Press Conference video:
Addazio, part I
PHILADELPHIA - Bernard Pierce treated the Temple Homecoming crowd to another record-setting performance Satuday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. The junior RB scored the Owls' first two TDs en route to setting four records and tying another to lead Temple to a 34-0 win over Buffalo in front of 25,820 fans.
With their second straight win, the Owls improved to 5-2 overall and sit atop the Mid-American Conference East Division with a 3-1 record. Buffalo fell to 2-5 and 1-2.
Pierce's record-setting day included season marks for rushing touchdowns (17), overall touchdowns (17) and points (102). He also eclipsed the career mark for total touchdowns (44) and tied the mark held by Paul Palmer (1983-86) for points scored with 264. He had set the career rushing TD record, previously held by Palmer, and now has 43.
The Owls' RB rushed for 152 yards on 23 carries, with 149 coming in the opening half. He now has 844 yards on the season and 2,933 for his three-year career.
On a day where wind gusts reached 35 miles an hour, the Owls kept the ball on the ground for most of the game. Temple ammassed 400 rushing yards, which allowed the Cherry and White to dominated time of possession. Temple controlled the ball for 39 of the 60 minutes and had 458 yards of total offense to Buffalo's 155.
For the sixth time in seven games Temple scored on its first possession as the Owls took the opening kickoff 70 yards on 14 plays before settling on a 28-yard field goal by junior PK Brandon McManus.
After the Temple defense, ranked among the top 10 nationally in multiple categories, held Buffalo to a three-and-out, the Owls quickly marched back down the field. Pierce led the drive, rushing for 50 yards on seven carries with his final one a two-yarder where he bounced off a tackler to the outside and into the end zone. That gave the Cherry and White a 10-0 lead.
The defense held the Bulls to consecutive possessions without a first down before Pierce moved into the record books. This time Pierce broke his longest run from scrimmage on the season, going 53 yards down the left sideline for his record-setting TD, making it 17-0 Owls.
After an injury to Buffalo's Terrell Jackson on the ensuing kickoff delayed play for over 15 minutes, the Bulls offense finally got on track. Buffalo engineered a 10-play, 55-yard drive to the Temple 28 where the Bulls failed to convert a fourth-and-five play.
The Owls then had their next drive stall at midfield following 23 yards by Matt Brown (4 carries). With McManus, who had an incredible day punting (3 punts, 59.3 yds), back to punt, junior LB Akheem Smith took a direct snap and ran for a 49-yard field goal to break the game open at 24-0.
Buffalo again marched down the field, but senior DB Kee-ayre Griffin would make two big plays to keep the Bulls off the scoreboard. First he sacked Buffalo QB Chazz Anderson at the Temple 23. Two plays later he blocked a 39-yard Peter Fardon field goal attempt that was recovered by senior LB Stephen Johnson.
That kept the score 24-0, which is how the half ended.
Brown, who rushed for 120 yards on 12 carries, broke a 58-yarder for a touchdown on Temple's second possession of the third quarter to make it 31-0. It marked the second straight game that Pierce and Brown each topped 100 yards on the ground, and a TU record third time in their careers.
McManus connected on a 23-yard fourth quarter field goal to cap the scoring as the Owls subbed freely over the final 20 minutes.
Johnson again led the defense with six tackles while freshman DB Chris Hutton added a fourth quarter interception.
Temple next travels to Bowling Green for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff next Saturday.