November 19, 2011

Temple runs over & past Army, 42-14

The Army Black Knights' triple option offense came into Saturday's contest at Lincoln Financial Field with the nation's leading rushing offense where they averaged 352 yards per game.

But when it was all said and done, it was Temple who had an option of three to choose from, as their more than effective trio that consisted of running backs Bernard Pierce, Matt Brown and southpaw quarterback Chris Coyer ran for 157, 133 and 34 yards respectfully as the Owls steamrolled past the Black Knights, 42-14.

It appeared as though Temple picked up from where they left off in last season's 42-35 come from behind win over Army, which saw Brown rush for an amazing career high 237 yards. But this time around, he had soon to be NFL'er and running partner Pierce to join him, along with an already dominant defense that would only have to face Army's offense leader and quarterback Trent Steelman for just one series.

On the first series of the game, the Owls marched 80 yards effortlessly in six plays utilizing only 2:54 of the clock, that was capped off by Brown's 22 yard run that saw safety Thomas Holloway miss the final tackle attempt on the elusive 5-foot-5, 170 pounder.

But Army fans have seen this throughout the season where opponents have jumped out to early leads, only to have the offense step up to the plate. Needless to say, that optimism was enhanced with the return of Steelman, who had missed the last two games due to a high ankle sprain, along with slotback Raymond Mapleswho entered the game 109 shy of the 1,000 mark.

However, on the Black Knights' first series and 2nd & 9 from their own 22 yard line, Steelman carried for six yards, but as pile of players disbursed, the junior quarterback would be sidelined once again, as he suffered an undisclosed injury to his right leg that was unrelated to his previous ankle injury.

Showing no sympathy, the Owls offense remained in full gear. On their ensuing possession, they 80 yards and up their lead to 14-0.

It was painfully clear what Temple's offensive game plan was ... run, run and run some more until the Black Knights could demonstrate the ability to slow down their rushing attack. On the Owl's first to series, they marched 88 and 80 yards, netting two touchdowns, where Temple attempted only one pass on both drives.

On the other hand, the Army offense was lifeless and the staff had to call on freshman Angel Santiago to try and engineer some level of productivity against the stingy Owls' defense that came into the game ranked 14th in the nation against the rush.

Unfortunately for the Army faithful, the Temple defense lived up to the pre-game press clippings and held the Black Knights scoreless, with just 5 first downs and 96 net yards rushing compared to the Owls' 194 yards on the ground and 75 yards passing.

Halftime: Temple 28 - Army 0

The 2nd half was not much for the struggling Army squad, although the entrance of senior Max Jenkins at quarterback on the Black Knights' 2nd series showed a slight resusciation in the offense albeit on the team's next series.

On that series, Army reminded fans what they are capable of as they marched 80 yards on 17 plays that capped off with Jenkins sneaking in from one yard out. However, the Black Knights used 8:08 off the clock and with such a deep deficit, the score was bitter-sweet.

Temple 28 - Army 7

To make Army's first score of the day more bitter than sweet, was Temple's next two possessions, although the Black Knights were able to mix in 7 points of their own. The possession saw the speedy Brown out race the defense for a 52 yard touchdown and then the Owls strutted 65 yards on just 4 plays, as it became the Pierce show, where the talented running back rushed for 7, 4, 5 and 49 yards ... the last was truly worthy of making the ESPN Best Plays Of The Day category.

Temple 42 - Army 14

This was a day in which neither the Army offense or defense were effective and it showed in the final score and Temple decisive 42-14 win.

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