Cow­boys kneel to Tem­ple at 2011 New Mex­i­co Bowl

The teams seemed as even­ly matched as any two teams could be head­ing into a bowl game. The Wyoming Cow­boys (8−4, 5–3 MWC) faced off against the Tem­ple Owls(8–4, 5–2 MAC) on a gor­geous Albu­querque after­noon in front of over 25,000 fans. There weren’t near­ly as many fans for the Owls as for the Cow­boys, but that is to be expect­ed since they come from so far away.


Ten­sions ran high before the sixth edi­tion of the Gildan New Mex­i­co Bowl got start­ed. Both teams had been inspired the day before game­day by an encap­su­lat­ing speech by for­mer NFL-great quar­ter­back Archie Man­ning, which high­light­ed being a leader both on and off the field. The fans anx­ious­ly looked for­ward to a seri­ous bat­tle on a gor­geous after­noon to start off the Bowl sea­son on ESPN.

Pass from Temple’s Coy­er


The Pokes won the coin-toss and deferred to receive the ball to start the sec­ond half.Templegot the ball to start the game and made their way down the field with rel­a­tive ease. The Owls scored on a one-yard rush by Bernard Pierce for the game’s first touch­down. The dri­ve went 90 yards in 13 plays.Wyomingthen received the ball and moved the ball down the field. They were held out of the red­zone, but had an attempt­ed field goal, which missed wide-right. The score stayed at 7–0 and the Owls got the ball in good field posi­tion. The quar­ter end­ed with a score of 7–0 in the first quar­ter.


Tem­ple­marched down the field in nine plays for anoth­er one-yard touch­down rush for Pierce. The score forTem­pleput

Wyoming QB Brett Smith avoids a sack

them up 14–0 over the Cowboys.Wyomingcame out pass­ing and were quick­ly inter­cept­ed by aTem­plede­fen­sive back. The Owls moved quick­ly and got anoth­er rush­ing touch­down, this time from Matt Brown. The score put the Owls way up on the Pokes, 21–0.Wyomingdid all that they could to put some kind of dri­ve togeth­er and were reward­ed after two fourth-down con­ver­sions. The Pokes put a receiv­ing touch­down on the board on one of their fourth-down con­ver­sions. The touch­down was caught by Josh Doct­son for a 21-yard touch­down which final­ly got the Cow­boys onto the board, down 21–7. On the first play of the Owls ensu­ing dri­ve, they tossed up a ball that was caught and run in for a touch­down by Rod Streater. The Cowboy’s defen­sive back slipped on the play and had no help over-the-top, which made the Owls touch­down rel­a­tive­ly easy. To end the half the score was knot­ted at 28–7 in favor of theTem­ple­Owls.


TheTem­ple­Owl­swere led by Pierce, Chris Coy­er, and Tahir White­head. Pierce ran for 53 yards on a dozen car­ries with two touch­downs. Coy­er went 5-for-7 with 128 yards pass­ing and a touch­down. He also had 38 yards rush­ing on five attempts. White­head led the defense with sev­en tack­les in the half.


Wyoming­was led at the half by quar­ter­back Brett Smith, Doct­son, and Bri­an Hen­dricks. Smith went 9-for-14 with a touch­down and a pair of inter­cep­tions. Smith also ran for 55 yards on 10 attempts. Doct­son had the oneWyoming­touch­down on one catch for 21 yards. Hen­dricks led the defense with six tack­les, none for loss­es.


Wyomin­gre­ceived the ball to start the sec­ond half and was putting togeth­er a qual­i­ty dri­ve. Then they had back-to-back penal­ties to make for a 3rd and extreme­ly long, which forced them to punt the ball away. The Owls got the ball and wound down the clock on their dri­ve. The Owls kicked a 34-yard field goal to end a long dri­ve and notch the score up at 31–7 with less than two min­utes left in the third quar­ter. At the end of the third, the Owls were up on the Pokes 31–7 and had the ball to begin the 4th quar­ter.



The Owls owned the fourth quar­ter of the game, just as they had for the pre­vi­ous three quar­ters. They did all that they

Doct­son makes a spec­tac­u­lar recep­tion

could to eat up the clock while col­lect­ing anoth­er field goal along the way. The Cow­boys did their best to dri­ve and score in hopes of sav­ing some face. The Cow­boys punched in a rush­ing touch­down by Kody Sut­ton along with a two-point con­ver­sion with a quar­ter­back draw. The final score inAl­bu­querque­was the Tem­ple Owls 37 – Wyoming Cow­boys 15.


Sta­tis­ti­cal lead­ers for the Owls were Pierce, Coy­er, and White­head. Pierce fin­ished with 100 yards on 25 car­ries. Coy­er went 8-for-12 with 169 yards and a touch­down. Coy­er also con­tributed 71 yards rush­ing on 12 car­ries. White­head col­lect­ed the defen­sive play­er of the game hon­ors with nine tack­les and a half a tack­le for a loss.


The Pokes were led by Smith, Doct­son, and Hen­dricks. Smith fin­ished going 17-for-26 for 96 yards with one touch­down and three inter­cep­tions. Doct­son con­tributed three recep­tions with a touch­down. Hen­dricks had a big day with 13 tack­les on the day.


The Cow­boys put their best foot for­ward, but were thwart­ed ear­ly and often on a rough after­noon inNew Mex­i­co. The Cow­boys and coach Dave Chris­tensen fall to 1–1 in their last two attempts at the New Mex­i­co Bowl, which came in the last three years. Chris­tensen won MWC coach of the year but was unable to over­come the ear­ly momen­tum of theTem­ple­Owls. Con­grat­u­la­tions to both teams for a valiant effort and some sol­id com­pe­ti­tion.