PHILADELPHIA, October 15, 2011 – It was a windy day at Lincoln Financial Field. The cross-wind was 35 miles per hour. It would be up to the running game to generate the offense. The game featured the rushing leaders in the MAC, Bernard Peirce for the Temple Owls and Branden Oliver for the Buffalo Bulls. Bernard Pierce generated offense, while Buffalo and Oliver ran into a headwind called the Temple Defense. Temple came away with a 34 – 0 victory before 25,820 fans on Temple’s Homecoming Day.
Pierce had a record-setting day including season-high rushing and overall touchdowns at 17. The Junior from Ardmore, PA also set a season-high in points scored with 102 as he crossed the goal line twice. With his second score Pierce eclipsed the overall mark for career touchdowns with 44 previously held by Paul Palmer. Pierce also tied the career points scored mark with 264 also held by Palmer. The Owls running back had 152 yards on 23 carries. Pierce is not one to care about personal records just team records, but he knows he has earned a place in the Temple record books.
“It means a lot to me, I’m in the mix with the other great backs that came thorough Temple.” Pierce said. ” But at the end of the day we still have five regular season games left. It’s nice to know, but I really don’t let it bother me too much.”
Temple put up 400 yards rushing as Junior Running Back Matt Brown had 120 yards on 12 carries. Buffalo had 71 yards rushing yards with Oliver getting 62.
“We rushed the ball for 400 yards,” said Temple Coach Steve Addazio. “That’s who we are, so we need to be able to do that. It’s our identity. That’s what we want our identity to be. It’s real important to be able to get Bernard, Matt, and everyone involved in the run game.”
The Temple Defense, ranked among the top 10 nationally in many categories, recorded its second consecutive shutout. It is a great source of pride for the unit.
“It’s very important for the defense,” Senior Defensive Back Kee-ayre Griffin said. “That’s what we try to accomplish, giving up minimal possible yards, minimum possible points.”
The Owls started the game with a 14 play, 70 yard drive in 7:15 capped by a Brandon McManus 38 yard field goal to put the Cherry and White ahead 3 – 0. It was the sixth time in seven games that the Owls scored on their opening drive. Pierce carried the ball 8 times for 32 yards in that drive. Pierce was just warming up. The Junior running back scored on a 2 yard run at the 1:39 mark to give his tam a 10 – 0 lead. The touchdown run capped a 10 play, 72 yard drive. With 10:42 remaining in the second quarter Pierce ran for a 53 yard touchdown run to give Temple a 17 – 0 lead. Pierce had another touchdown run of 53 yards called back by a penalty. Pierce totalled 149 first half rushing yards, the team amassed 239 first half rushing yards to 73 for Buffalo.
Temple Special teams contributed as Junior Linebacker Ahkeem Smith took a direct snap on punt formation to run for 49 yards and a touchdown that gave Temple a 24 – 0 halftime lead. Late in the half a Buffalo 39 yard field goal attempt was blocked with 1:09 remaining in the first half by Griffin.
“I thought our kids came out with an attitude and a demeanor,” Addazio said. “They played really, really physical, really, really hard and it was real important to them.”
Temple improves to 5 – 2, and sits atop the MAC Eastern Division with a 3 – 1 record. The Owls prepare for an October 22 game at Bowling Green.
Written By: Glenn Papazian