EagleBank Bowl: Temple vs. UCLA

Written December 27th, 2009 by MaliBuckeye

Our journey through the “Pre-CS” continues with a visit to our nations capitol for a good cause (other than watching football and avoiding interaction with our family- what could be better than that?).

UCLA (6-6, 3-6 Pacific 10) vs. Temple (9-3, 7-1 MAC)

December 29, 2009 4:30  PM ET

RFK Stadium, Washington D. C.

This is just the second occurrence of this festive event, which

… all began two years ago at a Washington, D.C., neighborhood restaurant.
Marie Rudolph and Sean Metcalf — Co-Founders of the DC Bowl Committee, Inc. and the EagleBank Bowl — sipped on drinks as commercials for college football bowl games flashed across the television screen. They wondered why D.C. didn’t have a bowl game.
That curiosity hatched the notion of bringing the first-ever college football post-season bowl game to the nation’s capital. The two sports aficionados dug around and determined that no one, in fact, had ever brought a bowl game to the District.

The game was established, in part, to honor the service acadamies and the men and women who serve our country. However, this year the Army squad did not avail to make themselves bowl elligible, so the game looked to be in jeopardy. Then, from the west coast, a clarion rang out- “We will represent our country’s honor!” cried the voice from the University of California at Los Angeles.  And so, the game and the holiday season was saved.

As cheesy as that sounds, it’s not really all that far off from the version implied by the official website. If you don’t buy that, Orson has another perspective.

Of course, there is something worthwhile to be considered in this matter; it gives an opportunity to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, a group that works to create support for soldiers who have been significantly injured as a part of their duties for our country. I can’t think of better projects to be affiliated with- certainly beats the sponsorship for the game that Fresno State lost. To be honest, though, my opinion/memories of this organization are impacted by the tribute jerseys worn by Maryland and South Carolina earlier in the season- and you know how I feel about uniforms.

Let’s start with the Bruins. In the middle of his second year, former Bruin QB Rick Neuheisel  has led his team back into the pool that is post season bowling. Yup, he’s really made a splash:

Like their cross town rivals, the Bruins are struggling with some eligibility issues across their front: center Kai Maiava hasn’t made the grade for the post season. Because of this, UCLA is moving a defensive lineman back across the ball, and hopes that NFL bound Jake Dean will be able to unify a group that has struggled to run the ball all season. Given that QB Kevin Price is also overcoming arm injuries, it could be a long afternoon for the Bruin offense.

When the 6-6 Bruins have had success, it’s been on defense; in their wins they’ve only given up more than 15 points on one occasion.  End Korey Bosworth leads the squad with 7.5 sacks, while safety Rahim Moore is tops in the NCAA with nine interceptions. All American defensive tackle Brian Price ended the season with 22.5 tackles for a loss- good for third in the NCAA.

A COSBY Sweater!!

A COSBY Sweater!!

Representing the MAC conference is Temple University, known best for their basketball coach’s demure temperament and for a relatively famous alumni.

Al Golden’s team has managed their first winning season since 1990, with their first nine win season that left them tied for first place in the Eastern Division of the MAC conference. Not too shabby for their third year in the conference. When you have 21 starters returning, good things can happen.

The Owl ground game is anchored by running back Bernard Pierce, who amassed 1300 yards and 15 touchdowns in his freshman season. Temple counts on the ground game for success; breaking the team record for rushing TDs this season. At quarterback, junior Vaughan Charleton was replaced by sophomore Chester Stewart for the last four games of the season; combined, they’ve thrown for over 1700 yards and 12 TDs against an equal number of interceptions.

The Owl defense is hoping that they will have success at the level of their game against Buffalo, where they amassed four interceptions including a 95 yard TD return by Elijah Joseph. The secondary includes corner Marquis Liverpool, who has also served as a wide receiver, running back, and long snapper. Up front, the Bruins will have to account for senior nose tackle Andre Neblett, who has achieved 39 tackles, 8.5 TFL, four break-ups, a sack, an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery this season. It sounds as if whoever will be replacing Maiava will have their hands full; this may be the match-up that decides the game.

Who Are We Picking?

Jeff at the BBC: UCLA

Mali: UCLA

Jim: UCLA

Eric: UCLA

While I believe that this may be a low-scoring battle, and worry about the Bruins’ offense, I also think that facing PAC-10 competition week in and week out is a much greater challenge than playing in a conference where Cincinnati a) goes to get their coaches b) sends their offensive coordinators.

And now, wisdom for both teams regarding the importance of this game.

This probably goes for coaches, too.

While Temple doesn’t yet have a SBNation blog, there is great coverage to be had. UCLA’s Bruin Nation has always been at the top of the game.

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