christensen of the Wyoming Cowboys walks the sideline between plays against the Boise State Broncos at Bronco Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

Seniors and MWC studs Gabe Knapton, Brian Hendricks, Josh Beizuns and Tashaun Gipson will be looking to make sure the defense brings it in this game.


Temple Owls Defense

Senior Adrian Peterson anchors a very good Owls defense.  In fact, their defense is ranked 15th in the country. 

Like Wyoming, they have studs in every aspect of the defense.  Players like Tahir Whitehead, Kevin Kroboth and Morkeith Brown will be looking to have a big game.


Wyoming Cowboys Coaching

Dave Christensen is entering his third year in Wyoming and has resurrected the program, giving the Pokes their best season since 1999. 

Before coming to Wyoming, this offensive mastermind was Offensive Coordinator of the Year with Missouri. 

His overall record is 18-19, including a win in the New Mexico Bowl back in 2009 against a very good Fresno State team.


Temple Owls Coaching

Steve Addazio is in his first year as head coach at Temple.  Before that, he served under Urban Meyer during his success at Florida. 

He seems to have Temple going in the right direction and looks to continue his success.  His overall record is 8-4.



This game is going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight between these schools. 

I predict a low-scoring 20-17 win for the Wyoming Cowboys.

The Cowboys will take advantage of Temple, which is a one-trick pony with their rushing attack.

And with Wyoming being fourth-best in the country in turnover margin, they'll protect the ball and take it away from Temple when it matters.  Brett Smith has been able to make magic all year, and there is no way it'll stop in this game.

The Pokes play in a tougher conference and against tougher competition, and that too will factor in this decision.  But this is just a prediction, and anything can happen. 

So sit tight folks, as we get ready for the first bowl of the season.


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