2011 New Mexico Bowl Recap
Wyoming Cowboys vs Temple Owls - Temple 37, Wyoming 15
Last season, the Temple Owls tasted the bitter herbs of being denied a bowl game despite owning an 8-4 record. This season, a team intent on making up for lost time played with an accordingly high degree of passion. As a result, the Wyoming Cowboys had no chance in the latest staging of the New Mexico Bowl.
The first of 35 bowl games wasn’t much of a fight. Temple traveled to the American Southwest from its home in Philadelphia and landed a series of punches that would have made Rocky Balboa proud. The decisive demolition of Wyoming represents a timely and urgent affirmation of all the good things the Owls have done over the past four seasons.
With this win, it can safely be said that Temple head coach Steve Addazio – who took over the Owls a year ago – did nothing to inspire a lack of confidence in his first season on the job in the City of Brotherly Love. Coaching at a Mid-American Conference program in a not-very-mid-American city invited a lot of skepticism for a man who was coming from a different football subculture, the world of the SEC. Addazio arrived in Philadelphia with a lot of question marks hovering over his head, due to his rocky tenure as the offensive coordinator for the Florida Gators under Urban Meyer. Florida’s offense cratered in 2010, leading many observers to believe that Temple settled for a mediocre coach when it hired Addazio as the replacement for Al Golden, the man who built the Owls into a winner and then leveraged his position by going to Miami to coach the Hurricanes this season. Temple football was shrouded in doubt when Addazio came aboard, but those doubts have evaporated after 13 games and this letter-perfect performance against a Wyoming team that was dominated from the word go.
This game quickly unraveled for the Cowboys while turning into a seldom-interrupted joyride for the Owls. Wyoming might have been playing in a Mountain West ballyard (University Stadium in Albuquerque), but it was Temple which felt right at home from the start. The Owls ran over, around and through the Cowboys to drain the drama from this postseason encounter in relatively short order.
Temple scored touchdowns on each of its first three possessions, motoring to a 21-0 lead in the game’s first 19 minutes and 39 seconds. Many of Temple’s 255 rushing yards were collected on those first three drives, as the Owls used their prowess in the ground game to exploit Wyoming’s weakest point, its vulnerable rushing defense. Temple later added a 61-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chris Coyer to receiver Rod Streater with just 19 seconds before the half. That play was the defining one of the game because it came just a heartbeat after Wyoming shaved its deficit to 21-7 on a score with 37 seconds remaining in the first half. When Temple used the long ball to regain a 21-point bulge at the intermission, Wyoming lost the last ounce of will it needed to have a remote chance of mounting a comeback.
All told, Temple scored on seven of its eight possessions. The Owls were never fully stopped by the Cowboys, who were blown off the line of scrimmage in the first quarter and could never respond. Now, Temple has its first bowl win since 1979, while Wyoming will try to remember the glories of a successful regular season in 2011.
By: Matt Zemek
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