The 8-4 Wyoming Cowboys will be appearing in the New Mexico Bowl for the second time in the last three years when they take on the 8-4 Temple Owls from the Mid-American Conference. Wyoming defeated Fresno State 35-28 in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl.
Wyoming finished 3-9 last season and their quick turn-around to an eight-win team earned the school it's 13th appearance in a bowl game. Overall, the Cowboys are 6-6 all-time in bowl games. The Cowboys' offense is powered by quarterback Brett Smith and running back Alvester Alexander, who have combined for 1,323 yards and 16 touchdowns in leading the nation's 32nd-ranked rushing offense (185 yards per game). Wyoming's defense is allowing over 430 yards per game, but have been opportunistic, creating 26 takeaways, including 18 fumbles.
Temple, who will be looking for their second bowl win in school history and first since 1979, also prefers the "ground-and-pound" approach on offense, averaging 256.7 rushing yards per game, which ranks seventh nationally. Unlike the Cowboys, the Owls are stout defensively, ranking 15th in the country in total defense and third in scoring defense, allowing just 13 points per game. Linebacker Tahir Whitehead (59 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, five quarterback sacks) and defensive end Adrian Robinson (47 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, six quarterback sacks) spearhead the Owls defensive efforts.
Game date, time: 2p.m. ET, Saturday, December 17, 2011
Location: University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
TV channel: ESPN
Odds: Owls are favored by 7.5 points