Pierce Sets New Records as Owls Soar over Buffalo 34-0

Pierce Sets New Records as Owls Soar over Buffalo 34-0

LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD—Bernard Pierce's assault on the Temple record book continues.

Crossing the goal line for the 44th touchdown of his college career, the junior running back is now the all-time leader in TDs scored by a Temple Owl, passing Paul Palmer's previous record of 43. This is the second week in a row Pierce has broken a Palmer record; he set a new program-high for career rushing touchdowns scored by an Owl last week at Ball State.

Of course, its one thing for Bernard to break someone else's record, but he's beginning to break some of his own.

Pierce's second touchdown of the day, the one that set the aforementioned career TD record, also marked his 17th touchdown of the season. That score sets a new Temple record for the most touchdowns by an Owl in a single season. The previous record of 16 was set in 2009 by, you guessed it, then-freshman running back Bernard Pierce.

Handing the ball off to Pierce, Chester Stewart was as good as he needed to be under center. In slightly less than three quarters of work, Stewart went just 7-11 passing, but it was all Temple needed, as both Pierce and second-string runner Matt Brown both rushed for over 100-yards for the second week in a row. The offense accumulated 400 total rushing yards by the end of the game.

On defense, the Owls posted their second shut out in two weeks and their second-consecutive shut out of the Buffalo Bulls. Aided by the offense's ability to force three-and-outs and dominate the time of possession, the Temple D surrendered just 155-yards on Saturday, and did not allow Buffalo a first down until the second quarter of play.

Indeed, the Owls were solid in all three phases of the game, with punter/kicker Brandon McManus turning in another fine performance. Despite some of the strong winds whipping through Lincoln Financial Field Saturday afternoon, McManus was able to put both of his field goal attempts through the uprights and convert on all four of his extra point opportunities.

Transitioning from kicker to punter, McManus drilled a 71-yard punt down wind that was eventually downed at the Buffalo 4. After having that kicked called back on a illegal formation penalty, he once more stepped up to boot his next punt in excess of sixty yards. He nearly put a third quarter kickoff into the seats behind the north end zone.

Having some special teams success of his own, running-back-turned-linebacker Ahkeem Smith found himself on the receiving end of a fake punt, direct snap. Smith went 49 yards into the end zone, putting Temple up 24-0, and effectively ending the game in the second quarter.

Add to that a Kee-Ayre Griffin blocked field goal and the Owls' special teams may have managed to out-perform an offense that ended the game with a total 458 yards from scrimmage.

Still, like always, the team will need to move on and begin to focus on its next game at Bowling Green. As head coach Steve Addazio said after the game, "That's great that we had two great weeks; but this world, this whole society, always want to take its foot off the gas. But if we do, we won't have a good week and we'll put ourselves in harm's way [like after the Maryland game]."

If this Temple team can bear down and keep its focus and over the course of its remaining schedule, it'll be their opponents in the MAC Championship game who will find themselves in "harm's way."

Flyers Notes: Wayne Simmonds defends hit on Andrei Markov

Flyers Notes: Wayne Simmonds defends hit on Andrei Markov

MONTREAL — Wayne Simmonds didn’t feel as though he did anything wrong. Or that he even touched Andrei Markov.
Thing is, however, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety may have a different view of it come Tuesday morning.
Early during first-period play Monday night, the Flyers' winger came out of the penalty box after serving a minor for holding and cross-checked Markov from behind.
The Canadiens' defenseman went face-first into the boards and fell to the ice, where he appeared to try and sell a penalty. Nothing came of it, but the hit will likely be reviewed anyway.
“I barely touched him,” Simmonds. “When you got a bunch of guys diving all over the place, what are you going to do? Stand on your feet.”

