Temple RB Pierce focused on New Mexico Bowl

Bernard Pierce can’t say whether Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl

against Wyoming will be his final college game before he makes a

bid for the NFL.

Either way, Temple’s junior running back is determined to make

the game a special one.

”It’s not about me,” said Pierce, who totaled 1,381 yards and

a school-record 25 touchdowns this season. ”It’s about the team. I

don’t have to impress anybody. A win is a win no matter how many

points or how you win. It’s just a win.”

Pierce is part of a backfield tandem with Matt Brown that

finished seventh in the country in rushing for Temple (8-4).

That’s what Wyoming (8-4) is determined to stop, said Cowboys

coach Dave Christensen.

”They want to establish the run first,” he said. ”I

understand that. They have two backs who are very good, then they

want to work in the play action.”

Although Pierce and Brown gain their yards differently, the Owls

approach the offense the same way no matter who’s carrying the


”It doesn’t matter to us,” said first-year Temple coach Steve

Addazio. ”We run the same plays. They’re different styles of back.

You run power with both backs, but it’s a different deal. One is a

low, slicing runner. The other is little bit bigger, more powerful,

but they’re both good.”

Still, this isn’t quite the way Addazio envisioned the offense

working as he took his first head coaching job.

”What we always wanted to be was a power run team with a spread

option component and, of course, a spread vertical pass game that

we’re trying to head to,” he said. ”We’re not here yet. The

passing game part of it is not there yet. Part of it is that is

because we’ve been able to dominate in the run game. Sometimes you

get out ahead of people. I’m going to put the power run game in,

kill the clock and get off the field.”

Wyoming’s passing attack, however, is fully matured, even if

it’s powered by a freshman quarterback in Brett Smith.

”But as the quarterback, whether you’re a freshman or senior,

the team looks to you in adversity and if you’re down, the team is

going to be down so I really make it a point to not get super

frustrated and have that rub off on the team,” he said. ”I want

to stay super positive and lead the team.”

Smith has done a good job of that so far this season, but he

knows he faces a tremendous challenge against the country’s

third-best scoring defense.

”What I’ve seen is they’re extremely fast. They move really

well side to side so we have to move north to south as opposed to

east and west,” he said. ”Also, for me, they do a really good job

of disguising their coverages so they’ll look like they’ll be in

something then at the stop they’ll run into something different,

which can confuse a lot of teams.”

Likewise, Pierce knows he won’t have an easy time of it against

the Cowboys defense.

”They do like to do a lot of twists so I’m going to have to

make sure that I stay on my marks and make sure I run downhill

because they are a fast team,” he said. ”So sideline to sideline

might not work too well.”