Ladies and gentlemen, the Temple Owls are about to play their first bowl game in three decades. On Tuesday the Owls will take on UCLA down in RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. in the EagleBank Bowl. It’s hard to believe but in a match-up that would be more likely to be mentioned in March the Owls and Bruins will play in what will be Temple’s first bowl game since the 1979 Garden State Bowl.
For Temple the spot in the EagleBank Bowl may not have been the ultimate goal that comes with a AMC championship but this is a special time for the program. After years of suffering and poor football on the field the Owls have finally broken free of all of the bad history.
The Owls enter as four point underdogs to UCLA. Temple should be able to hold their own against the PAC 10 opponent though as long as they can control the ball and limit turnovers. Vaughn Charlton has passed for nine touchdowns but has thrown nine interceptions. Freshman running back Bernard Pierce has given the offense new life this season. Pierce has rushed for 1,308 yards and 15 touchdowns with an average of 5.8 yards per carry.
UCLA does have an advantage in the passing game. The Bruins average 236.8 yards per game through the air while Temple manages just 156.9 yards per game. Temple’s defense could find themselves struggling to catch up if they can not apply pressure to UCLA freshman quarterback Kevin Prince. Temple’s run defense is the 19th best in the country so expect UCLA to try to exploit the passing defense.
If the game comes down to special teams, UCLA will have another advantage as they have one of the best kickers in college football. Kai Forbath recently won the Lou Groza Award as the best kicker in college football.
Regardless of what happens in the EagleBank Bowl one thing appears certain; Temple football is heading in the right direction.