There were a number of tough hits from both sides in the Flyers' 3-1 loss to the Canadiens (see game recap). It was evenly played and the Flyers deserved a point.
“We played a solid game,” Simmonds said. “Obviously, we lost and it’s not what we wanted but we have four more games this week.
“We go home and we've got to be focused on the positive things that we did and carry it over the rest of the week.”
Gudas eligible
Radko Gudas has yet to play a real game this season.
The Flyers' bruising defenseman has been serving a six-game suspension for a careless hit in Boston that closed out exhibition play earlier this month.
Tuesday night, the Flyers will play the back end of a back-to-back against Buffalo at the Wells Fargo Center and Gudas likely will return to the lineup now that his suspension has ended.
“It seems like forever,” Gudas said. “I could use more games behind me. I think I’m ready with my conditioning and skill level, so I can’t wait to get back in there.”
The decision as to who comes out will be difficult. A good guess right now would be Nick Schultz.
“We've got the information at this point,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “It will be a tough decision, no question, if we are healthy.”
At some point — Nov. 5 — Michael Del Zotto will be eligible to come off LTIR. That means another veteran blueliner would become available and an even bigger problem will arise because Del Zotto carries a $3.875 million cap hit.
Barring injury or trade, when Del Zotto returns, the Flyers will have to move two players off their roster entirely just to be cap compliant.
For now, following Monday’s loss, Hakstol has to decide whether to stick with his current defense or put Gudas back in. Given the Flyers have missed Gudas’ physical presence — teams have taken liberties on smallish rookie Travis Konecny — it makes sense to reinsert Gudas.
“Obviously, teams are going to take advantage of smaller guys,” Gudas said. “I would love to be out there if anything happened. All the guys here are responsible and I think they did a pretty good job defending that. It’s not happening a lot.”
No, but it’s happened enough that the Flyers should take note of it.
Hakstol said his decision does not have to come until Tuesday.
“That’s not to say we haven’t looked at things and thought about the [issue], but that decision comes after tonight,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gudas finally has come to the conclusion that the NHL is watching his every hit.
“They’re looking at me since Day 1 I got here,” he said. “The guys made up their minds. I have to make sure I don’t give them an opportunity to call again.”
Maybe he should change his ringtone to say, “Player Safety calling.”

Loose pucks
Simmonds and Matt Read saw their four-game goal-scoring streaks come to an end. ... The Flyers were credited with 39 hits, the most they’ve had since 41 in a home game against Montreal on Jan. 5, 2016. Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and Schultz were credited with five apiece. ... Ice-time leaders: Ivan Provorov (21:31), Shayne Gostisbehere (21:27) and Brandon Manning (20:36). … Boyd Gordon was 10 for 12 (83 percent) on faceoffs. ... Jakub Voracek had five shots, giving him 21 overall, which ties him for 10th in the league. His goal gave him eight points and ties him with five other players for fourth in the NHL.

RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai 'calms the storm,' rebounds in 2nd start

RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai 'calms the storm,' rebounds in 2nd start

Halapoulivaati Vaitai wasn’t Lane Johnson on Sunday against the Vikings.

But he didn’t look like Halapoulivaati Vaitai either ... at least the version that was a revolving door last week in Washington.

In his NFL debut last week, Big V gave up two sacks, a quarterback hit and a hurry. Against the Vikings, he gave up just one QB hurry.

What led to the change?

“I just think learning from the week before, quite honestly,” head coach Doug Pederson said on Monday. “He really, again, detailed his work during the week. He practiced extremely well. He used his hands better.

“He was able to calm the storm, so to speak, and played a fine football game. He played the type that we saw [in] him and he’s capable of doing. Now it’s something that he can continue to build on.”

While it seemed like Pederson curtailed his offense some to counteract what could be a shaky offensive line, he said it was more about utilizing his team’s strengths. Still, Carson Wentz attempted just four passes that traveled over 20 yards on Sunday and didn’t complete a pass that went more than nine yards in the air.

Despite Vaitai’s scary performance in his debut, Pederson decided to stick to his plan and leave him at right tackle instead of shuffling the offensive line by moving Allen Barbre to tackle and replacing him with Stefen Wisniewski.

The jury is still out on the decision, but the Eagles probably have more confidence in their offensive line for the next eight games of Johnson’s suspension than they did before playing the Vikings.

The Eagles' O-line didn’t give up a sack to the Vikings after giving up five the previous week.

“I thought our guys [Sunday] did a great job of no sacks against a team that had 19 coming in,” Pederson said. “Protected [Wentz], kept him clean and it just gives him confidence now and gives our whole unit confidence moving forward and coming away.”