Temple’s Bernard Pierce rushes for three touchdowns
- Temple’s Kee-ayre Griffin blocks an extra point attempt by Kent State’s Freddy Cortez. Photo: Kevin McGuire, via Flickr.
Bernard Pierce rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns to help Temple pull away from Kent State, 34-16. Pierce had touchdown runs of 18, 25 and 69 yards in the game, which squashed Kent State’s bowl hopes. Kent State needed a win to become eligible for a bowl game. Instead Kent State will stay home this postseason, while Temple will wait for their invitation from a potential bowl game.
“There’s no question,” Temple head coach Steve Addazio said after the game when asked if Temple had done enough to receive a bowl invitation. “We’re an eight-win team, we’re playing great football in November, we have marquee players, we’re in a large media market— There’s no doubt that Temple will be in a bowl game. Anything less than that would be ridiculous. We’re an unbelievably desirable team to a lot of bowls out there, if they care about
A season ago that invitation never found its way to the Temple offices, as the eight-win Owls were passed over by every bowl game. But with some vacancies left by bowl ineligible Army and Navy, along with Miami’s decision to not attend a bowl game, there may be a little extra room to fill this time around, depending on what happens around the rest of the college football landscape this weekend. With so much up in the air though there is plenty of optimism for these Owls. Last season was the first time an 8-win MAC team had been left out of the postseason since 2003. The odds appear to be in Temple’s favor as they wrap up their regular season.
For the third consecutive season the Temple Owls have completed a season with a record over .500. It is the first time since doing so for five straight years between 1971 and 1975, and it is the first time in school history they have recorded eight or more wins in three straight seasons. Temple's 25 wins over a three year stretch is also the most in school history.
The goal still remains the same for Temple though. The opportunity to play for a MAC championship continues to elude them despite this recent string of success within the football program. Al Golden set the tone to make Temple a major player in the MAC, and Steve Addazio appears to have picked up where Golden left off when he took the job to be Miami’s head coach. While the coaches have changed, it has been the work of the players, and more specifically the seniors, that have kept this program ticking.
Next year, supposing he sticks wit it for one more season, the Owls will look to supplement running back Bernard Pierce and finally make that final push over the hump. Losses in the biggest games of the season have haunted this Temple program and held them back in recent years. If they can just get to a MAC championship game in 2012, all of the work will have paid off over the last four years.
When asked about his potential future Pierce shrugged off the question and said “I just want to take things one step at a time.” Right now, Pierce is just happy for his senior teammates and happy to have been a part of the rebuilding process at Temple.
“It means a lot for me to have been a part of it,” Pierce said. Pierce mentioned that he had been told storis about what it was like at Temple before he arrived. “I know what it was like when I got here, and guys tell me stories… they’ve been through a lot.”
Northern Illinois will play Ohio next week in the MAC championship game in Detroit’s Ford Field. the winner of that game will likely be heading to the Little Caeser’s Pizza Bowl (also in Detroit) while the other will be most likely to receive an invitation to the GoDaddy.com Bowl to face Sun Belt champion Arkansas State, who has already accepted an invitation. The Idaho Potato Bowl will have the next pick out of the MAC, and that could go to Toledo, who defeated Temple earlier this season by a score of 36-13. That makes the Owls the fourth tema out of the MAC to be considered, which does put them on the fringe.
The good news is the Military Bowl, in Washington D.C. may have an opening to fill with Navy unable to fulfill their obligations to the bowl game. Navy’s loss could be Temple’s gain. The Owls played in the bowl game a mere two and a half hours down I-95 two seasons ago, losing to UCLA. If Temple is available then do not be surprised if the Military Bowl takes another look at the Owls. the Military Bowl could be a landing spot for North Carolina State out of the ACC, and the game would probably be interested in bringing in a team that could bring in a good selection of fans. Given the time of year and location, finding a team within close proximity would be a valid solution, and Temple could fit that bill.
Owls earn eighth win of year, lose Coyer for two weeks – The 700 Level
Temple Owls solve Kent State’s defense, win 34-16 – Buzz on Broad
Temple vs. Kent State Photo Album – Flickr